This is another moment in time captured this past Fall here in the Yellowstone Basin. On this morning Peyton and I traveled to Jackson Hole Wyoming to pickup our morning coffee before heading out to this beautiful spot. Located on the Gros Ventre River east of Kelly Wyoming this drainage is one of my favorite places to spend time and just be still.
Just east of this spot on the river is where the huge landslide happened in the early 1900’s that created the two Slide Lakes that are now part of this amazing landscape. The Gros Ventre was one of the original trails into the valley that the trappers used to hunt and trap this beautiful place. The Teton are visible most of the way down this drainage and one can see for miles.
This little bend in the river is a very nice place to sit and sip on some Morning Coffee and reflect on the beauty that is the result of the ultimate artist, God himself. Enjoy a snapshot in time and share with me the quite serenity of this place knows as the Gros Ventre River. Enjoy….
Who has not heard about the great adventure story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition? Early from 1804 – 1806, Sacajawea was an integral part of this expedition that led Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their exploration of the American West looking for a path to the Pacific Ocean. Sacajawea and her husband Toussaint Charbonneau played an important role in the success of this expedition – an expedition that led them right through this part of the country – the great Yellowstone basin. But this post is not about their story. It is the story of the resting place of Sacajawea – a once young Shoshone Indian girl who helped change history forever. A place that can be found just a few miles Southeast from Jackson Hole.
Although Sacajawea was reported to have died in 1812 she actually lived to be a very old women as told by Shoshone oral traditions. Long after the end of the Lewis and Clark Expedition Sacajawea eventually made her way west back to the Shoshone tribes and lived out her life in the area that is now Fort Washakie, Wyoming. Anyone who has traveled to or from Lander, Wyoming has gone right through Fort Washakie which is one of two main cities on the Wind River Indian Reservation.
Fort Washakie was originally a U.S Army fort in what is now the state of Wyoming. The fort was established in 1869 and was originally named Camp Augur after General Christopher C. Augur, commander of the Department of Platte. In 1870 the camp was renamed Camp Brown in honor of Captain Frederick H. Brown who was killed in the Fetterman Massacre in 1866. 81 men under his command were killed by Lakota Sioux, Arapaho and Cheyenne warriors during what was known as Red Cloud’s War on the white man. It was renamed again in 1878 after Chief Washakie of the Shoshone tribe making the fort the only U.S military outpost named after a Native American. The fort remained a military outpost until 1909 when it was decommissioned and turned over to the Shoshone Indian Agency.
The graves of Chief Washakie and the Lewis and Clark Expedition guide Sacajawea are located on the grounds of the fort. This burial site lies within the present-day Wind River Indian Reservation. Our family has become very familiar with Fort Washakie as we travel through there several times a year to visit our daughter in Boulder Colorado. As you pass through the main intersection of Fort Washakie there is a small road sign that says “Sacajawea’s Grave Site”. We had passed this sign many times over many years but had never taken the time to stop and visit this very special place. This last trip it was different – we made the time to visit the resting place of this very important person in American History.
Fort Washakie is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Jackson Hole. A beautiful drive that takes you over Togwotee Pass, through the town of Dubois and across the Wind River Reservation. Just short of Lander Wyoming is Fort Washakie. I need to tell you that please do not expect something on the grandeur of the National Park Monuments we are all used to. Fort Washakie is a humble place that belongs now to the Shoshone and Arapaho tribes. The poverty you will experience on this majestic reservation is shocking and to be truthful something for all to be ashamed about.
Peyton, Brock, Brynn and I have visited several Powwows on this reservation and I can truthfully say these were some of the best days we have had in Wyoming. The Shoshone people are very inviting and I suggest that anyone who is in the area think about visiting one of their Powwows if you can. On this day though we stopped and made our way west of the main intersection, past the Powwow Grounds and along the west side of the Wind River (actual river) for several miles until we came to a very small, unassuming sign that simply says “Sacajawea Cemetery”. As you enter this very humble place two things stand out. No trees or shrubs landscape this place and the close proximity of each grave. Some graves date back to the mid 1800’s and all the way to the present.
I have to tell you that if you are a lover of history you need to visit this place. To stand at the foot of Sacajawea’s gravesite, her son Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau and her sisters son Bazil is quite an experience. This place, this humble grave site, this troubled reservation of the Shoshone people gives one a reason to pause and think… think about those who help lay the path before us, a path that had led to this day that my family stood at the foot of what was once a young Shoshone Indian woman who made an everlasting contribution to our American History.
