Pre-Winter Season in Jackson Hole -happenings with Wildlife & Nature

Cathy Shill from JH Nordic Alliance partner, Hole Hiking Experience, shared her observations of nature, and its beautiful evolution from fall into winter:

October and early November offer perfect temperatures, blue skies, bit of moisture, frosty morning and wildlife sightings.  Fall is an ideal time to look for animals. Moose are often seen along waterways. Elk graze in the meadows. Bison enjoy sage flats. Some bird migrate south , some gather seeds to prepare for the long winter ahead. Cool Fall temperatures keep them active.

Elk herd grazing at Dusk in the meadows by the Tetons in Jackson Hole

 

 

 

In our valley as daylight changes and days shorten, winter can begin at any time so animals are active and preparing for this change. Throughout this season of transition, it is great to visit mixed habitats to view wildlife as they move to winter territories. Since winter is a hard season for all species who rely on plants, you see Moose, Elk, and Deer actively foraging in the Fall. They gain weight to survive the lean season of winter

In October, I had the opportunity to spend a week in the mountains. I highly recommend a few days to replenish one’s spirit. To leave the phone and computer behind where all is quiet. As you allow yourself to settle, you begin to observe.  It is amazing to immerse oneself in nature. A large Mule Deer herd of does and fawns visited daily. The young fawns looked wide eyed with perked ears to smell and sense me. To be afraid or not? I would breath and send peace and love. They remained and realized that I wasn’t a threat. To be one with it all. A Moose family came to lick salt, forage, and rest in the shade of Lodgepole Pine. A wolf called at night. A fellow hiker saw a bear. Nature all around. Mountain Bluebirds caught my eye as they flitted about the sagebrush. Heading to southern territories with bursts of blue. A Short-eared Owl filled the night with its’ call. The Milky Way burst with stars and the tendril of infinite light. It was time for me. Time for oneself, alone time that benefits us all.

Milbert’s Tortoiseshell Butterfly Photo: C Shill

During a sunny day this month, a Milbert’s Tortoiseshell Butterfly and I shared a ray of sun. We both enjoyed the warmth. Both Milbert Tortoiseshell and Mourning Cloak butterflies overwinter in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The adult butterfly overwinters to emerge in Spring to mate. This period of dormancy is called diapause and it is a suspended period of development. Photoperiod or length of daylight spur the butterflies to seek refuge to survive the extremes of winter. Both are within the Brush-footed Butterfly family and all six species overwinter as adults. Look for the Milbert’s Tortoiseshell near moist locations and they are common in most of North America.

Daylight savings time begins.  The month ends with wintry weather. Rain/snow mix in the valley and snow in the high country.  During this season of change, it is nice to have a good book near to enjoy the wetter days and your hiking shoes nearby when the sun shines.

Tour Suggestion-
Upper elevations are white and some have taken the first ski turns of the season at Grand Targhee. Hiking still nice in the valley so the LSR preserve, Bearpaw/Trapper Lake near Leigh Lake, Bradley and Taggert. Trails will be muddy with the current freeze/thaw cycle.  Some valley roads close November 1 and parking is banned overnight on town streets.  Choose your activity based on the weather and don’t bypass the opportunity to relax on that cold rainy day.

Best Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe Trips in Grand Teton National Park

 

A skier explores Grand Teton National Park near the Lucas-Fabian Homestead at Dawn

 

Winter has come to Jackson Hole.  The breathtaking peaks of the Teton Range are covered with a deepening snowpack, to the delight of downhill skiers and snowboarders at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.  Grizzly and black bears are hibernating beneath the snow, and herds of elk, bison, and mule deer are retreating to the southern end of the Jackson Hole valley, seeking out winter habitat.  

 

As snow covers the valley of Grand Teton National Park, a winter wonderland has emerged, providing ample opportunities for exploration on cross country ski or snowshoes.  The guides at Jackson Hole Ecotour Adventures have been out exploring the park on ski and snowshoe tours, here are some of our favorite spots!

