Kayaking is not a new sport to me; however that doesn’t mean I’m ready to barrel roll down the rapids! That being said, I’m perfectly happy to rent a kayak from the Colter Bay Marina and take in a paddle on Jackson Lake. Last weekend, my boyfriend Sy and I did just that!
Having done this once before, Sy and I lathered up with sunscreen, donned our safe and stylish life vests, and pushed off into the calm waters of the Marina. We decided on a relaxing paddle around the closest bays, and are very happy we did!
The bays were filled with active water birds. As we paddled along we watched bald eagles soar overhead, an osprey defend its territory, and saw a blue heron and spotted piper hunting for their lunches along the shore. We’d like to share some of our photos from that day with all of you!
This Bald Eagle Decided that branch looked like a good landing spot. I love this photo because it reminds me of a flagpole topper! This guy had a very busy morning. He soared high above us hunting for his next meal and was chased by the Osprey. He definitely deserves a nice rest!
This Osprey kept his eyes open for that pesky Bald Eagle. It was very cool watching him dive bomb the Eagle as he chased him from his territory!
Can you spot the spotted sandpiper? I’ll give you a hint….he’s brown and white and is standing on a branch.
That’s right, he’s right in the middle of the photo. This Sandpiper was so interesting to watch as he chattered and bobbed his way along the shore!
This Blue Heron was searching the shoreline for some lunch. I almost paddled right by him until he started moving.
He was quite shy and flew away when I got closer to him.
So if you are in the Tetons this summer, Sy and I definitely recommend coming out to Jackson Lake for a paddle! If the wildlife is not particularly active that day at least you the have gorgeous view to keep you company!
Hi everyone! It’s me Colter Moose and today I’m floatin’ the Snake River with the Grand Teton Lodge Company boatmen. These guys get to cruise the river all day long as their job…and I thought I had it good!
Anyway, I’ve heard all about the dinner they put together on the banks of the Snake River, so I thought I’d try the “Supper Float Trip”. You see our meal site is located just below the Snake River Overlook ~ the place Ansel Adams made famous for his photos of Grand Teton National Park. It’s a pretty scenic place to have dinner….
Speaking of dinner, the chef (shown above) cooks steaks and trout on an open grill. I’m told there is something special about meals cooked outdoors. Since I don’t really eat the same types of food as our guests do…I’ll have to take their word for it…but let me know what you think if you join us on this activity!
During dinner I made a few friends. This is Katie sitting at one of the picnic benches before dinner began.
After dinner, we put on life jackets, listened to the boatmen talk about the trip and how best to prepare for our adventure…here’s a photo of Katie and Kelly as we boarded the rafts!
The big boats hold up to 20 people. This is a photo of the rest of the people on our trip who were just about to depart for their 10 mile scenic journey down the Snake River.
The guides make each trip unique as they talk about the area, tell folk tales, provide historical information and help guests search for wildlife along the way!
This here is Mike, a boatman who helps guide river trips ~ he also grew up here in Grand Teton National Park…so he has lots of stories to tell!
(I’m not that great at taking photos, so I asked a friend of mine who is a photographer,Dan Sullivan,if I could use a few of his.)
The scenery is so unique…And it just keeps getting better and better along the way!
On our trip we were lucky to see lots of wildlife. I’m new to this park so I haven’t made many friends. Everyone thought it was just because I was along that we saw so many animals along the river, but our guide assured them…this happens often ~ especially on the early morning and evening trips. Above, can you see the bald eagle in the tree? This was one of my photos…sorry it’s not clearer, but I hope you can make him out – he’s in the center of the photo.
…and here, now this is a challenge…but that rock-like ball sitting just in the water on the right side…that’s a beaver. There were 5 of them on this trip that we came across – it was pretty cool to see them swimming in and out of their homes along the river banks.
We were also able to find a “real” moose on the river banks, had a heron fly right along side the raft, and encountered many ducks in the river as well
Once we ended the trip, everyone else got out and I was the last one in the boat. Sort of looks like I’m one the one in charge here doesn’t it?? Hmmm….maybe I should entertain a career change.
Next week the staff of Grand Teton Lodge Company has promised to have my name. It seems a lot of you have joined in the competition to come up with just the right one…I cannot wait to learn what it is! In the meantime, I’ve been playing around alot.
