This Wildlife Safari is All About The Animals

Posted by admin in Fly Fishing The Tetons, Golf Packages on May 28th, 2014 9:36 am

I was excited when invited along with staff at Teton Springs Lodge & Spa to take a Wildlife Safari with Brushbuck Guide Services. This Jackson Hole based company has been guiding our guests through Teton National Park and Yellowstone for years, and always to rave reviews. It’s not difficult to understand why our guests, from both this country and those from across the pond, are fanatical about seeing wildlife in their natural habitat. It’s a thrill and not something most folks have easy access to in their own backyard. However, it’s easy to get a tad snobby about wildlife viewing when you live and play in Teton Valley. It’s practically a national past time here, and boy, do we love our critters. The thrill of seeing beautiful creatures stirs something in our imagination like nothing else can.

Teton Springs Resort sits adjacent to the Caribou-Targhee National Forest and the furry forest inhabitants tend to drift onto our Headwaters Golf Course with some regularity. It’s not at all unusual to be teeing off on the 9th hole and have to hold up play while the resident moose strolls through. It’s a delay of game no one ever complains about. Both Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles are also playing companions, and I never tire of watching them perched on one of the cabins lining the golf course, or soaking up the sun on a fairway rock.

So our guests have their own version of a wildlife safari right here at Teton Springs. However, to almost guarantee you’ll get to see abundant wildlife in the most staggering of settings, the Brushbuck Wildlife Safari is highly recommended. With the Teton Mountains as your backdrop on this particular tour, you’ll often find yourself mesmerized by the peaks when you should be looking for moose, bear and wolves. The largest Peak, the Grand Teton, reaches into the sky over a mile high and you’re in its shadow for this entire excursion.

Yes, there are plenty of ooh’s and ahh’s on this tour bus starting with your first step into Brushbuck’s van. It’s deluxe, comfortable, well equipped with spotting scopes, binoculars, raingear and a terrific variety of snacks and drinks. And, the van is definitely custom built for wildlife viewing with its expanse of windows and easy on and off access when it’s time to hop off to check out the animals.

Two Naturalists, Duane & Patrick, were our Brushbuck hosts and what extraordinary wildlife guides they are. Both were gracious, accommodating and boy did they ever know their stuff. While capturing wildlife in their natural surroundings is the top priority on this trip, you’re also treated to an extensive lesson on the entire Yellowstone-Teton ecosystem. They enrich the tour by giving us a history of the area, its rich western culture filled with trappers, explorers and early Mormon settlers, the geology, every bird, bug and mammal that coexists here, what they eat, and how they survive this challenging winter climate. It’s all on the information menu
provided by the guides. Each question asked by a one of our group was answered eloquently by either Duane or Patrick; you simply couldn’t stump these guys. My head was spinning, in a good way.

 

The tour starts on Spring Gulch, a back road I’ve travelled a thousand times, a turn one makes right before you hit the main drag and hustle and bustle of Jackson Hole Wyoming. The van stopped quickly and our guides swiftly went into operation wildlife viewing mode, quickly pulling out powerful spotting scopes that made the animals come to life right before our eyes. On the hillside were the biggest elk I have ever seen, with racks swaddled in velvet. Guess I simply never looked up before when driving this back way to the Jackson Hole Airport and other off-the-beaten-path Wyoming destinations.

Next stop was the Gros Ventre River which flows into the mighty Snake River. We were looking for a bear feeding on a carcass that was spotted earlier that week by our guides. The bear had apparently moved on to greener pastures but the most spectacular Bald Eagle accommodated us with his presence on the river bank. He even hung around for pictures.

We drove deeper into the main attraction, Grand Teton National Park, home to a whopping 61 specifies of mammals, big and small. We watched a herd of buffalo make their way across the sage brush, a huge Pronghorn Antelope standing majestically on the horizon, more elk, white tailed deer, mule deer and a fox taking his leisure early evening stroll. We made a stop to check out a massive beaver lodge and one its inhabitants even popped out to say hello.

As dusk was settling in, I was afraid I wouldn’t fulfill my top priority of the trip, and that was seeing a grizzly bear up close and personal. The later it got, I was resigned and not a bit disappointed; it has been a glorious tour. As we drove along the Jenny and Jackson Lake Loop Road, multiple cars were stopped and that only means one thing in this area, WILDLIFE ALERT! Sure enough, a bear cub was in a tree a few hundred yards away and with our spotting scopes we were able to watch as the cub figured out how to safely reach ground. It was exciting, and a tad daunting, knowing mom was close by. It was also a tad eerie as the sound of the cub crying ferociously was the only sound filling the night sky.

We left without seeing momma bear but Duane and Patrick were not about to give up quite yet; we simply loaded up and parked about an eighth of a mile up the road. We were barely out of the van and mom showed her face. With the spotting scope drawing her in, the sight of her gave goose bumps to everyone on our tour. She was huge, fabulous, gorgeous and wild, and within minutes, she was out of our sight and as it turns out, too close for comfort. In an instant, there was a look on our guides’ faces that said, "back in the van now," which we all gladly complied with. This grizzly mom was virtually within steps of us, apparently curious about us too. It was the highlight of the trip and now almost dark. I didn’t get to see my most favorite mammal, the moose, but it was time to call it a day.