 

  1. Hermitage Point

 

Time: 3-6 hrs.

Distance 1-7 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Cross Country Skiing or Snowshoeing

Snowshoers on a tour with Jackson Hole Ecotour Adventures explore the Hermitage Point Area on a sunny day in Grand Teton National Park

Hermitage Point is at the end of a long peninsula on Jackson Lake, offering stunning views of Mount Moran and the northern Teton Range.  The point is 3.5 miles one way from the parking lot at Colter Bay but opportunities exist for shorter loops to explore Heron and/or Swan Lakes.  We enjoy looking for track and sign from foxes, coyotes, American martin, red pine squirrel, otter, and beavers along the way.

 

  1. Teton Park Road

Time: 1-8 hrs

Distance 1 mile to 25 miles round trip, you choose the distance!

Difficulty Easy – Strenuous

Cross Country Skiing or Snowshoeing

Grand Teton National Parks inner loop road, is closed to vehicles in winter time, but, thanks to a grant from the Grand Teton National Park Foundation, is groomed for some of the most scenic Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing in North America.  From the start of the seasonal road closure at the Bradley/Taggart Trailhead, follow the groomed track of the Teton Park Road as far as Signal Mountain, some 12.5 miles to the North!  Explore this groomed trail for as long or short of a distance as you like, the nordic track and relatively flat gradient makes for perfect beginner skiing.  

 

  1. Jenny Lake
Thick ice on Jenny Lake can allow for fun skate skiing especially in the spring.

Time 4-6 hrs

Distance: 12 miles round trip

Difficulty Moderate – Strenuous

Cross Country Skiing recommended

For those wanting to a longer ski tour to one of Grand Teton National Parks most scenic locations, Jenny Lake is the spot!  In the summer it is one of the parks most popular areas but in winter you just might have it to yourself.  Lake ice can be thin especially in early winter but eventually the lake freezes over with a thick supportable sheet of ice.  Travel at your own risk.  

 

  1. Lucas-Fabian Homestead
Sunrise at the Lucas-Fabian Homestead in Grand Teton National Park.

Time: 4 hours

Distance: 4 miles round trip

Difficulty: Moderate

Cross Country Skiing Recommended, Snowshoeing possible

A shorter option from the Bradley-Taggart Trailhead is a visit to the beautiful Lucas-Fabian Homestead.  Located two miles from the parking lot along the stunning Cottonwood Creek, this homestead could have become a subdivision if not for the work of Harold Fabian, Vice President of the Snake River Land Company.  Throughout the 1920’s, Philanthropist John D Rockefeller JR. used his fortune to purchase homesteads in the Jackson Hole Valley which were later added to Jackson Hole National Monument, which in 1950 was added to Grand Teton National Park.  Read our blog post on the battle to save Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park here.

Video of Lucas Fabian Ski Tour: https://www.facebook.com/jacksonholeecotours/videos/10155252980739103/

 

http://www.jhecotouradventures.com/insights/page/what-is-the-value-of-a-national-monument

 

  1. Granite Canyon

Time: 4 hours

Distance: 1-3 miles  

Difficulty: Easy

Cross Country Skiing, or Snowshoeing

Looking for easy access to Grand Teton National Park from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort?  Check out Granite Canyon and the Moose Wilson Road!  Numerous loop and out and back options exist, we like winding trail to the mouth of Granite Canyon in particular.  Along the trail you will pass through aspen forests, sagebrush meadows, mixed conifer forests, and cross the riparian area along Granite Creek, four of the five plant communities found in Grand Teton National Park.  Look for track and sign from moose and elk, to foxes, coyotes, or even an elusive great gray owl, the largest owl in North America.  Check out JHNordic.com for more options from the Granite Canyon Trailhead.  

