We are staying in Star Valley Wyoming at the Star Valley Resort RV Park and today we drove a little over sixty miles to Grand Teton National Park. The sky is foreboding, with sun patches that flick across the snow capped peaks jutting sharply skyward from the valley of the Snake River. Even a rainy day cannot dispel the grandeur of this rugged mountain range. It is an eye-poppingly magnificent sight and as one would hope, I tend to use that phrase very sparingly!
Our there route takes us north, through town of Alpine, with it’s Port of Entry between Wyoming and Idaho, where the Salt and the mighty Snake rivers empty into the Palisades Reservoir and then we head east through the Bridger Pass along the rushing, run-off swollen Snake River, with the Bridger Mountains on our right.
Road signs warn of road closings on the combined US Highways 26 and 89, when the winter snows bury the roads and the locals simply wait out the snowplows to make the route passable again. Other than ranches and occasional farms, the only town along the way is Hoback, a small berg in the mountains named after John Hoback, a local guide and fur trapper who was killed along with the rest of his party by Indians in the early 1800’s.
Once past Hoback, the gap forming a wide valley between the Tetons and the Gros Ventre Range and wilderness begins to unfold before us. This is the famous basin known as Jackson Hole Wyoming. Skiers come here from all over the world to brave the two major ski resorts here – Snow King and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. The lifts are quiet and the Black Diamond downhills are all green now, but one can see the allure of what must be impressive winter mountain skiing at it’s finest.
The town of Jackson is the largest in the area by far. And yet, like the rest of Wyoming, it’s population makes a relatively small imprint on the rugged mountains and alpine forests surrounding it. Just a mile or so beyond, you once again return to wide open spaces to the south, guarded by jutting peaks that form the Tetons to the north. In fact, right outside Jackson is the 25,000 acre National Elk Refuge, home to over 7,500 elk, herds of buffalo and moose and is one of the largest elk refuges on Earth!
We’ll break this post into several bite-sized pieces, as we spend the day traveling up and down Jackson Hole, journaling all the sites and grandeur along the way. However, I did want to mention stopping at the site of Ansel Adams’ most famous 1942 photograph, The Tetons and Snake River.
I stood at almost the exact spot and took what I hoped would be something comparable, once I converted it to black and white. While my photograph came out geographically similar, there was absolutely no compromise with that of the master’s.
Ansel Adams, when once asked about his uncanny ability to capture the magic of the wilderness quipped: “a great photograph is knowing where to stand”. I would humbly add that it also requires great patience and knowing exactly when to open the shutter.
And speaking of timing and the art of knowing where to stand, we happened upon a wedding photo shoot in the valley near Mount Moran. The backdrop was breathtaking, so I grabbed my Nikon and ripped off a few quick shots.
I’m sure you’ll agree, whomever was being married here, they will have beautiful wedding photos to reflect on with their family for years to come!