Since so many people have been interested in the lake cruise on Jackson Lake this summer, I decided to check it out for myself. Wow was it fun! Take a look at the photos my friends took of me along the way…
First I had to get a ticket for the trip. The price was really reasonable…since as you know from my last adventure…I don’t get a very big allowance!
Then I went inside to check in and met a new friend! That’s me lookin’ up at him as we talked about the upcoming adventure to Elk Island!
Then it was off to catch the boat cruise and see Jackson Lake!
Before the captain came on board, I snuck up to his chair to see about a career change…he’s got a pretty big job! That comfy captain’s chair is the TICKET! I recommend that seat if you can grab it!
Before we could leave, we had to learn all the steps for a safe trip. So the captain took a moment to tell us about the safety measures on the boat…that’s me takin’ it all in.
We learned about the area along the way. Our first mate was Biddy…I forgot to get a photo with her, but she had great stories. She told us all about the Park and Jackson Lake and was pretty funny too!
About half way through the trip, we docked at a private island. It was fun, there wasn’t anyone around and all the guests could hike and eat until they had their fill!
As you may know, I’m a moose and just like the other wildlife in the Park we aren’t supposed to eat human food, or we’ll certainly get sick. So I just took a look at all there was to enjoy…
Then I sat by the campfire. Even though it was summertime, it was fun to watch all the familes. They were playing with something called marshmallows and making this treat called s’mores.
The kids sure thought it was fun that’s for sure!
Eventually, with the sound of the dinnerbell, it was time to head back to the boat to conclude our adventure. I hopped on the front of the boat for a quick photo opportunity before we left.
Special Tip: If you are brining the kids, ask the captain about the Jr. Captain License…it’s a great way to add to the kids adventure!
Here’s something else you should know for your adventures in the Park. We’re at high altitude and it is really dry here. So it’s always good to drink lots and lots of water. After our trip was over, I stopped by the water fountain for a drink so I didn’t get dehydrated after having so much fun!
Next time you are here, let me know…maybe I can be your escort for a fun-filled day in Grand Teton National Park!
An historic walk through Colter Bay Village with Grand Teton Lodge Company Historian Mary McKinney is a fascinating walk back through time. Listen how the valley began to develop and dude ranches dotted the landscape. Hear how John D. Rockefeller Jr’s vision and generosity assisted in preserving this wonderful landscape. Compare the differences of how these early dude cabins were constructed and with what unusual materials. Laugh at how our housekeeping cabins were once “Chic Sales”.
Colter Bay Village actually represents an eclectic collection of cabins from various sites around Jackson Hole. The cabins at Colter Bay serve as a window into the past, giving guests the chance to experience a bit of history during their stay. Though the cabins have been modified to accommodate plumbing and electrical needs, they have been restored and maintained to reflect as close a representation of their original construction as is possible. Many of the cabins were constructed in the 1920’s and 1930’s, but some date back to the late 1800’s.
As tourism in Jackson Hole began to flourish in the early 1900’s, accommodations began to sprout up all over the valley. The result of this influx of tourists was the beginning of dude ranches in Jackson Hole. A typical dude ranch was composed of a central building surrounded by many smaller guest cabins. The largest of these resorts was the Teton Lodges at Moran, located at the site of the old town of Moran below Jackson Lake Dam.
As one of the driving forces behind conserving Jackson Hole, John D. Rockefeller Jr. had bought thousands of acres of property with the intent of donating it as part of a national park. When Grand Teton National Park was expanded in 1950 with Rockefeller’s donation of 34,000 acres, it became apparent that guest accommodations in the park were inadequate. With funding from Rockefeller, the park service began to develop new visitor facilities and remove older resorts as they wanted to restore much of the park to its natural state. After the completion of the new Jackson Lake Lodge in 1955, the Colter Bay visitor site went into development. Cabins were transplanted to Colter Bay from the Teton Lodges at Moran, the old Jackson Lake Lodge resort, and the Square G Ranch (located near Jenny Lake) among others. In 1957 the cabins at Colter Bay Village were opened to the public. Over the years many of the other dude ranches and resorts closed or were donated to the park, and Colter Bay Village grew with the addition of the cabins from these various sites.
Today there is no trace to be found of many resort sites that now makeup Colter Bay Village. All the cabins from the old Jackson Lake Lodge that were not transplanted were destroyed. After picking up much of the town of Moran and transporting it to Colter Bay, the remaining structures were demolished in 1957. Only the post office still survives, transported to present-day Moran near the park’s east entrance.