 

  1. Moose Wilson Road

Time: 4-6 hours

Distance: 4 miles round trip

Difficulty: Moderate

Cross Country Skiing or Snowshoeing

Closed to motor vehicles in winter, the Moose-Wilson road is an ideal trail for beginner to advanced cross country skiing and snowshoeing.  Start from the south at the Granite Canyon Trailhead or from the North end at the Death Canyon Trailhead.  The snow packed road winds through conifer forest with plenty of options for loops and out and back treks.  We like combining a ski up the road with a loop over to the mouth of Granite Canyon and back to the Trailhead, about 4 miles.

 

  1. Two Ocean Lake

Time: 4-6 hours

Distance: 4 miles round trip

Difficulty: Moderate

Cross Country Skiing or Snowshoeing

This quiet corner of Grand Teton National Park offers opportunities for solitude, you might even be breaking your own trail through the powder snow!  From a pullout on Pacific Creek Road, follow the Two Ocean Lake Road to the lake and views of the Northern Range of the Tetons.  We like looking for tracks and exploring the woods around the lakes on tours.  For a longer adventure, make the ski a loop and visit Emma Matilda Lake on the return trip.  

Snowshoers head toward Two Ocean Lake in northern Grand Teton National Park

 

Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoe Opportunities Abound in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park

These are some of our favorite trips in the Park, many more trip ideas exist from on www.jhnordic.com.  Please let us know if we can help with guiding your next adventure in Grand Teton or Yellowstone National Parks by calling us 307-690-9533 or emailing info@jhecotouradventures.com.  Visit our website and click “Book Here” to see live availability on all of our tours.  We’ll give you 10% off if you use the code “Winter18” at checkout.  

 

Now in their 11th year of operation, Jackson Hole Ecotour Adventures leads wildlife safaris, cross country skiing tours, and snowshoe tours in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks 365 days a year. contact: 307-690-9533 or info@jhecotouradventures.com.

 

Our New JH Nordic Webcam!

Notice something different about our homepage??? THAT’S RIGHT! WE HAVE A WEBCAM!

Our new JH Nordic webcam was successfully installed and went live last week! Located just off the Grand Teton National Park Rd north of the Taggart Bradley Trailhead, this webcam is prefect for being able to check out the conditions of the part before you drive up there. It is located along the Taggart to Jenny Lake and Signal Mountain groomed Nordic Trail.

jh nordic webcam

The webcam is a joint effort by JH Nordic, Grand Teton National Park Foundation, Grand Teton National Park, and See JH. Grand Teton National Park will eventually be adding the webcam to their website for visitors to see in the summer as well.

It’s great to watch whats going on on the trail (i.e. skiers, groomer, walkers, animals) and it’s even better to get the spectacular view of the Grand Teton. Furthermore, you can wave to your friends from Grand Teton National Park!

In addition to the webcam, we were also able to post up several new informational signs with winter information, safety techniques and a winter trail map for that region at the trailhead. This will be a great way to help encourage safety while out in the park and help visitors enjoy the area more thoroughly.

We are grateful to this partnership and the generous support of GTNP, GTNP Foundation, and SeeJH.

Nordic Skiing in the Tetons -Jackson Hole Nordic

Whether you are looking for a mellow tour of Grand Teton National Park, high level racing, or a full blown backcountry Nordic adventure, Jackson Hole has it all. Find out more about the abundant Nordic opportunities in the area at JHNordic.com, get out and explore!

Win the Jackson Hole Nordic Ski Trip of a Lifetime! Sweepstakes

Win a “Nordic Ski Trip of a Lifetime” – a 4 Day, 3 Night Cross-Country ski trip for 2 to Jackson Hole, Wyoming

 

Enter by signing up here by December 11, 2016 to win:

 

4 Day/ 3 Night Cross-Country ski trip for 2 – includes:

GTNP-SkateSki-scott&Liz-1840x700 – Version 2*US domestic airfare to Jackson Hole WY
*3 nights of lodging & breakfast at Spring Creek Ranch
*Dinner at Piste Restaurant – top of the Bridger Gondola at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
*4 days of cross-country ski and boot rentals from Skinny Skis
*1 day of cross-country ski lessons at Teton Pines Nordic Center
*2 days of cross-country ski tours in Grand Teton National Park – by Jackson Hole Mountain Nordic Ski School and Hole Hiking Experience