We woke up again this morning to another beautiful fall day here in the Yellowstone basin! But this morning unlike many of the ones over the past few weeks was really cold. As we pulled from our driveway this morning on our way to drop Brynn off at school the temp gauge was reading 28 degrees. By the time we got across the Snake River it was 25 degrees and even colder north of town.
The Snake River looked pretty cool as there was steam coming off of the water and for that to happen the air temp must be colder than the water. Trust me, the Snake River is not something to wade in this time of year as the water temperatures have dropped quite a bit. Anyway we dropped Brynn off and headed to the coffee shop and then north of town again.
Now forgive us as our camera was acting up this morning but I think you will enjoy our little adventure. We were alone this morning and the animals were right next to our truck at every turn. We took our time and sat and watched the three moose in the pics for quite some time. They were eating the sage next to the road and for the most part ignored us. Been then they decided to check us out and we rolled away as they headed to us. Very cool!
All in all we saw antelope, buffalo, moose, geese and most certainly some spectacular views of the valley. On this morning we passed through Kelly, Wyoming, past the entrance to the Gros Ventre canyon, over to Antelope flats and Mormon Row and then home again. Another great way to share a cup of java!
A few years back my son Brock and I took a day trip to Bozeman Montana to meet some very dear friends from the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation located in Montana. Donovan Sr, is an Assiniboine Elder who trained me how to make traditional Native American Pipes, (but that is for another blog post) and Uncle Loren. The short version is we met Donovan Sr. and Uncle Loren (we call him “Uncs”) to pick up some sacred pipe stone and a couple of new pipes, just completed by Donovan Sr., to take back to Jackson Hole to be photographed. We also picked up some pipe stone for ourselves as well as exchange some pipe stems, ideas, and friendship! The day in Bozeman ended in what we call a “Good Trade” day.
Our trip started early on a Saturday morning, leaving Jackson Hole at around 8:00am. After getting our coffee and a couple of bagels we hit the road. When traveling through this part of the country, which is sooo amazing and in a single round trip of about 450 miles one can experience everything the Rockies has to throw at you. The weather this Fall day was awesome, skies were clear blue and the sun was shining bright, and the temperature was perfect when we left town. There are a couple of ways you can make your way to Bozeman from Jackson, one through Yellowstone Park’s south entrance or head through Idaho, back into Montana, north through the very northwest corner of the park and finally past Big Sky Montana as you make your way down the Gallatin River into Bozeman.
From Jackson to Bozeman is about 214 miles (one way) over some of the most beautiful roads you can travel. We chose to head west over Teton Pass and into Idaho, then north along the west side of the Teton Range. You first travel through beautiful rolling hills where much of the russet potatoes are grown in Idaho, not to mention double row barley (which Anheuser Bush buys for their beer) and after you make a turn east in Ashton Idaho you eventually end up in West Yellowstone.
For those who are not familiar with Yellowstone Park, there are 4 entrances to the park. Jackson Hole to the south, Gardiner at the north, the east entrance which leads to Cody, Wyoming and the west entrance which is West Yellowstone (it’s a town). Some of you may be familiar with West Yellowstone as some of the premier fly fishing rivers in the world are in the area. The Madison river, the Firehole, Henry’s Fork, the Buffalo, the Gallatin and many more. This is truly Lewis and Clark country.
From West Yellowstone you head north toward Bozeman and you travel though the very northwest part of Yellowstone Park and you quickly pass over the Madison River eventually picking up and following the Gallatin river all the way into Bozemen. One important note here is that you pass right through a part of the park that suffered from the big fire in 1988. It is awesome to see how nature has recovered. You pass Big Sky Montana Ski Resort and other beautiful scenery. This is one of the most beautiful stretches of road to drive at any time of the year.
Once in Bozemen we had our little pow wow with friends, stopped at a few stores and headed home. When we left Bozeman the clouds had started to gather. The weather from Jackson to Bozeman had been perfect! Clear skies, very dry roads, an easy drive. But things were about to change. We headed back up the Gallatin to West Yellowstone. This part of the trip is about 90 miles. As we pulled into West Yellowstone, Brock said “Dad why don’t we go home through the park”. I said sure let’s do it. It is important to note that this is about 4:45pm MST and it is getting darker. It is important because this is animal hour in the park.