Ms. McKinney’s interpretive historic walk is complementary and is scheduled each Tuesday and Friday afternoon at 5pm. Meet Mary for a wonderfully delightful afternoon at the Colter Bay Village Cabins Guest Lounge.
From Don’s Corner -Adapted from “A Brief History of Colter Bay Village” by Mary McKinney (GTLC Historian)
Well, he’s yet to have a name, but our moose mascot sure doesn’t hesitate to get out and about! He’s making friends quickly with the nearly 1,000 employees we have this summer and they’ve invited him on many excursions. We’re excited to showcase a few of his adventures here for you.
Be sure, he’ll be seen playing in the park more and more….we hope you enjoy his adventures.
“Hi everyone! I thought my first adventure would be a horseback ride. Being without an allowance I had to work cleaning the corrals before I could take my ride….This wrangler stuff is hard work!”
“After all that work, I needed a rest before going riding!”
“A short rest, and I hopped atop my trusty steed…and off we went!”
“After a long day of hard work in the corrals…it was off to the employee housing for a good night’s sleep with some of my co-workers.”
“The next morning it was time for a hearty breakfast…the food sure is good here! Must be the fresh air and outdoor adventure!”
“Off for another day of fun…can you guess where I am in this next photo?”
“I hope you’ll tune in as I’m off on another activity within the park. When are you headed out this way??”
Each year the National Park Foundation sponsors the Junior Ranger Essay Contest. The focus is to ask kids their ideas about how to protect and preserve the national parks.
In 2009, the essay contest question was “Why are our national parks important to you and what is your best idea to protect our parks for the future?”
Grand Teton Lodge Company was please to learn that the 2nd place winner this year was an essay contributed by Jason Roy Maki of Marysville, Wa. Jason’s essay focused on treasured memories of time in Grand Teton National Park. Below you will find the essay he contributed.
Way to go Jason! We hope you continue to enjoy and promote our national parks…and return to Grand Teton National Park very soon.
“When I see or even think about a national park, it is like no other feeling I’ve ever had. A national park is like a special cabinet that contains memories that are filled with truly special natural treasures. When you see a picture of a national park on post card, on TV or in a movie, you will probably say, “Wow! That is beautiful!” But actually being at a national park and seeing it in person is even more wonderful and breathtaking. When you go to the zoo and see an animal up close it is very interesting. But imagine that same thrill in the wild – in an animal’s habitat. Habitat is the natural place where an animal lives — like the forest, the meadows, the lakes and ponds, the rivers, mountains, valleys and the prairie.
I love Grand Teton National Park the best. When I visit, I always see elk, deer, black bear, grizzlies, moose, bison, wolves, bald eagles, and more. I’ve seen an eagle and an osprey fighting over a fish. I’ve seen a little baby moose with its mother at the edge of the Snake River. I’ve seen a pair of grizzly cubs wandering out in the middle of a green meadow with their mother close by. And I’ve even seen a rare black wolf running across a snow field. But not all things are exactly what I’d call peaceful. I’ve watched a huge bison lit up against the night sky when lightning struck the mountains. I went swimming with my cousins and came out of a beautiful lake covered in leeches! Ahhhhh! I was even surprised by a black bear ten feet away when I walked around a pickup truck! Even though I’ve had a few scary experiences, it should never stop you from visiting a national park.
National parks are fun places to learn about things that you could never experience anywhere else. That’s why we have to take care of them. We have to follow all national park rules. They are more than just rules. They are choices we make to help our parks survive forever. Don’t litter a park. Don’t feed the animals because they forget how to feed naturally. Make sure campfires are dead out with water. Forest fires are caused every year by careless campers who do not put their fires out. I would like to propose a contest where school kids everywhere come up with a few things to protect and preserve our national parks. We could have a reading program where school kids read about a neat national park. Then they could maybe visit one for themselves some day. I know they will enjoy every moment. That I can promise.
We the people own the national parks. They are ours. That is why we need to protect our parks and preserve them forever.”
At nine months old, Susan Bishop made her first trip to Grand Teton National Park. The family traveled from Casper, Wyoming on Fourth of July weekend. “My earliest memory of the Park was my mother bathing me in a washtub and me feeding the squirrels,” laughed Bishop. More than sixty years later, Bishop has made an annual trip to return to this special place every Fourth of July weekend.