 

photo: S O'Malley
photo: S O’Malley

The “Jackson Hole Nordic Ski Trip of a Lifetime” will showcase all of the incredible groomed and untracked cross-country trails and ski tours that Teton County and Grand Teton National Park have that makes Jackson Hole a unique, world-class Nordic ski destination. The JH Nordic Alliance and its member organizations and Teton County Parks & Recreation, contribute to groom both classic and skate cross-country trails in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Grand Teton National Park and the town of Jackson. Check out JHNordic.com/trails to discover over 80 trails with GPS maps, elevation profiles, descriptions, snow condition types (groomed, skier-tracked, untracked), difficulty, and more.

 

The winner of “Nordic Ski Trip of a Lifetime” will be chosen by signing up on JHNordic.com. Winner will be announced via email on December 15, 2016. Note that blackout dates apply (see Official Rules below).

Sponsored by The Jackson Hole Nordic Alliance (JHNordic.com), the Jackson Hole-based community sponsored collaborative and online Nordic trails & GPS maps resource, in partnership with the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

Other sponsors include: Spring Creek Ranch, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Nordic Ski School, Hole Hiking Experience, Teton Pines Nordic Center and Skinny Skis.

 

 


Jackson Hole Nordic Ski Trip of a Lifetime – Official Rules Sponsors: JH Nordic Alliance & Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Corporation (“JHMR”) 3155 Teton Pines Drive, Wilson WY 83014 Sweepstakes Entities: JHMR, JHNordic Alliance Prize Providers: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Spring Creek Ranch, Skinny Skis, Hole Hiking Experience, Teton Pines Cross-Country Center. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER THE SWEEPSTAKES. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
For complete Official Rules for the Sweepstakes, go to blog.JHNordic.com
Eligibility:
The Sweepstakes is offered and open to persons who are legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and District of Columbia, who are at least eighteen (18) years of age or the age of majority in the state where they reside, on the date of entry in this Sweepstakes. Employees, officers, directors (including immediate family members and members of the same household) of the Sweepstakes Entity, its parents, affiliated and subsidiary companies, advertising and promotion agencies, legal and financial advisors and any and all other companies and prize providers associated with the Sweepstakes are not eligible to participate in the Sweepstakes.
To Enter:
To enter this Sweepstakes fill out this form below or go to www.blog.JHNordic.com during the Promotion Period, complete the entry form and submit as instructed. Entrants must complete all required fields on the online entry form to be successfully entered in the random drawing.  Incomplete or inaccurate entries are void. One entry per person will be accepted regardless of method of entry. All entries submitted in accordance with these Official Rules shall be referred to hereafter as the “Eligible Entries”.
Promotion Period: The Promotion Period begins November 1, 2016 and goes through December 11, 2016 (the “Promotion Period”).
Prizes:
 One (1) Grand Prize: trip for 2 to Jackson, Wyoming with 3 nights lodging and breakfast at the Spring Creek Ranch, 3 days Nordic skiing, and round-trip airline tickets (must originate from the continental United States ONLY to JACKSON HOLE AIRPORT, (Sponsor is not responsible for any travel costs outside of continental US), cross-country classic or skate skis, boots, poles rentals from Skinny Skis, Nordic ski lesson and 1 day ski pass at Teton Pines Nordic Center, 1 day Nordic ski tour with Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Nordic Ski School, 1 day Nordic ski tour with Hole Hiking Experience in Grand Teton National Park, and 1 JHMR $150 mountain money card valid at Piste Restaurant, top of the Bridger Gondola at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort for the Grand Prize Winner and one guest. Trip must be completed by April 1, 2017. The Grand Prize Winner must book trip by January 30, 2017 or the prize will be void. Approximate Retail Value (”ARV”) of Grand Prize is $4500 U.S.D. If Grand Prize Winner cannot take the trip during dates specified by the Sponsor, the Sponsor shall have no further obligation to the Grand Prize winner. Prizes may not be transferred or redeemed for cash. Sponsor reserves the right to substitute some or all of a Prize for one of equal or greater value. Grand Prize winner is solely responsible for all applicable Federal, State and local taxes on the value of his/her Prize. Certain restrictions and blackout periods apply. Blackout dates for the Grand Prize winner and guest’s stay include December 17, 2016 through January 2, 2017, January 13-16 2017, and February 18th through February 26, 2017. Package must be booked 14 days prior to arrival.
Prize Drawing/Winner Notification/Odds:
Potential Prize Winner will be randomly selected from all Eligible Entries received during the Promotion Period. Odds of winning the prize depends on the number of Eligible Entries received. The prize drawing will be conducted on or about December 15, 2016. Drawing will be conducted by the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole, an independent non-profit community organization whose decisions are final and binding on all matters relating to this Sweepstakes.
By entering the contest online, you will be automatically signed up for one or more of the following email newsletter programs: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, JHNordic Trail Report, Skinny Skis, Hole Hiking Experience, Teton Pines Nordic Center, Spring Creek Ranch. You may opt out at any time after entry by clicking “unsubscribe” at the bottom of any email received.
Release and Indemnity: By entering the Sweepstakes, you hereby release and agree to hold harmless JMHR, JHNordic.com, JHNordic Alliance and Prize Providers from any and all liability for any injuries, loss or damage of any kind to person, including death, and property, arising in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any Prize, participation in this Sweepstakes and participation in any activity related to this Sweepstakes.
Disclaimer of Warranties:
THE SWEEPSTAKES AND PRIZES ARE PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR NON-INFRINGEMENT. THIS PROMOTION IS IN NO WAY SPONSORED, ENDORSED OR ADMINISTERED BY, OR ASSOCIATED WITH, FACEBOOK. BY PARTICIPATING, YOU HEREBY RELEASE AND HOLD HARMLESS FACEBOOK FROM ANY AND ALL LIABILITY ASSOCIATED WITH THIS PROMOTION.
Governing Law and Jurisdiction: This Sweepstakes is governed by and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of Wyoming, U.S.A., without giving effect to the conflict of laws rules thereof, and any claims related to or arising under this Sweepstakes shall take place in the State of Wyoming.
Official Entry Form 
Enter online at JHNordic.com or complete the form above and mail to:
JH Nordic Alliance, 3155 Teton Pines Drive, Wilson WY 83014