We entered the park and headed towards the Old Faithful Geyser basin. This part of the trip from West Yellowstone to home in Jackson is about 130 miles. This is when things started to change. We first ran head on into a male buffalo that decided my truck was bigger than he was. So he mosied off the road and into the pasture that sat along the Madison river. He was the first of hundreds we were to run into this day of travels through the park. And on top of it, it was starting to rain. I quickly looked at my temperature gauge and saw that the temp has dropped drastically to 38 degrees. This was important because at 38 degrees and below it will start to snow if the conditions are right.
As we got closer to Old Faithful we saw elk, and big herds of buffalo and we drove along the banks of the Madison River, simply awesome. By the time we got to Old Faithful Geyser Basin the temperature was down to 36 and still raining. And it was now getting pretty dark. Clouded skis and looking even darker towards Jackson. Along this stretch of the road you travel along the banks of the Firehole river for part of the way and it gets it name from all the thermal activity that it passes through. An amazing sight to see in its own right.
This is an beautiful part of the park and we tried to take some pictures before the light got too low. Almost everywhere you look you see geysers, fumaroles, steam, hot pools, bubbling mud, trees, animals, – awesome! We decided to pull over to take a short break and just take in this beautiful valley. But we did not stay long as the temperature continued to drop and I said to Brock we are about to get snowed on. But the ferocity of the change was not expected.
We headed south towards home and as we got down the road about 5 miles the temp dropped to around 32 and I said to Brock here it comes. And come it did! It did not flurry a bit or start real light – it just started snowing. Now in this part of the country you will cross the Continental Divide many times. And we were heading for one of those crossings at an elevation of 8391 feet above sea level. One other thing to note here – the park was void of people as it was close to closing so we were basically on our own.
The snowflakes started to increase in size and the volume at which they fell was speeding up. The road quickly disappeared and became totally white. The snow was accumulating at a rate that I estimated at over an 1-2 inches per hour maybe even more at times. We put the truck into four-wheel drive as we were not going anywhere without it. Our speed dropped to about 25 miles per hour and we are crawling our way through Yellowstone park in the middle of a snow storm all alone. When we left Jackson it was sunny and clear. In Bozeman it was starting to cloud up but still relatively warm. West Yellowstone it started to rain and now we were surrounded in white.
Our final stop before it got real dark and we made the final trek home was the pass where we cross over the Continental Divide. We stopped and took this last picture here. We got out of our truck and it was completely quite. Snow was falling straight down and you could hear it hit the trees, your clothing, the truck. It was coming down so thick that it would fall right into your mouth. If you have never experienced the complete quite of the forest and to see snow falling straight down and building up in front of your eyes you have missed one of heaven’s real treats!!
The light faded fast and Brock and I decided that if we did not get moving we may be spending the night here as the snow was already over a foot deep on the road. We slowly made our way to the south entrance of the park and as the roads started to clear we made our way home to Jackson. You actually leave Yellowstone Park and then make your way through parts of Teton National Park before you get into the Jackson area.
This was an amazing day for Brock and I – we spent it together as father and son, we shared lunch with friends and they we got to see God’s hand on our Mother Earth. We were kissed by her this day and left with a memory I shall never forget! WE WERE TRULY BLESSED THIS DAY!
It is clear that the weather is starting to change here in the Yellowstone Basin. Grizzly Bears are being sighted scrounging for food and the area is clearly starting to move from Winter into Spring mode. Days are longer and nights are getting shorter and warmer to boot.
People will start to plan their summer trips and for many Jackson Hole, Yellowstone and Cody Wyoming will be on the itinerary. If any of you travel through this area this coming Spring, Summer or Fall please reach out to me and come see some of my flutes , Native Pipe designs and jewelry here in my little shop.
I am located on the banks of the Snake River in the South Hoback Junction area in one of the most beautiful setting. Come see me at the end of the road and while you are here take a beautiful walk along the banks of the Snake River. And while you are here visit our Rodeo and see some spectacular cowboys ride into the night.
If you have interest please reach out to me via email or phone and set a time to stop by. I would love to meet with you and show you some of my art. I am working on a large number of flutes and pipes so don’t be surprised if you find something you like. Please contact me at “firstname.lastname@example.org” or by phone “(307) 690-0427” let’s get together – I would love to meet you.
There simply are not words as to how fast this summer has gone. In the Rocky Mountain Region such as the Yellowstone Basin our summers are fairly short. Fall comes quickly and it is just about here. The leaves are starting to change and in just a week or two we will be in full blown Fall colors. A great time for pictures and I do not plan to miss this Fall like last. The picture above was one of my favorite from the Fall of 2012. This was taken at Black Tail Ponds and I am traveling up there every couple of days to make sure I get some good pics this year.