As Duane & Patrick dropped me off, I told them I’d be back with friends and family. I think next time I’ll take the early morning tour that Brushbuck offers, when the light is truly magnificent and the animals are just beginning to stir. I drove slowly over Teton Pass on my way home to Victor, knowing that deer and elk also travel this road at night, and lo and behold, near the top of the pass a monster Bull Moose was casually strolling in the drainage ditch. I swear he returned my gaze as I crept by ever so slowly.

Ah, my checklist was complete; it was truly a great day – thanks Brushbuck!

Call Guest Services at Teton Springs Lodge & Spa, BY NATURAL RETREATS, to book your next vacation and don’t forget to schedule your wildlife tour, fly fishing expedition and more!

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Make This Mother’s Day Something Extra Special for the Woman in Your Life

Posted by admin in General on May 6th, 2014 10:39 am

May has always been my favorite month in Teton Valley. Green replaces white as our most prominent color, on the valley floor at least. It’s a welcomed transition from the glorious winter season, when daily activities are often dictated by the early morning powder alert. The month of May signals a fresh beginning, a time to dust off the mountain bike and begin to obsessively monitor yet another report, but this one is all about the fishing. However, hardcore skiers and boarders can still indulge their passion for sliding downhill by earning their turns with a simple hike up Teton Pass, or anywhere for that matter in the Tetons this season. Regardless of how addicted one is to the legendary powder plentiful in these parts November thru April, there’s nothing more satisfying than carving a big arc turn thru corn snow, with a texture as smooth and delicious as Idaho’s most famous mashed potatoes.

May is also extremely noteworthy for another reason. It’s a time to celebrate the women in our lives. While Mother’s Day is officially recognized but one day a year, hopefully this tribute to our moms, grand moms, wives, sisters, girlfriends, aunts, nieces, virtually anyone you share a maternal bond with, will linger long past one simple day designated on the calendar. Some cynics blame the greeting card giant Hallmark for creating this day of appreciation for those special women in our lives. It would have been a brilliant marketing move if they had, but they really can’t take the credit. This day in May has been around in some shape or form since the early 20th century, and while it has become decidedly more commercial, the relevance still shines through. Or it should.

Visit the Spa & Salon, Fly-fishing, the Range Dining and More

The folks at Teton Springs Lodge & Spa, now a member of the Natural Retreats Family, have the perfect solution on how to step out of the box and make this Mother’s Day extra special, and why not a Mother’s Weekend?!

While flowers are sweet, and breakfast in bed a luxury, imagine your special someone’s surprise and utter delight in waking up in a deluxe lodge room at Teton Springs. Start the celebration on Friday with a scrumptious dinner in the Range, Teton Valley’s latest and greatest restaurant nestled in the village at Teton Springs Resort with nationally celebrated Chef Rick Sordahl leading a highly touted culinary team.

Saturday choices could include a day of fly fishing on the legendary South Fork of the Snake with Teton Springs partner South fork Lodge Outfitters. These expert guides almost guarantee you’ll catch fish and they relish the chance to teach beginners. Talk about the gift for mom that keeps on giving and giving and giving…

Or, a visit to the Stillwaters Spa & Salon; they’ll celebrate moms the entire month of May with special promotions. As good as a back rub from our sweetie feels, nothing can compete with the hands of a professional and this staff is top notch.

Scrumptious Mothers Day Brunch and Get-away Packages

Mother’s Day begins with a short walk back to the Range for a scrumptious Mother’s Day brunch from 10:30 to 2:30 followed by a round of golf on the award-winning Headwaters Course. These masterfully designed links, created by the master himself, Byron Nelson, makes its 2014 debut on May 9. And, it’s worth noting, the Headwaters Golf Club celebrates its tenth anniversary this summer, and this facility has definitely gotten better with age, with its large smooth greens & mature trees guarding the fairways. One thing that hasn’t changed, the spectacular Teton & Big Hole Mountain views afforded the players in all directions. There’s a “Swing Into Spring” package that’s makes this Mother’s Day plan sweeter than any box of bob-bons, and given the occasion, definitely go for the one bedroom suite upgrade. The luxury of this upgrade is a real value and will set you
back less than a dozen roses would and the memories will linger long after the pedals fall from the vine.  (In fact, I’m confident the nice folks at Teton Springs Lodge will give Mom a complimentary one bedroom suite upgrade if you mention that you read it in this blog post).

The Most Beautiful Nature Drives and Hikes

If golf isn’t your thing, but a short road trip brimming with spectacular scenery and viewing wildlife is, take to the parks. Grand Teton, with its jaw-dropping saw-toothed peaks, and Yellowstone, our nation’s oldest and most revered national park, are but a short drive from Teton Springs. With few cars on the road this early in the parks season, it’s the optimum time to visit our national treasures. There are few cars on the road, and, it’s only fitting on this Mother’s Day weekend that you’ll be treated to rare glimpses of baby buffalo, moose, deer and elk, unveiling themselves to the viewing public.

