I never figured out exactly where “the hole” was in Jackson Hole, but I guess it didn’t matter all that much. The town’s closest airport is located in Grand Teton National Park and the dramatic mountains framing the runway were a stunning sight as I stepped off the plane. It had to be one of the prettiest airports I’ve ever seen in the world. I walked through the giant elk horn arch and met my guides to head towards the town of Jackson.
Jackson’s a charming town with great little restaurants, tourist shops and historic bars. Kanye and Kim West recently took over the town and every place had a story to tell about the high profile couple. After a nice lunch at Cafe Genevieve, we headed to Snake River Sporting Club where I’d be staying a couple of nights in a tiny house.
Tiny houses are currently “all the rage” in travel. They have everything you need to survive in one compact smart mobile unit (that doesn’t look mobile) and they somehow combine ultra-modern and charming together in one little package. The houses were located next to a covered wagon (that you can actually stay in) near a trail head that allows access to the National Forest trails behind the property. The famous Snake River bordered the other side. At the entrance as you cross the little red bridge, natural hot springs flow into the river. There’s great hiking trails, fly fishing, horseback riding and lots of other fun stuff to keep you busy while you’re there. There’s only a few of these tiny houses at this resort, but if you can book one, you have access to all the member benefits of this exclusive property. If you want to get a little more serious about spending time in Wyoming, you can buy a place here, and it doesn’t get any nicer than this.
The weather couldn’t have been any more perfect. We walked up one of the trails that butted to resort and wandered towards the majestic peaks without ever seeming to get any closer. As fall reaches Wyoming, the flora has hundreds of shades of red and brown mixed with the evergreens. The air is so fresh and the mountainous backdrop so stunning, it just almost seems to be too perfect to be real, like a picture from a jigsaw puzzle box.
One of the biggest reasons travelers visit this area is for fly fishing. This is not the traditional “stick on a bobber and wait for a fish to bite” kind of sport. There’s a science/skill to this activity and a couple of pros from Jackson Hole Fly Fishing School were on hand to show us how to throw the perfect cast. It’s a little bit of a workout trying to let out the right combination of line, while laying the lure down in the most possible natural way as to not frighten the fish. I’ve always considered fishing to be a matter of luck, but I soon discovered I was wrong. What I learned about fly fishing is that you have to know where the fish hide, their favorite foods, and how to spot them and hook them before they get wise to you. The instructors knew ridiculous amounts of random facts about the life cycles of the fish’s favorite bugs and how to make lures that mimic those insects. I hooked a Cutthroat Trout in my final moments on the river, but he outsmarted me and got off my hook as soon as he broke the surface of the water. At the very least I was feeling like a pro wearing my waders in a foot or two of the river. My Instagram followers would be impressed.
After our fishing adventure, we made our way to the horse riding center and I mounted their biggest steed. I felt like I was in a John Wayne film as we were guided onto a trail that runs along the Snake River. You don’t really have to be an experienced equestrian to ride here. Five minutes of instructions to a newbie is sufficient to take a ride to someplace interesting. The biggest challenge is to keep your horse from stopping to eat grass. Wyoming has some delicious looking grass, so you can’t really blame them for trying. I rarely ride horses in Texas, ironically enough, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ride here. You really feel at one with nature and you won’t die of heat exhaustion like in Texas.
There was also skeet shooting and an a world famous golf course on the property, but there’s only so many hours in the day. We opted to head into nearby Jackson for a little night life.
Wyoming has a good selection of local beer and there’s no better place than Jackson’s Million Dollar Cowboy Bar to mosey up and sit on a saddle stool than at this famous bar. Since 1937 this bar has had the biggest names in country western music perform within it’s walls and has hosted countless celebrities and presidents. There’s live music almost every night and you’re never quite sure who’s going to be sitting next to you. Outside the doors, Jackson Town Square swarms with tourists taking the obligatory elk horn arch photos. Once you realize that elk naturally lose their horns each year, the thousands of antlers that make up these giant portals aren’t quite as disturbing. If you’re not such an animal activist, Local Restaurant makes the best elk chop you’ll find in town. You might assume that Wyoming might be a little remote for finer restaurants, but there’s lots of creativity and great chefs in the area to cater to rich and famous who live in and visit the area.
Before leaving Wyoming, we took a hike in The Grand Tetons National Park just on the other side of the airport. There’s a reason tourists flock to this part of the world. Grand Tetons and nearby Yellowstone National Park are world class tourist destinations and are easily accessible for a day trip or longer. Grand Tetons are only 45 minutes away. Yellowstone takes about 2 hours.