THE MOUNTAINS ARE CALLING AND I MUST GO – John Muir
One of the fun benefits of my job is being able to bring my family along with me when I travel. They’ve come to accept I travel a lot more than they, developing in them a long-absent curiosity on what’s beyond the US. We travel a lot as a family unit (mostly annual hops to Mexico, but also Europe in sub-sets), but one-on-one travel is less feasible.
It’s nice to invite them along if I can. I’ve established this dibs system: Mami always gets first option; my sis, second; and one of my three brothers, third, but on rotation. The latter gets a little tricky, especially when schedules don’t align. But the system works and it’s always a fun draw to see who’s going where. My baby brother, the least travelled amongst us, has enjoyed three trips with me this year alone, ironically. Most recently, he jumped on the invite when I booked Jackson Hole, WY for a three-night stay at the Hampton Inn by Hilton as I continue on my fall seekender mission! He missed out on the annual siblings snowboarding trip last winter when we endued up in that very middle America town. He wasn’t in queue to be my +1 this time but it worked out. And so lucky him, he tagged along. Plus, he’d not been but really wanted to get to know the city I keep boasting about.
As things go with my travel style and approach, I didn’t plan. I don’t do itineraries. So much this time, I didn’t realize the town pretty much shuts down in November as it wraps up the summer/fall season –its highest –and recoups for the winter when avid skiers and snowboarders come in droves. Hotels are in off-season and offer some incredible rates. The Hampton Inn, our host for the weekend, has themed rooms for $119/night. A total winner with its perfect placement: 5 minute drive to the quaint Town Square, 20 minutes to the airport, and 14 minutes to Teton Village — where the snow enthusiasts converge at Jacskon Hole.
Arms wide open, this was living!
We eventually made it to our private tour guide — the very private kind since everyone else was shut down. He took us out both weekend days in search of some nature. I was familiar with some of the territory covered but nothing like scarcity lending to creativity. Our new friend Anthony toured us through some rural highways, starting in Kelly, WY.
It’s necessary to carry binoculars in these parts, especially when the meadows are high in bush and the animals’ camouflage nature. Only when you’re looking at the Grand Tetons, you want your natural eye.
Of the many mountain regions I’ve enjoyed here and across the pond, these great whites are incredibly majestic and simply breathtaking. I’ve seen them before, but my brother… his reaction was priceless. Pretty much mimicking my own reaction almost two years ago, he was ticked but also astonished.
The snow caps juxtaposed with dry, monotonous land, was akin to one of life’s wonderfully drawn reflections: the ying and the yang. My brother, my complete opposite in every way imaginable, stood in humble amazement. I did, too, but I kept it moving.
We heard it was over a girl.
Safari is exhilarating but also exhausting. Seven hours in a truck, with eyes peeled to marsh, brush and mountains, can tire your mind. Our cozy accommodations at the local Hampton Inn were inviting for relaxing and mindless decompressing. Before settling in for the night, my brother and I stood around the fire pit and shared our best moment. It was nice and all but I couldn’t wait to get in and sip on some hot cocoa offered up behind the front desk.
Staying in Jackson can be pricey. It’s a high-end ski resort catering to the high rollers chasing fresh powder. If you’re going to really splurge on the mountain, I say save some dollars and stay outside of Teton Village. The Hampton Inn by Hilton there is well-equipped with everything you need for a siblings trip, couples’ retreat or family vacay; it’s centrally located, has lovely themed décor (I asked the manager if I could buy the elk chandelier!), a hearty free breakfast… and better yet…is 200 feet walking distance from one of my new fave restaurants by the Fine Dining Group… where I continued my birthday celebration.
More on Jackson’s dining scene in the next post.
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.