The die hard strap their gear to office-weary backs and hike up crevices in the foot-high slop to slip slide down, just to say they were the season’s first.
But it melted quickly, creeping back up the mountains, and remains in hiding for weeks.
Hunters, blindly blaming their poor harvest on the wolves that don’t exist here, come back empty handed, heads shaking. Without the snows, the elk are content to find safety and sustenance in their summer pastures high up in the Winds; they haven’t been frequenting their normal fall rutting grounds. The dry, warm air is taking its toll on all kinds of winter enthusiasts who had high hopes for La Nina again this year…
There’s no away to hide the dramatic backdrop that struts jaggedly behind the row of modest homesteads on Mormon Row. The Tetons are hulking and intimidating in their firm embrace of this open country, and the old barns and homes seem to hug to the shadows in an attempt to ward off the notorious Wyoming winters.
It’s quiet now, except for the bustle of photographers that come just as the sun rises or as the storms sets in. The images of these historic sites are so ubiquitous that we all fight tooth and nail for the one photograph no one has ever managed to capture, the piece that will pull us out of the pack.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, there were 27 homesteads here, complete with barns, drainage systems, barns and corrals, a tight-knit community called Grovont.
The Moulton barns are the most popular, built by John and TA Moulton on today’s Antelope Flats Road, just north of Jackson.
They lived and farmed here as late as the 1950s, and water still flows in some of their irrigation ditches.
The entire district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. Jonmikel and I have lived in the area for years and go to Jackson many times a year, and this summer was the first time we wandered down into Antelope Flats. Not sure why it took us so long to see one of the most recognizable cultural sites in North America.
With several feet of snow on the ground inside Grand Teton National Park, it’s hard to imagine that spring will ever be here.
Plowing the drifts from the roads in the park is no small feat, even for the monstrous plows prowling between the pines at the base of the mountains.
In the month of April, when they start plowing the snow from the streets but have not yet opened them to motorized traffic, bicyclists, hikers, bladers and others can meander down the roads without the fear that some tourist or over-exuberant concessionaire employee will drift into them while gazing at bison or while illegally passing someone who is gazing at bison.
As we set out on our bikes and headed away from the bustling parking lot that served bicyclists, hikers, snowshoers and hikers alike, the park became amazingly silent, no car noise, no chattering tourists, no din from airplanes overhead (which happens rarely in Grand Teton), and we felt almost completely alone.
Two travelers and their bikes on a journey from civilization to wilderness.
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