Just after Fall comes our long heavy winters and with winter comes some of the animals we see only for a few months each year. Below is a shot I took during the winter of 2012 – 2013. The big horn sheep are amazing to watch and this guy was one of my favorite. They will be arriving very soon and this winter I plan to take advantage of the opportunities to bring you some really cool shots. Enjoy…
Many of you know Teton Marketing because of the Native American Flutes they handcraft right here in Jackson Hole. Teton Marketing is growing and adding new products all the time. Recently they released their first hat that was primarily a hat to help spread the word about the company. Now they add a new hat that should appeal to everyone who lives or visits Jackson Hole.
High Altitude Designs from Teton Marketing is a new line of active wear clothing that people can use every day living here in Jackson Hole and beyond. Watch for the introduction of clothing, hats and more as they introduce them throughout the summer. Each clothing item will be branded with the Teton Marketing logo and appropriate taglines. All logos and taglines will be embroidered for a clean tasteful look. Teton Marketing hopes that you will enjoy each addition as they come available. The current Teton Marketing hats come from the Otto Collection and they are adjustable to fit any head. There are now offer three versions of the hats, all three versions feature variations of the Teton Marketing Logo, the website address, the Wyoming Bucking horse, the state name “Wyoming”, “Forever West” and of coarse “Jackson Hole”on the back of the cap. All of the current caps are jet black in color. These are very nice hats and all logos are embroidered, not silk screened. Each hat is $23.99 plus shipping. They are planning to add several more hat designs for those of you who love Jackson Hole Wyoming as much as they do. You can Get your Teton Marketing hat today at www.tetonmarketing.com.
About Their Logo
Inspired by the place they live. The Teton Range is truly one of the most inspiring mountain range in the world. Most people equate the Grand Tetons with Jackson Hole. Their Logo for Teton Marketing is their vision of what they see everyday. Like many of their flute fetishes that tend to be more whimsical, their logo falls comfortably in line with them. They tried to find a balance between a literal view of the range and their whimsical view. We think they accomplished this. Visit their website to see other products offered from Teton Marketing…
After hours of self-reflection local artist Tim Jennings finally came up with their newest fetish block for your next Native American Flute project or existing one. This new fetish was inspired by one of our more proliferate residences of the Jackson Hole area, the North American Bison or more commonly known as the buffalo. Truly one of my favorite animals to watch and photograph here in western Wyoming. For those of you who know Tim’s flutes you know that most of the fetish blocks he crafts tend to be more whimsical than literal. This has been his style and Tim actually enjoys it when people see different things within the same fetish.
As an artist Tim wanted to capture something a bit different this time. He wanted a fetish that when someone sees it, it is clear to them what it represents but at the same time still maintains the whimsical aura that seems to fit his other designs. “I think we have found a clear balance with this new fetish”. This fetish stands about 2 1/2″ tall, it is about 3″ in length and 7/8″ wide at the base. He added a chimney to this fetish that is approximately 3/8″ wide and 7-8mm deep so it should fit most NAF flutes where the Focusing Channel is cut into the body of the flute. The picture presented here was crafted from a piece of old growth black walnut.
Each of these fetish blocks are entirely hand crafted by artist Tim Jennings and takes several hours to complete and thus no two are the same. Each fetish will be signed by Tim on the bottom of the buffalo. Teton Marketing, a local company here in Jackson is currently crafting a series of them out of some old growth walnut stock they have been saving for this very project. There will be a limited supply of these available for sale so if you are interested in one call Tim (307-690-0427) or send him an email . Please visit their website at http://www.tetonmarketing.com and see what is new. If you would like to order one you can do it by phone or click on the order button below and purchase it directly from the Teton Marketing shopping cart. Tim hopes this new fetish brings added value to your next flute project.
Jackson Hole Wyoming is truly an amazing place to visit, live and work. Most people when they think about visiting Jackson Hole will tell you that they think about the majesty of the Teton Mountain Range, Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone Park, the wildlife plus all of the amazing thermal activity found just north of town. Whitewater rafting, hiking, tram rides, fishing and of course eating at one of the many fine eateries Jackson has to offer. Truthfully Jackson Hole Wyoming is a magical place for those who love the outdoors and appreciate the finest that God has to offer.