Think you know Grand Teton National Park? Discover a Whole New Winter World by Snowshoe

photo: Cathy Shill

Exhilarating and peaceful describe a snowshoe experience. You walk to increase your heart rate while enjoying winter and the solitude of Grand Teton Park.  Journeying into the backcountry away from crowds makes the most of your visit. You get to explore and tour beneath the majestic, granite pinnacles of the Teton Range.

DSC02893
Moose-spotting on snowshoe- off Taggart trail

During the winter  months, fewer visitors come to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and Grand Teton National Park. Nature enters the season of dormancy. You hear your breath in the crisp morning air. You hear everything. You easily put on the snowshoes and walk. You explore. You are free to discover. No trail. It’s just you, the mountains, and wild nature.  Can’t be beat!

With endless options, you can walk in the valley or journey up some hills. It’s a sport that doesn’t require experience. Using poles helps with balance. You just have to dress to be outdoors so warm and dry with a waterproof outer layer and wear good, warm boots.

 

Jackson offers endless options which are low in elevation. Since we have wild nature, you do need to be aware of wildlife and snow conditions. It’s always fun to go with others or a guide to stay safe and learn along the way.

Grans Teton National Park - near Taggart and Cottonwood Creek
Grand Teton National Park – Cottonwood Creek

A guide shares nature so the experience becomes engaging and vibrant. You learn about winter, the animals, their tracks, their survival skills. You connect to the landscape so you enhance your time immersed in nature. You end the journey with a connection to the natural world and new insight. Your heart is happy.