OK, I admit it. I am starting to sound like a gusher of glowing praise for every place I visit but I am holding my integrity here on this. Jackson Hole/Grand Tetons NP are even better than everything else I have seen in this Western Road trip and I have one easily justifiable reason I can use to say this which is – There are animals ALL OVER THE PLACE HERE.
I’m not talking about a few deer and some squirels. Being in Wyoming is like being on a safari and for me, nothing is cooler than being on a safari.
I always thought of Africa as the place for safari’s and I certainly wasn’t let down by my trip to Kruger Park in South Africa. Elephants, Giraffe, Buffalo, monkeys, etc, etc, etc. It was fantastic. The only problem was …… It was in Africa and in order to get to Africa you need to fly half way around the world. I am pretty sure it’s like 24 hours from California – maybe more. And obviously just the flight is a couple of thousand dollars round trip. So how is it that somehow I never heard that Wyoming is like a safari. Different animals, same vibe. But here’s the thing about Wyoming …. it’s like 5 hours away from most places in the US on a plane …. maybe 7???
So yes, as I drove toward the campground on the night I arrived I am stopped, the third car in the line with a herd of buffalo crossing the road. I wasn’t here for more than 10 minutes and I saw this:
And another shot
Of course the next morning I got to see moose
I think my favorite animal that I saw was this owl. I love owls:
The only thing that I didn’t get to see yet is a bear but in talking with other people I feel like I have just had bad luck in that department because it seems like bear spottings are a dime a dozed. I still have a couple of days left so we shall see.
Here’s another thing. I’m going to say it – the landscape in South Africa is just OK. If the animals weren’t there I’m guessing that Kruger park wouldn’t get many visitors. you’ve got a lot of scrub grass going on, a couple of rivers, not a whole lot of elevation change and …. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. On the other hand even if you couldn’t care less about seeing bison, elk, deer, moose and more (in which case I would personally be a bit concerned) – but – even in that case, the landscapes and natural beauty here are breathtakingly gorgeous as well. The area in this part of Wyoming is expansive. The golden fields go on forever, the lakes go on forever and the mountains go on forever. The mountains themselves are thought to be some of the youngest mountains on the planet. The jagged, craggy shapes spike up out of the plains maybe like new canine teeth pushing through the surface of the Earth. Check out a few gorgeous spots:
It’s an outdoor paradise. Hiking in to waterfalls, boating, paddleboarding, excellent bike paths, mountain climbing, rock climbing – you name it – if there’s an outdoor activity it can be done here – and I’m not even getting into the winter sports. Granted, I’m not here at winter time so I can’t comment from experience but of course Jackson Hole ski area is world famous and having been here and hiked on some of the slopes I fully understand why.
In addition to that it has a whole other aspect that many or most of the National Parks don’t – a really fantastic town with excellent restaurants, tons of shopping for some really great souvenirs or outdoor gear and more plus a town square that has giant arches constructed from antlers. Where else can you find that?? Seriously, this feels so much like a cowboy town without feeling contrived or faked at all. This place is the real deal. This place is the real west but with good coffee shops and restaurants.
My verdict? If I were planning a ski trip that was anything more than a driving trip – this would be the place. Next up? Not quite sure – as it turns out I know all sorts of great people in this town and I’m hanging out for a bit. And now for the token selfie followed by a gallery with more wildlife pics.