Cokeville, Wyoming To Hatch Campground
August 5, 2021
Note -- this post is about August 3, 2021:
Got a reasonable night’s sleep at the Flying J. After a shave I felt even better. My hair is awfully long now — I’m not sure where I was going with that.
Spent the next 90 minutes updating my blog sitting outside the Cokeville library tied into their wifi.
Which meant that my 830 am departure from Cokeville was later than I meant it to be.
I expected the drive to Jackson to be through a lot of country. It was that but there were little towns that punctuated the drive. One that stands out is Afton. Neat town of 2,000 people with a golf course south of town. I walked it’s Main Street snd popped into a gift store to buy a sticker. The salesperson said the real estate is hot, that people are selling their homes, moving into a mobile home planning to rebuy when the prices tumble. I can see that happening. She said winters are tough with snow and cold but that she and her husband snowmobile for recreation in the winter.
Afton is located in the Star Valley:
Star Valley is located in the United States between the Salt River Range in western Wyoming and the Webster Range of eastern Idaho. The altitude of the valley ranges from 5,600 feet (1,700 m) to 7,000 feet (2,100 m). Three major Wyoming rivers, the Salt River, the Greys River and the Snake River meet near Alpine Junction at Palisades Reservoir. Numerous towns are located in the valley, including Afton, Thayne, Bedford, Etna, Smoot, Fairview, Osmond, Freedom, Grover, Auburn, Alpine, Nordic, Turnerville and Star Valley Ranch. Star Valley was settled in the late 1870s by Mormon pioneers. Primary sources indicate Star Valley was proclaimed the "Star of All Valleys" for its natural beauty by a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The name was later shortened to Star Valley. Another less supported theory about the origin of the name comes from Starvation (Starve) Valley, a name the area gained during bitter winters in the late 1880s.
Star Valley was inhabited mainly by Shoshone Indians in the summer and fall months until the early 19th century. The natives were drawn to the valley for its abundant game and the pure salt deposits found near the present town of Auburn and also to the south of Afton, Wyoming there are more renowned salt deposits.
American explorers are known to have traveled through the area as early as 1812, seeking new routes to the West Coast. Canadian and American trappers followed, frequenting the area through the 1840s. The 1850s and 1860s saw many emigrants passing through the upper Star Valley area via the Lander Road on the Oregon Trail. White settlement of the area did not begin in earnest, though, until the late 1870s when LDS Apostles Moses Thatcher and Brigham Young, Jr. chose the valley for colonization. Archibald Gardner and members of his extended family arrived in 1889, building and operating five mills of various types in the valley.
On October 1, 2011, Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), announced in General Conference that the Star Valley Wyoming Temple would be built in the valley. The location of which was announced on May 25, 2012, to be just east of U.S. Highway 89 on Haderlie Farm property just south of Afton. The temple was completed and dedicated on October 30, 2016 by LDS Apostle David A. Bednar.
It was about at this point in my drive that the wildfire smoke really became visible. My eyes started to water and the mountains looked hazy.
By the time I got to Phoenix … I mean Jackson .. the smoke was very noticeable.
Jackson is a neat place not unlike Aspen, Mammoth, Telluride. A bit overrun with tourists like me. Two hours there was enough — would like to visit during the off-season — if there is one.
Jackson is a town in the Jackson Hole valley of Teton County, Wyoming, United States. The population was 9,577 at the 2010 census, up from 8,647 in 2000. It is the largest town in Teton County and its county seat. Jackson is the principal town of the Jackson, WY-ID Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Teton County in Wyoming and Teton County in Idaho. The town, often mistakenly called Jackson Hole, derives its name from the valley in which it is located. Jackson is a popular tourist destination due to its proximity to the ski resorts Jackson Hole Mountain, Snow King Mountain, and Grand Targhee, as well as Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park.
As of the 2010 Census, the main industries which provide employment are: arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food services (32.2%), construction (8.7%), retail trade (12.4%), educational services, health care and social assistance (11.9%), and professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services (11.8%).
A strong local economy, primarily due to tourism, has allowed Jackson to develop a large shopping and eating district characterized by a large number of art galleries, custom jewelers, and designer clothing retailers centered on the town square.
Points of interest
Grand Teton National Park: A national park that includes the Teton Mountain Range, roughly 310,000 acres. The park brings in more than two million recreational tourists each year. The Grand Teton National Park is roughly 5 miles away from Jackson.