For those of you seeking a little taste of the old west while visiting Jackson Hole, set aside an evening and go to the Jackson Hole Rodeo. This is a truly an evening event worth spending time with your family. This is the real deal folks – for more than 100+ years the Jackson Hole Rodeo has been an integral part of Jackson Hole and the old west. For 2+ hours the Wilson family (5th generations Jackson Hole) will entertain you with brave young men who attempt to master the backs of bulls and broncs, while mostly the girls take to the backs of their quickest horse for a shot at being the fastest around the barrels.
If you have never been to a real rodeo you are in for a treat. A real piece of Americana that will not only make you proud to be an American but the Jackson Hole Rodeo will keep you on the edge of your seat for the entire evening. But the real story that I find at the rodeo is not the spectacle that takes place within the arena but what takes place behind the bucking chutes. Boys and men of all ages getting prepared to take their shot at making the 8 second ride into glory. And I mean all ages! There are boys as young as 4 years old getting their first rides all the way up to men in their late 40’s. And that alone is amazing to me as this is really a young mans sport.
Bravery comes in many forms but make no mistake, it takes a man with an incredible constitution to climb on the back of one of these very large and dangerous animals. Behind the chutes you will find these brave young men going through all kinds of rituals as they get ready for their rides. Some are jumping up and down trying to shake off their fears, others practice their ride by sitting on their bronc saddles while they lay on the floorboards of the chute area. Others walk around talking to themselves as if they are trying to convince one half of their other personality everything is ok while the other half is telling them NOT TO GO. These men, and I mean men, come from long distances and they pay a handsome fee to ride and compete for the best score. Most of them are clearly friends that come from the many ranches around the states of Idaho, Montana and of coarse, Wyoming.
As you mingle behind the chutes and fade into the background you can watch these men prepare themselves both physically and mentally for their next ride. You can see the grit and determination, the desire, hunger, fear, concerns, the focus they seek preparing themselves for their upcoming turn in the chutes. They pat each other on the back, high fives, words of encouragement, a nervous chuckle and for some just a simple stare into the eyes of one of their close friends looking for that simple smirk of encouragement and support. There is only constant support for those who are about to ride. No, behind these chutes is no place for a weak man.
Contrary to what many might think, these brave souls come in all shapes and sizes. young men with boyish faces, men with that expected cowboy look, men with scars, casts, slings, limps all giving testimony to earlier events. Many of them ride at least twice a week at this rodeo alone. When you are privileged to be part of this behind the chutes environment you gain a new respect for todays cowboys. They are a breath of fresh air in my opinion as they give testimony and carry on in the tradition of the old west and those men who came before them.
Yes I say – go to the rodeo and I promise you that you will enjoy an event that will leave you with a certain sense pride that only comes with being an American. The rodeo arena is an exciting place to watch all this unfold. A place where America’s truly most original sport was born and 8 seconds of sheer terror takes place right in front of your eyes. Watch with amazement as each young man climbs onto the back of their bull, their bronc, their ride that will surely come. For these men who ride, ride for both themselves as much as they ride for your entertainment. To do this comes only with a passion that is ingrained in the cowboy tradition that still lives on today right here in Jackson Hole Wyoming. These young men and women come to this event with the strong need to participate in this American sport. And yes courage and honor exist right here behind the bucking chutes of American Rodeo.
Wow, hard to believe it is February, 2013 already. I know I keep saying this but time is flying by as they say. After several days of winter weather the sky’s opened up this morning and gave us clear blue sky’s, well with a few clouds floating around. It was 9 degrees at the coffee shop but something makes you seem a lot warmer when you see good ol Mr. Sun.
One more stop at the DOG (Down On Glen) for one of Jackson’s premier breakfast burritos and off we go. Today’s destination was Oxbow Bend and Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park. The pictures above are a very typical morning here in the valley. You never know what will catch your eye when you cruise along. The truck in the pictures is our first brand new Ford F350 which we will be using this spring when we kick off our new Private Party Tours that we will be offering through our website http://www.tetonmarketing.com. If you are visiting Jackson this summer consider letting us take you out and see some of the things we are blessed to experience every day. More on this in future posts.
The temperatures this morning in Grand Teton National Park was hovering around a comfortable 10 degrees. I say comfortable because there was zero wind and the sun was beaming down bright upon us. Winter in the park can offer some really spectacular vistas and wildlife opportunities for your camera. We had the place to ourselves. We could stop on the road and pretty much do what ever we wanted. We saw several moose but they did not want to cooperate and pose for us. Nothing like a cup of hot coffee and some really spectacular scenery start your day out right. Enjoy…