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Archive for category Fly Fishing The Tetons
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!
THOUGHTS DRIFT FROM FISHING LINES TO POWDER LINES THERE’S SNOW IN THE TETON MOUNTAINS!
O.K. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Yes it’s true that we’re having the second official snowfall of the season. Just last week the mountains, at least the peaks, were blanketed in the white stuff we so covet. Same thing is happening this week, but now we see the snow line drop closer and closer to the valley floor. It’s enough to really get the ski and snowboard juices flowing!
But hey, not so fast! Given the moisture we’ve enjoyed this month, the golf courses are green and lush, probably in the best shape of the season frankly. I played the Headwaters Golf Course at Teton Springs Resort this week.
Stay and Play Golf Packages
It was later in the day when there wasn’t a whisper of wind and the late September light was breathtaking on the course and the surrounding mountains. Gosh, it’s tough to beat the fall season for the cool, crisp days and the way the air and sun caress your face. Teton Springs Lodge & Spa offers a “Stay & Play” Golf Package and it’s circling back for a repeat performance beginning October 1. This gives everyone who loves the game a chance to play this remarkable course while lapping up the luxury a room in the lodge so graciously provides.
That’s the beauty of Teton Valley. We know warm days will be back so let the snow pile high on the mountains while we sneak in the last month or so of doing all the pre winter things we love. There’s fewer and fewer drift boats flying by on the highway for sure, but guaranteed there’s still plenty of browns and rainbows to net on the local rivers. The solitude that comes with dropping a line in the Teton River or South Fork is reason enough to fly fish this time of year. You practically have the best open water and riffles all to yourself.
Biking Around the Most Beautiful Scenery
Biking is another terrific way to breeze thru autumn in Teton Valley. Guests at Teton Springs Lodge & Spa head over to Fitzgerald’s in downtown Victor for a fabulous cup of java (some say the best coffee in town!), rent the cool road or mountain bike and head out to any number of Teton Valley destinations. The staff at Fitzgerald’s are the local experts and work hard to make every cycling experience your best. A hotel group just did the “Rails to Trails” tour from Tetonia to Ashton, with the help of Fitzgerald’s crew and came back with amazing tales. This is a gorgeous trek over old railroad bridges and restored rail trestles thru Teton and Freemont County’s most spectacular countryside. Kudos to Idaho Parks & Rec for this one. Can you imagine this same ride now that the leaves are changing colors?!
Grant Teton Brewing – The 208
One thing this bike group packed plenty of for their two day trek to Ashton (why rush?!) was the latest and greatest signature brew produced right here in Teton Valley at Grand Teton Brewing. It’s aptly called “208,” which of course is Idaho’s area code. Wish I could take credit for that marketing genius; it’s easy to remember the name of this “born and raised in Idaho” session ale (as their promotion goes), but this brew is also memorable for its crisp taste which is extremely pleasing to the palate. This beer is definitely 100% pure, just like the state that gave it birth.
The Stillwaters Spa & Salon at Teton Springs continues to tempt us with special “shoulder season” offers. They’ll extend your massage from 60 to 90 minutes while also decreasing the price. They’re also highlighting lots of great new products so time for a bit of indulgence.
And while you’re scooping up the off-season specials, be sure to buy that ski pass at the pre-season deals. Dreams at a discount. That’s what you get this time of year. Gosh, I love Fall!
Music on Main, Mulligan Mondays, the "Targhee Fest" and Salmon Flies on the South Fork – It’s all music to our ears!
It appears summer has arrived with vengeance in our corner of the Northern Rockies. It’s not often we see the mercy climb to 90 plus degrees in Teton Valley at anytime during the summer, but to have the temps skyrocket like they have this June and early July is just crazy. This unseasonably warm weather has also tricked the salmon flies into showing up to the local river parties early. These bugs now fly with abandonment on the South Fork and the lower Teton, a few weeks ahead of schedule I may add. This anomaly doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings, especially yours truly. Check out the fishing packages; this is one fishing vacation that practically comes with a guarantee.
Weather continually holds the top spot on the daily newscasts. There are monumental storms or weather events somewhere almost every day it seems. I just returned from a family vacation on the New Jersey shore and the devastation I witnessed from Hurricane Sandy was no media hype. My sister has a house on a lagoon in Beach Haven West. Her house was salvaged, but barely, and the rebuild completed in time for our annual family reunion. Others on her block not so fortunate. Of the 20 houses on her street alone, life was evident in only two residents. We watched as her neighbor’s homes were leveled right before our eyes as we sipped morning coffee. It’s an eerie sight in this shore town and others along the coast. I realized I suddenly missed the sound of dogs barking because there wasn’t any. As I walked the neighborhood I was struck by how devastation still clings to the streets. Everywhere you looked people’s dreams kicked to the curb like discarded trash; a piano, children’s toys,
boats resting in living rooms, silverware, hot tubs perched on cars, crumbled docks now serving as grotesque lawn ornaments.
So Many Things to Do in the Teton Valley
Flying home via Jackson Hole I counted my blessings. Everything was still intact. You could hear the visitors ooh and aah as the Tetons came into full view. I smiled knowing that everyone that visits Yellowstone-Teton country this time of year will have life-altering experiences as they explore all that nature provides from dawn to dusk. The folks at Teton Springs Lodge & Spa guarantee it. They’re experts at personalizing an itinerary that suits every guest.
Targhee Fest – The Headwaters Club
THEN THERE’S THE MUSIC…After a day of filling your cutthroat and brown trout limits on the South Fork, it’s time to check out "Music on Main" at the Victor City Park. It’s so close you can practically walk to the park from Teton Springs. Every Thursday starting at 6:00 p.m. thru August 8th, the level of highly talented bands taking center stage in this intimate venue is staggering. Bring a blanket and the kids; it’s the perfect family scene and it’s free! Another terrific night of music can be found at Teton Springs as the Headwaters Club hosts "Mulligan Monday’s" every Monday evening thru September. Starting at 5:00 p.m. the resort has booked some of the best entertainment in the region and the view is staggering from the resort’s event site, Caddis Lake Overlook. Food and beverage specials round out this terrific night of tunes and drop-dead scenery. After the concert, head to the Headwaters Grille to
sample Chef Jordan’s cuisine featuring locally grown ingredients.
Teton Springs Lodge & Spa’s winter promotion partner Grand Targhee is next up on the music scene with the "Targhee Fest" quickly approaching. Slated for July 19-21 and followed up with the 26th Annual Bluegrass Festival August 9-11, the Targhee festivals are legendary and the vibe unmistakingly cool and unpretentious.
Pamper Yourself and Stay in a Luxury Mountain Log Home
There are more than a few of Teton Springs guests who wouldn’t think of missing these events. The resort’s luxury mountain log homes undoubtedly provide the perfect accommodations for a family or group of friends after a day of fun and sun at these music extravaganzas. It’s the perfect blend of sunny attitudes and soaring altitudes in Teton Valley’s music scene these days.
THESE LITTLE PIGGGIES WENT TO THE SPA…What a delightful experience having a manicure and/or pedicure at the Stillwaters Spa & Salon, especially given the recent makeover in the salon. The spa is also offering a luscious hydraquench at a special rate now through the end of July. Speaking from personal experience, this particular treatment should come with a warning; it is indeed habit forming.
Golf, swimming, fly fishing, music, exploring, hiking, biking, ballooning, eating, pampering – and the list goes on. Whew. You better get going; Call Teton Springs now and indulge all of your senses.