Hello! My name is Brett and I am a good friend of both Kenin and Lauren on The Constant Rambler. I live in Orlando and have been married to my wonderful wife for 7 years now. I was asked to write a story about my favorite road trip for the blog and became immediately torn as to what to write about. I am fortunate enough to have traveled quite a bit (most of it as a child) but couldn’t decide which trip to write about; that and most of our trips were no shorter than 21 days. It’s impossible to write about an entire 3 weeklong road trip. Instead, I’ve decided to write about one of my favorite destinations that I went to on a road trip: Jackson, Wyoming.
Jackson is just about 100 miles south of Yellowstone National Park. It is a major tourist destination because of it’s relatively close proximity to Yellowstone as well as the Teton National Forest and multiple ski resorts within the valley of Jackson Hole. Some of the most extreme ski terrain is located here as well.
When I was a child, this was a destination that wasn’t to be. We were simply driving through the valley from one destination to Yellowstone when our RV broke down (as they do). We ended up staying in Jackson for a few days as a result but took complete advantage of the things to do in town. First and foremost, Jackson is home to one of the most beautiful parks in the center of town. Referred to as Central Park, this area is entranced by archways constructed out of Elk antlers. Around the town are quaint stores selling everything from antiques to modern fashion and of course any souvenir containing the famous Jackelope; a cross between a jackrabbit and an antelope. While the animal is fictitious, this hasn’t stopped locals from creating stuffed versions of the creature and selling them as if they really exist.
Just outside of town, you begin to realize that you are in a paradise for the outdoors. Hiking trails, ski mountains, and white water rafting are just a few of the activities available in the immediate vicinity. My family and I decided to take a trip down the Snake River, ranked as one of the best white water rafting rivers in the country. The river is ranked as a 3-4 with the finale being 3 walls of 10-foot tall standing waves. The river adventure was exciting in itself but the views were absolutely breathtaking. It was hard to concentrate on the river when such beauty surrounds you.
The wildlife was plentiful as well. Just outside of town, you feel as though you are in one of those cheesy drive-thru zoos. But, this is nature! There are elk practically everywhere. Moose are relatively common as are coyotes and wolves. Even a bison or two can be seen relatively close to town.
Unfortunately, after just three days our time within Jackson had come to an end. My family woke up in the campground and ate breakfast outside in the brisk morning sun. We were greeted at the breakfast table by chipmunks for the final time before packing up and heading out. Upon check out, I distinctly remember a conversation held by my father and the owner of the campground. My dad commented on how great the whether was, “This whether is so beautiful. Is it always like this in August?” The local gentlemen returned with, “Sir, this is one of the 10 frost free days we’ll have in these parts!” After a quick laugh, we headed on down the road.
Just about 25 miles north of Jackson, we stopped on the side of the road as we were completely stunned by an even more breathtaking view; the Grand Tetons. With relatively flat land where the highway is, the Tetons shoot up to the height of 13,000 feet with the Snake River and Jackson Lake in the foreground. These mountains have been the backdrop for many nature films and an inspiration for the best photographers around the world including Ansel Adams. It was hard to keep driving as each mile we went the prettier and prettier the views got.
Jackson truly is “God’s Country,” magnificent scenery, tons of activities, friendly people, and plenty of wildlife all within a small corner of Wyoming. It saddens me to realize that I have only been to the area once in my life (over 20 years ago) and I have yet to return. Someday, I will go back with my own family and share the majesty of this relatively small area of our wonderful country.
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