Jackson Hole 2014
off to see the wizard

Jackson 2014

Day One; the drive up. The drive from Grand Junction to Jackson takes eight hours in decent weather and is all rural highways, cutting through some very remote country and several mountain passes. We stopped for lunch at the Cafe Rio in Vernal before coming to this amazing view. 
 These first two pictures are on the west side of Flaming Gorge.
 typical riparian scene
 miles and miles of this, here in southwest Wyoming
the Wind River Mountain Range
many cows
antelope dot the hills
driving under a cow bridge      yes, really
It has been a heavy snow year.
 pulling into Jackson at sunset. Dinner at Thai Me Up.
We stayed at our regular Bread & Breakfast in Jackson, The Alpine House.
Day Two. Prue and Zach had to teach skiing so Martelle and I went for a walk around town before lunch at the Lotus Cafe - excellent organic chicken corn tacos. We walked over to the elk reserve - quite a sight - there's nowhere else in the Universe to see so many elk in one area. Later we all ate at Sudachi, a fine sushi place up in Wilson.Raw oysters a thousand miles from the coast. Octopus. 
 An Old West legend turned tourist trap (the town, not Martelle)
Elk in the National Elk Refuge.A sight to behold. Last summer I camped on those hills to the right. 
Deer in town. We looked up to see a formation of low flying cranes with great pounding wings.


Day Three: Ski Trip
From the top looking down. Otis (the woofer) did more work than the rest of us. The pitch gets pretty steep past the lip to the left. We climbed about 1500 feet from the trail head to this spot using skis with skins - randonee style with bindings that allow you to secure your heel for skiing down. For me this is the perfect way to ski - no lines, no people, in the wilderness, amazing beauty - great gnarly old Douglas fir and pines and spruces. Wolverines and sleeping bears.

Randonee - Also called "Alpine Touring" or "AT". The heel can be free to climb or cross flat terrain, but locked to descend using the typical alpine skiing parallel turn. Skins used just as with telemark for backcountry access. these are lighter than alpine gear, but typically heavier than telemark gear (thought he gap is closing). Suitable for aggressive, steep terrain (like tele, but unlike cross country).

Martelle, Zach, Prudence preparing mentally for the treacherous descent, mulling over the avalanche that happened the day before nearby. Snake River Valley in background.
Prue nailing it! 1500 vertical feet of untracked snow, over ledges and through tight aspen glens. Incredibly invigorating, albeit exhausting.
The little white knob at the top of the hills in the background is where we began the descent.
Prue took these next five of me with her I-Phone. Awesome slope!
The old man carving a turn above Teton Pass.
Dinner, after a nap, at Rendezvous Bistro, a very popular place with the locals with a bizarre menu - raw lamb, oysters, lamb stomach, wild boar, tongue tacos, goose leg. I have to admit that it was good. I had French onion soup, Cesar salad, and a half baked chicken with fried potatoes and steamed greens. I am picky about my French Onion soup and this was just right. It was all good. Decadent desserts.


Day Four: Heading Home - Road Trip Part 2.
The beauty of the trip compensates for the eight hours of driving. It would be difficult to find a longer stretch of highway in this country with less signs of human life. Just as I put my camera away on the drive home we passed a huge bald eagle sitting on a fencepost twenty feet away eying recent road kill. Later we had to come to a complete stop and wend our way through a flock of a thousand sheep. Lunch at Cafe Rio in Rock Springs.
This next bunch of pictures are from the top of Douglas Pass to where we live. I wanted to give my friends and relatives who never come out here to visit a good idea of where I am. It's a fairly unique environment/Eco-system. We live in an unincorporated area west of Grand Junction, called The Redlands, about a miles out from the steep cliffs that comprise the northern edge of the Uncompahgre Plateau. We don't go through Grand Junction to get home from the west.
Entering The Grand Valley - where the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers meet - not here -but in this valley which is wider and deeper than the Grand Canyon. Both the Grand Canyon and the Grand Valley were named for the Grand River which ran through them both, name later changed to the Colorado River, which flows a half mile from our property. 

That is the Grand Mesa in the background. It's the biggest mesa on Planet Earth - 11,000 feet high with 400 lakes. Great skiing. This part of the valley is agricultural. Corn, wheat, onions, beans.

Home Sweet Home (picture from Feb 28). The house in the trees. 
Bonus pictures from Martelle's phone
It was a very nice weekend.