Hats off to Moms everywhere! The folks at Teton Springs Lodge & Spa look forward to making this Mother’s Day and entire summer memorable for all the special women in our lives.

 

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Teton Springs Lodge – Ready for Prime Time

Posted by admin in General on April 21st, 2014 2:57 pm

Teton Springs Lodge & Spa Ready for Prime Time with Natural Retreats!

We didn’t necessarily need U.S. News & World Report to tell the world that Teton Springs Lodge & Spa was the “Best Hotel in Idaho,” but that’s what they recently did, for the third straight year I may add. Visitors to this charming Teton Valley property have been making that claim practically from day one, when this boutique hotel made its grand debut back in December, 2007. And, it’s not just the brick and mortar and classy facilities that Teton Springs has been recognized for – TripAdvisor, the world’s giant travel site had also recognized this lodge with its coveted “Certificate of Excellence” award for its customer service, on multiple occasions, based on guest reviews. I believe this speaks volumes on how one can be expected to be treated from the moment they step into this hotel’s lobby.

With this repeat recognition for a job well done, the tendency could be, if you’re not careful, is to sit back, take it all in, bask in the glow of the accolades, and maybe even relax a tad. I haven’t seen one iota of this occurring. In fact, the awards seem to have provoked a common cause among the troops at Teton Springs, a esprit de corps if you will, to keep this momentum going. I also get the sense that it’s really not about the awards for the individuals who steer this ship. The culture at Teton Springs is inherently obvious to an outsider from the onset; these guys want each and every guest to have the time of their lives in this spectacular Yellowstone-Teton region. They take it personally. There’s the carrot.

Teton Springs Lodge and Natural Retreats

So, just when you think Teton Springs will roll along and do what they do best, something big comes along to brighten the horizon even more! NATURAL RETREATS, a luxury travel company with property holdings both domestically and internationally, has recently signed an operating and real estate agreement with Teton Springs Lodge & Spa. Natural Retreats vacation rentals will not be found in the hub of urban jungles, but rather sit nestled in the most stunning locations on the planet. Now they’ve added the jewel that is Teton Springs Lodge & Spa to their arsenal of magical retreats – places of great beauty, solitude, relaxation, discovery and adventure.

Their commitment to guest service is evident by their personal concierge service and inherent company philosophy. “A cornerstone to this Teton Springs opportunity is our shared absolute commitment to unparalleled guest service,” said Matthew Spence, CEO of Natural Retreats.

Beautiful Cabins Along Side the Golf Course and Mountains

View our Virtual TourIt appears everything is about the service for this group; experts in their real estate division have assisted charmed vacationers find their own slice of paradise with the perfect second-home in one of their enviable locations around the world. In the Teton Springs Resort Community, the elegant custom designed three, four & five bedroom luxury mountain log homes fit the profile perfectly for their Handpicked vacation home rental & purchase program.

Teton Springs fits hand in glove with the branding platform of Natural Retreats which focuses on operating properties with break taking coastal vistas, charming and intimate countryside sanctuaries and wilderness locations, all magnets for vacationing families, fly fishermen, destination wedding parties and corporate gathering.

Fly-Fishing on the South Fork of the Snake

Avid fly fishermen who fish Idaho’s acclaimed South Fork of the Snake River will perhaps be familiar with Natural Retreats, as they own the South Fork Lodge in Swan Valley, just 30 minutes down the road from Teton Springs Lodge & Spa. The South Fork is renowned worldwide for its dry fly fishing. All of us who fish the coveted South Fork have often floated by the South Fork Lodge and have admired it for its rustic, but elegant, architecture and of course, location, location, location.

Guests enjoying dinner in their Riverside Bar & Grille (I’ve had the pleasure, its delicious!) or sipping a cocktail on the patio swapping fish tales, will agree this is one special place. Our new relationship with the South Fork Lodge also means Teton Springs guests will take to the South Fork’s big water with the region’s most experienced guides behind the oars. This river is teeming with rainbows, browns and cutbows and South Fork Lodge guides boast private access to 65 miles of the South Fork, a river often talked about in hushed tones.

Need to learn the art of fly fishing, or simply perfect that rusty casting technique – we can handle that at Teton Springs on one of the many private stocked ponds & lakes that dot the property.

Joining the Natural Retreats family will undoubtedly have huge ramifications for the Lodge & Spa, as well as for the sleepy town of Victor, Idaho, as the world stage beckons. Known globally for producing the tastiest spuds in the world, Idaho is so much more that an oversized baked potato or plate of yummy tator tots. This Yellowstone-Teton region is one of the most breathtaking places on earth, with recreation opportunities to match.

Yes, while it’s certainly humbling and enormously gratifying to be called the “best,” it’s even more gratifying to strive to be greater. Think we just inched closer to that with Natural Retreats in our corner. We’re ready for our debut.

A warm welcome to Natural Retreats…

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