Yellowstone National Park: Yellowstone extends through Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. This park was the first national park in the country, and brings in roughly four million visitors each year. This park is less than 60 miles away from Jackson.
National Elk Refuge: The refuge was created to shelter one of the largest elk herds in the country and borders the town of Jackson. Throughout the winter visitors can go on horse-drawn sleigh rides to view the herd.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort: The resort opened in 1966, 12 miles north of Jackson. It has abundant steep terrain and has one of the highest vertical drops in North America, at 4,139 feet (1,262 m).
Snow King Mountain Resort: The first ski resort in Jackson and is significantly cheaper than Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Even though Snow King is cheaper it is still quite a challenging hill. This resort is located on the Southeast edge of town. 400+ acres of skiable terrain with 3 chairlifts and a high speed summit gondola
Grand Targhee Resort: About an hour away, 42 miles, on the west side of the Teton Range in Alta, opened in 1969, it is accessed through Idaho over Teton Pass.
National Museum of Wildlife Art: Overlooking the National Elk Refuge is the National Museum of Wildlife Art which shows and preserves many wildlife artworks. Along with pieces inside of the museum, there is a ¾ mile trail with many sculptures along it.
Grand Teton Music Festival: This is a seven-week classical music festival held every summer in the town of Jackson.
Center for the Arts: The center was founded in 1991 to help support an artist culture within the town. Construction of the facility was completed in 2007.
Elkfest: The annual Jackson Hole Elk Antler Auction occurs each spring. At this event, members of the Boy Scouts of America help sell all the antlers collected on the nearby National Elk Refuge. Profits go to help the local Boy Scouts and the refuge.
Jackson Hole was originally populated by Native American tribes including the Shoshoni, Crow, Blackfeet, Bannock, and Gros Ventre. In the early 1800s, the locality became a prime area for trappers and mountain men to travel through, one example being John Colter. After being discharged from the Corps of Discovery of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1806 at Fort Mandan, in present-day North Dakota, Colter visited Jackson Hole during the winter of 1807/1808. Among other mountain men who visited the valley include Jim Bridger, Jedediah Smith, and William Sublette, who are responsible for many of the names in the area. David Edward Jackson gave his name to the valley after a winter spent on the shores of Jackson Lake.
As part of the Hayden Expedition of 1871 and 1872, William Henry Jackson took the first photographs of the Teton Mountains and Yellowstone. His photographs, along with the sketches by Tom Moran, were important evidence to convince Congress to protect Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone National Park became the first National Park in 1872. Grand Teton National Park was created in 1929 and greatly expanded in 1950 through the generous efforts of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who purchased and then donated over 30,000 acres.
The Town of Jackson was named in 1894. Some of the early buildings remain and can be found throughout the area of the Town Square. The Town of Jackson elected the first all-woman city government (including town council and mayor, who in turn appointed women to town marshal, town clerk and treasurer) in 1920.
The first ski rope tow was built at Teton Pass in 1937 and Snow King Resort was established in 1930. Teton County now has three excellent ski areas including Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Teton Village, Grand Targhee Ski and Summer Resort located on the West slope of the Tetons, and Snow King Resort.
The Town of Jackson is the county seat of Teton County and the only incorporated municipality in the region. Less than 3% of land in Teton County is privately owned. 97% of the 2,697,000 acres in Teton County are federally or state owned/managed.
In 2009, the Town of Jackson was designated as a Preserve America Community. This designation recognizes that, as a community, the town protects and celebrates its heritage, uses historic assets for economic development and encourages people to experience and appreciate local historic resources.
In September 2016, the town went viral from an ongoing live stream on YouTube consisting of various views of the town, especially a webcam angled on the town square. Notable interests were the abundance of red trucks in the streets and a sheriff performing the dab in front of the live webcam. To date, the webcam is still operational.
Jackson is located at 43°28′31″N 110°46′9″W (43.475, −110.769), at an elevation of 6,237 feet (1,901 m) above sea level. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.95 square miles (7.64 km2), of which 2.91 square miles (7.54 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) is water.
Jackson is surrounded by the Teton and Gros Ventre mountain ranges. The Teton Range is commonly associated with Jackson Hole and is a popular sightseeing attraction for many visitors. The Gros Ventre Range, by contrast, is geologically older than the Tetons and has a much broader width, which encompasses huge expanses of wilderness and is not as easily accessible.
Soils at Jackson Hole are mostly dark, excessively drained, moderately alkaline gravelly loam of the Greyback series.
