Wet N’ Wild ~ Kayaking on Jackson Lake

 

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!

 

Melissa & Sy Kayaking Jackson Lake
Melissa & Sy Kayaking Jackson Lake

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!

 

Our Bald Eagle Sighting
Our Bald Eagle Sighting

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!

 

The Guardian Osprey
The Guardian Osprey

Can you spot the spotted sandpiper?  I’ll give you a hint….he’s brown and white and is standing on a branch.   

 

The Shy Sandpiper
The Shy Sandpiper

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.   

A Blue Heron Struts Along
A Blue Heron Struts Along

 He was quite shy and flew away when I got closer to him. 

blue heron flying

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!

kayak 3sml

 

From Melissa’s Corner (of the lake)!

Kids Appreciate Grand Teton National Park

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.

jason-maki_npfwinnerWay 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.”

Source:  National Park Foundation website

Lunch Tree Hill: A View that Inspired a Vision

View From Lunch Tree Hill
View From Lunch Tree Hill

 

It started with a view. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. hiked to the top of a small knoll and gazed out upon the sea of willows and towering mountain range stretched across the valley. Elk and moose grazed down below. Clouds drifted by, some bringing thunderstorms, others breezing along.

There, Rockefeller ate lunch and took in the astounding environment around him. It dawned on Mr. Rockefeller to purchase the land with the intention of donating it to the U.S. Government so this view could be shared with everyone. His 25 year quest to preserve the land had begun.

 

Grand Tetons
Looking Out at the Mountain Range

 

 

Rockefeller’s first visit to Jackson Hole was in 1926. His wife and three sons stayed at the Amoretti Inn and fell in love with the natural beauty of Jackson Hole. By 1929, the mountain peaks and the lakes near the base of the Grand Tetons were established as a national park (the boundaries of the park were later expanded in 1950 to include much of the adjacent valley floor). More visitors continued to travel through Jackson Hole and it was clear that larger accommodations were needed. Rockefeller selected a site near his favorite lunch spot, now called Lunch Tree Hill, and construction began for Jackson Lake Lodge in March of 1953.

 

A Nod to John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
A Tribute to John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

 

 

Today, over 2.6 million visitors come to Grand Teton National Park each year. Guests from all over the world trek up the paved path off the front terrace of Jackson Lake Lodge to Rockefeller’s favorite lunch spot. The Lodge continues to provide, activities, lodging, dining, shopping and other services for travelers. 

“Our goal is to enhance guest experience in the park,” said Bob O’Neil, Grand Teton Lodge Company Director of  Human Resources. “It’s really all about the park. How we keep it up to date and modern, but  still preserve the Rockefeller’s vision.”
 
Over 50 years later that vision remains, as the natural splendor of Grand Teton National Park is shared from one generation to the next.

 

Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park

*Join our interpretive specialist on a short, complimentary, interpretive walk up Lunch Tree Hill. Turn back the hands of time to 1926 and walk in the footsteps of John D. Rockefeller Jr. View the exact vistas, in the cool crisp morning air, that inspired Mr. Rockefeller’s decades long passion to preserve this mountain range known as the Grand Tetons. Learn of the important historical struggle for preservation of this unique geological mountain range, view wildlife below in Willow Flats, and take advantage of great photo opportunities in the early morning light. The walk begins at 7:15am on Tuesday, Thursday & Sunday mornings.

Confessions of a Signal Mountain Summit Addict

On the Way to Signal Mountain Summit
On the Way to Signal Mountain Summit

 

Several days a week, I find myself trekking to the top of Signal Mountain for some post-work therapy. The journey is equally rewarding as the destination. The climb to the summit is through Douglas firs, aspens, meadows, ponds, and several overlooks of the Tetons and Jackson Lake. Waterfowl and wildlife grace the area, and elk can be heard bugling in the autumn months.
 
There are two ways to the top, a paved road for bikes and vehicles and a trail for pedestrians. By foot the hiker faces a moderate, steady grade and a 5.5 mile round trip. The path climbs at an elevation gain of 633 ft. to the 7,593 ft. summit. For those with less time, the drive only takes about 10 minutes to reach the top.

 

Top of Summit Looking Out East
Top of Summit Looking Out East

 
“Jackson Hole Hikes,” by Rebecca Woods, describes the Signal Mountain Summit quite accurately.

“From gray-green sagebrush covered flats to the forested moraines and kettled area to the east, the handiwork created by glaciers thousands of years ago is spread out on the valley floor below.”

The summit provides one of the finest geology sights in the area, as the landscape appears as a painting under your feet. Incredible bird’s-eye views of the mountain range, the valley, and the winding Snake River are seen from the top.

 

Looking Through to the East
Looking Through to the East

 

Overlook on the Tetons
Overlook on the Tetons

 

Signal Mountain Summit
Signal Mountain Summit

 

In the 1930’s, Signal Mountain was used as a forest service fire lookout, as the valley can be observed for miles to the east. 

Signal Mountain offers a pleasant escape after a long day or is an excellent morning boost, with fantastic views of sunrise. As my day at the office winds down, I prepare for yet another trip to the summit. I am a Signal Mountain Summit addict and I am proud of it.

Posted from Katie’s Corner

 

Heading Back Down
Heading Back Down

Calling All Birders!

Male Blue Grouse Near Signal Mountain Summit
Male Blue Grouse Near Signal Mountain Summit

 

blue grouse5SM
Looking for Food

 

On a trip to the top of Signal Mountain, I spotted quite the critter. My first impression of this bird was that it must be some kind of strange cross between a turkey and a peacock. Alas, there is no such creature, but what I did see was a male Blue Grouse.

This bird has a full spread of white and dark gray tail feathers and a colorful red and white spot near its chest. The rest of the body is mostly a grayish-brown and it is slightly larger than a chicken. Adult males have a yellow-orange patch of bare skin above the eye.

 

blue grouse10SM

 

Male Blue Grouse
Male Blue Grouse

 

While I came upon the grouse near the summit of Signal Mountain, the bird also frequents the west shore of Jenny Lake, the trail from String Lake to Leigh Lake, and the south end of Jackson Hole area.

According to “Birds of Grand Teton National Park,” by Bert Raynes:

“In spring, a male Blue Grouse might walk up to you on the trail and nip at your blue pants or aqua-colored backpack.”

Luckily for me, I left my blue at home that day.

Raynes goes on to note, “You may hear one hooting, a deep note difficult to pinpoint. You will probably have to be alert; these ‘fool hens’ are expert in camouflage and can disappear from view in a few paces. If you do spot one you might be able to approach carefully and observe it at quite close range.”

Watch for this bird in the Park. No, it’s not a brown peacock or a small turkey. It’s a Blue Grouse and they are out and strutting their stuff.

Posted from Katie’s Corner

 

Blue Grouse
Blue Grouse

 

Showing Off Those Tail Feathers
Showing Off Those Tail Feathers

GTLC Incorporates Green Practices in Renovation

Guestroom at Jackson Lake Lodge
Guestroom at Jackson Lake Lodge

 

With sustainability in mind, Grand Teton Lodge Company completed major renovations this year. $5.4 million in projects included guestrooms at Jackson Lake Lodge, guestroom baths at Jenny Lake Lodge, and a complete transformation of the former Chuckwagon restaurant at Colter Bay Village. Each project strived to be environmentally friendly and put GTLC’s green practices to the test.

 

Jackson Lake Lodge Guest Bathroom Lighting Fixtures
Jackson Lake Lodge Guest Bathroom Lighting Fixtures

 

 

Redesigned Headboards at Jackson Lake Lodge
Redesigned Headboards at Jackson Lake Lodge

 

Walk into one of Jackson Lake Lodge’s 385 guestrooms and you will be greeted by fifties modern décor with a hint of western flair. Designed by Cole Martinez Curtis and Associates, the new look of the guestrooms at Jackson Lake Lodge honors both the National Historical Landmark designation and a commitment to sustainability. A variety of green products and practices were put into place. Low or zero VOC paints, recycled-content carpet padding, low wattage lamps, and the reuse of furniture were efforts to reach a waste diversion of 98%. Double-sized headboards were retrofitted to accommodate queen-size beds, resulting in the saving of 17,136 board feet of wood. Left over furniture, fixtures and equipment was donated to local organizations.

 

Jackson Lake Lodge Guest Bathroom
Jackson Lake Lodge Guest Bathroom

At Jenny Lake Lodge the bathrooms bring the outdoors in with elegant western charm. The 31 cabins at Jenny Lake Lodge are complete with redesigned guest bathrooms. They reflect the modern grace and serene environment that surrounds Jenny at the base of the Tetons.

 

John Colter Ranch House at Colter Bay Village
John Colter Ranch House at Colter Bay Village

 

John Colter Ranch House Bar
John Colter Ranch House Bar

 

If you look for the Chuckwagon restaurant of Colter Bay Village, you will find a new treat. The restaurant has undergone a complete renovation and in its place is the John Colter Ranch House, honoring the early settlers and mountain men of Wyoming.  The restaurant now features a bar with an atmosphere reflecting the ranching way of life and highlights the original homesteaders whose settler’s cabins are located at Colter Bay Village. Come in for a hearty breakfast, healthy lunch options such as a soup and salad bar, and a variety of dinner entrees including mesquite-grilled flatiron steak, honey BBQ pork ribs and blackened salmon.

 

Outside John Colter Ranch House
Outside John Colter Ranch House

 

The new look of Grand Teton Lodge Company is ready to be seen, as the lodges and village prepare to open for the summer on the following days:

 

Jackson Lake Lodge: May 18

Colter Bay Village: May 22

Jenny Lake Lodge: May 30

 

Join us for summer 2009! For reservations, call 800-628-9988.

Posted from Katie’s Corner

Give Back While Getting Away in Grand Teton National Park

Summer Wildflowers with the Tetons
Summer Wildflowers with the Tetons

 

Not one to sit around on a vacation? Looking for something a little more exciting than a facial? Grand Teton Lodge Company (GTLC) is hosting an opportunity to give back while getting away. The Conservation Vacation volunteer package provides guests with the chance to explore and enjoy the magnificence of Grand Teton National Park at a discount, while helping preserve its beauty for generations to come.

“Grand Teton National Park was founded on the Rockefellers’ vision that natural splendor should be educational, enjoyable and treasured for years to come,” said John W. Rutter, GTLC Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.  “This package reinforces his sentiment, and gives guests a chance to learn while participating in the preservation of this national treasure.”

A variety of conservation projects are available to all fitness levels and anyone over the age of 16 can participate. Help maintain the grandeur of the Park by joining in brush clearing to reduce fires, trail maintenance and preservation of historical cabins at Colter Bay.

 

Be a Leader and Volunteer in the Park
Be a Leader and Volunteer in the Park

 

The Conservation Vacation volunteer package is available September 20 through 26. Participants receive a welcome reception, three meals per day, accommodations, work tools for projects, and educational presentations by guest speakers and GTLC management. The package price is $120 per person per night based on double occupancy and space availability at Colter Bay Village, and is inclusive of tax and gratuities. It is not applicable to groups or conventions. Advance reservations are required and can be made by calling 800-628-9988.

Experience the spectacular Grand Tetons and help preserve this natural treasure for the future!

Posted from Katie’s Corner

 

Help Preserve the Park's Natural Beauty
Help Preserve the Park's Natural Beauty