In the late forties and early fifties the family would stay at the once active Kimmel Kabins, by Cottonwood Creek south of Jenny Lake. “We heard they were building Jackson Lake Lodge,” said Bishop. “We were driving down the road and actually saw it under construction and the next year we stayed here.”
The family would get two cabins and because they were set a bit away, it felt like their private escape. They would continue to stay at Jackson Lake Lodge, because of the facilities. “You can stay at the whole complex and get whatever you need. That was another nice thing when Jackson Lake Lodge came into the park. There were no real eating places in the park. When we stayed over in the Kimmel Kabins, in addition to not having plumbing, they didn’t have any place to really eat so you had to drive into Jackson almost every night for a meal.”
The magnificent view from the cabins also draws Bishop back. “Colter Bay is very nice, Jenny Lake is very nice, but none of them can you wake up in the morning and see the mountains like this. This morning I woke up early and it’s like a whole nature study to see how the atmosphere changes in two or three hours and you can do that all from your own bed.”
After so many years, Bishop’s most memorable spot remains Leigh Lake. “I’m actually named for Leigh Lake. My middle name is Leigh,” said Bishop. “My parents also honeymooned there so it’s always been a big part of our family.”
Bishop remembers wading into Leigh Lake and String Lake as a child, trying to catch tadpoles in hopes that they would grow into frogs. “I think we only got one frog out of it,” laughed Bishop.
“When my dad was alive we always would go fishing,” said Bishop. The trip was built around lake fishing and the family would go with the same guide. “Since he passed away we don’t do that activity any longer. With my husband we always look forward to playing a round of golf at the Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club and we always try to hike around Leigh Lake.
“The brilliance of the Lodge was the way it was situated,” said Bishop. “That you walk up the stairway and you see this magnificent panorama of the Tetons. That has been constant and every year when you come it’s like a ‘Gee whiz, awe’ type of thing, no matter how many years we have been coming.”
There have been a few changes since the Lodge opened in 1955. “When the Lodge was first built, there was quite a large bar and it was where the gift shop was now. It had very much of a western theme. People wore cowboy clothes and came in their boots and jeans. In the dining room we saw them paint the murals. I think where the bar is now used to be a meeting room or something like that. The counters have always remained the same in the Pioneer. This year they remodeled the cabins and that has been a tremendous improvement.
Bishop adds that the demographic of visitors to the Park has changed. “It used to be more of a regional type destination and you’d come up and see a lot of people from your home town of Casper and around and now it’s becoming much more of an international grouping.”
One thing that hasn’t changed is the family unit vacationing here. “It sorts of renews your faith in the family, because you see them having fun and being together.
Another constant is the amount of electronic communication. “There’s no TV’s, no radios and originally there were no telephones in the rooms. It’s really a nice time to say I’m away from all of that.”
“For our family the reason we come is tradition. My grandparents were pioneers in Wyoming and they vacationed up here. We have pictures of my father as a young man bringing his mother and sisters up here. It has been a tradition for our family to come up. One reason is because of the proximity. When my parents were growing up, a drive was a big deal; a 200 mile driving trip was a very big deal. It was always a nice, affordable getaway for the family for years. For me, it’s a matter of coming to rejuvenate, to get back in touch with my roots and bring out good memories.” Bishop even spent part of the summer of 1972 working in the gift shop.
“Our family is very much into historic preservation as well as nature preservation. I think what is so important is as we grow as a country is that we realize there are very few opportunities to keep our country beautiful, almost every time we come to the park I think of the brilliance of the Rockefeller family for seeing this sight and saying this should be kept pristine so that all generations present and future can enjoy it. That mentally in our lives is so important and I think it is so important that we as each generation make that happen and continue to keep it, because there are never going to be more mountains like this and the pleasures and the people that come and see this landscape—it’s tremendous and once you’ve been here it stays apart of you. I think that’s true of all the national parks. That’s one of the wonderful things about our country. That we have set these sites aside and said ok lets keep them that way and I strongly hope our government keeps that mentality.”
The family plans to continue staying at Jackson Lake Lodge after 54 years. “My husband and I were just talking, ‘Should we make reservations for next year?’ and I said ‘Yes, we should.’ It’s a tradition we will try and continue and keep going as long as we possibly can.”