Flat Creek, a tributary of the Snake River, runs through the town.
Grand Teton National Park was crowded as well. I drove through. The smoke really impacted the beauty of the mountains — I was glad I saw them in their full glory 30 years ago.
About Grand Teton from Wikipedia:
Grand Teton National Park is an American national park in northwestern Wyoming. At approximately 310,000 acres (480 sq mi; 130,000 ha; 1,300 km2), the park includes the major peaks of the 40-mile-long (64 km) Teton Range as well as most of the northern sections of the valley known as Jackson Hole. Grand Teton National Park is only 10 miles (16 km) south of Yellowstone National Park, to which it is connected by the National Park Service–managed John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway. Along with surrounding national forests, these three protected areas constitute the almost 18,000,000-acre (7,300,000 ha) Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, one of the world's largest intact mid-latitude temperate ecosystems.
The human history of the Grand Teton region dates back at least 11,000 years, when the first nomadic hunter-gatherer Paleo-Indians began migrating into the region during warmer months pursuing food and supplies. In the early 19th century, the first white explorers encountered the eastern Shoshone natives. Between 1810 and 1840, the region attracted fur trading companies that vied for control of the lucrative beaver pelt trade. U.S. Government expeditions to the region commenced in the mid-19th century as an offshoot of exploration in Yellowstone, with the first permanent white settlers in Jackson Hole arriving in the 1880s.
Efforts to preserve the region as a national park began in the late 19th century, and in 1929 Grand Teton National Park was established, protecting the Teton Range's major peaks. The valley of Jackson Hole remained in private ownership until the 1930s, when conservationists led by John D. Rockefeller Jr. began purchasing land in Jackson Hole to be added to the existing national park. Against public opinion and with repeated Congressional efforts to repeal the measures, much of Jackson Hole was set aside for protection as Jackson Hole National Monument in 1943. The monument was abolished in 1950 and most of the monument land was added to Grand Teton National Park.
Grand Teton National Park is named for Grand Teton, the tallest mountain in the Teton Range. The naming of the mountains is attributed to early 19th-century French-speaking trappers—les trois tétons (the three teats) was later anglicized and shortened to Tetons. At 13,775 feet (4,199 m), Grand Teton abruptly rises more than 7,000 feet (2,100 m) above Jackson Hole, almost 850 feet (260 m) higher than Mount Owen, the second-highest summit in the range. The park has numerous lakes, including 15-mile-long (24 km) Jackson Lake as well as streams of varying length and the upper main stem of the Snake River. Though in a state of recession, a dozen small glaciers persist at the higher elevations near the highest peaks in the range. Some of the rocks in the park are the oldest found in any American national park and have been dated at nearly 2.7 billion years.
Grand Teton National Park is an almost pristine ecosystem and the same species of flora and fauna that have existed since prehistoric times can still be found there. More than 1,000 species of vascular plants, dozens of species of mammals, 300 species of birds, more than a dozen fish species and a few species of reptiles and amphibians inhabit the park. Due to various changes in the ecosystem, some of them human-induced, efforts have been made to provide enhanced protection to some species of native fish and the increasingly threatened whitebark pine.
Grand Teton National Park is a popular destination for mountaineering, hiking, fishing and other forms of recreation. There are more than 1,000 drive-in campsites and over 200 miles (320 km) of hiking trails that provide access to backcountry camping areas. Noted for world-renowned trout fishing, the park is one of the few places to catch Snake River fine-spotted cutthroat trout. Grand Teton has several National Park Service–run visitor centers, and privately operated concessions for motels, lodges, gas stations and marinas.
I overheard that Yellowstone was a zoo. It is such an incredible place I decided to forego even a drive through. So at tge fork in the road, I went toward DuBois.
I was worried about finding a place for the night but came across this NFS campground and at 8 pm am relishing the coolness of the evening coming in.
The folks next to me are from Montana. We’ve talked about the best times to visit (early June or mid September). The wife brought me a plate of chicken, rice and vegetables. I tasted so good. I tried to thank them with a bottle if Gentleman Jack but they don’t drink. I gotta find a better thank you idea!!
I am actually clueless where exactly I am as I have poor cell service. I’m either driving east through Wyoming or Montana.
Slideshow. Tunes by DMB in honor of my phenomenal physical therapist and friend Jodie who is both from Wyoming and a HUGE DMB fan.
After dinner photos: