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Jackson Hole is a small American town by numbers, but not in spirit. The population is around 10,000 yet the main appeal of the city is its proximity to national parks and prime skiing locations in winter. In summer, tourists from all over the world come to Jackson Hole to visit Grand Teton National Park and nearby Yellowstone, which is a short hours drive away. The city is well equipped to handle the huge crowds, and infrastructure in the area is excellent. Hundreds of hotels and restaurants in a very condensed space. If you come here, be prepared to spend a lot of money as it's a very expensive area. But also be prepared to be amazed by the stunning mountain scenery and landscapes. The lovely people in this photo will greet you at the Visitor Center and point the way to glory.

1. I've mentioned it before but America really welcomes tourists and makes travel in the country comfortable. Even small cities will have tourist or welcome centers where visitors can stop and ask questions or obtain information about interesting and historical sights in the region. In Jackson Hole, the Visitor Center is staffed with volunteers and national park officials. I didn't see anything similar the whole time I traveled in Russia - absolutely no tourist infrastructure. Pity.


2. I can't say much about the town itself. The center is a complete tourist trap, filled with high-end shops and a lot of restaurants. I don't like to shop, so I took a quick walk through and moved on. You will definitely see a lot of cowboy hats here.


3. There's a nice lawn area where people gather on benches, sit in the grass and pose for photos . One thing I noticed here is that the population is not diverse, almost all white people. I looked online and discovered Wyoming is one of America's least diverse States - 93% of the population is white. I noticed immediately because the Washington, DC area is culturally diverse, with every race and ethnicity imaginable walking around. I'm not used to being surrounded by only whites, so it was strange for me. The whitest State in America? My beloved Maine!


4. Many of you comment on our obsession with the American flag, but we find other ways to remind people they're in America. Like this decoration sitting outside one of the restaurants.


5. Even the local police understand the main attraction in Jackson Hole - mountains! Very cool police cars decorated with images of the Grand Teton Mountains and Wyoming State flag, which depicts a bison. I spoke to one of the policemen who informed me the town has less than 30 cops.


6. Here's Chris, perhaps the most interesting person I met on the short trip. In summer, the police force is overwhelmed so they rely on volunteers who help patrol the area and maintain order. The volunteers aren't sworn officers and have no power to arrest people. Their primary function is to answer tourist questions, point them in the right direction and help with minor disputes. Chris grew up in New York, worked at the Pentagon for a while and then retired in Wyoming about ten years ago. He gets bored sitting at home and volunteers a few days a week.


7. "Million Dollar Cowboy Bar." Excellent place! I ate a bison burger here on Saturday night, listened to a live country music band and even line-danced with a cowboy. I recommend stopping here if you like music or whiskey, as Jack Daniels has its own bar stand in the restaurant.


8. I drove all around Jackson Hole and saw very few homes or apartment complexes. I'm not sure where the actual residents live, but I came across one home where the owner operates an auto repair business out of his garage. Nice mural painted on the outside, advertising the business as "Rabbit Repair." My reader sergey_usa lived in Jackson Hole, so he can correct any factual errors or provide further insight.


9. Abandoned Ford in a nearby yard.


10. Most of my trip was spent on the road, exploring Grand Teton National Park. The park is situated right in Jackson, with scenic views of the mountain range from most locations.


11. Very easy to locate points of interest because they are all well-labeled with signs. Throughout the park, there are hundreds of "turnouts," places where drivers can pull off the side of the road and enjoy the scene or take photos. Some of them are equipped with picnic tables.


12. Cars share the road with a lot of motorcycles, sometimes solo riders but many large packs of 20 - 50 motorcycles traveling in a horde. You can hear the loud roar coming from a distance.


13. A lot of recreational vehicles (RVs) on the road! Some are privately owned but you can also rent them for an extended period of time. Jackson Hole has over 1,000 pull in campsites for RVs and tents. Remember my dacha post where I showed you my family's RV? It remains a dream to hook it up to a pick-up truck and journey across America. Who wants to join? :)


14. Big machines share the road with many cyclists. They ride right on the edge of the lanes. Maybe next time I'm in Russia I'll bring my bike and cycle down the M-10 to St. Petersburg. What do you think? Certain to be a fascinating journey. :)


15. Less adventurous riders can cycle on the paved trails throughout the park. The trails run right along the highway.


16. Sagebrush plant is everywhere here, creating silver gray landscapes. It has a very fragrant smell and is important to the ecosystem. Also food for a lot of the wildlife in the region.




18. Wide-open landscapes and fields. A common scene here.


19. Various sections of the park have restaurants, small grocery stores and restrooms. Always clearly marked so you can find your way.


20. In addition to the mountains, there's a nice lake here known as "Jenny Lake." A lot of people on the water enjoying tubing, canoes and other water sports.


21. On the side of one of the roads sits an old church called "Chapel of the Transfiguration." It was built in 1925 and services are still held in summer. I can't imagine a more beautiful background for a church.


22. Inside there are only two small rows of seats, and the church itself is in the style of a log cabin with exposed logs on the interior walls.


23. A very touching "Prayer List" for visitors. People hand-write messages and prayer requests for others.


24. Here's a sample of some of the writings. Mostly prayer requests for sick family members, but also many requests that families have safe trips, prayers that moms and dads get back together, etc. Interesting to read through the pages.


25. In addition to the Tetons, the massive Mount Rendezvous sits in Jackson Hole. You journey to the top on a tramcar and here's the view. About 10,000 feet up. There's a tasty waffle stand at the top. Prime destination for skiers in winter.


What else can I say about Jackson Hole? It has a tiny airport that services a large number of passengers. It's the only airport located inside a U.S. National Park, and expansion options are limited. As they should be. If you have a weekend flight in or out, make sure you arrive very early. I experienced the longest security line here ever - almost two hours to get through it due to limited space and staffing. I didn't even put my shoes on after clearing security and had to run out on the tarmac bare-foot to catch my flight right before take-off. Like something out of a movie scene. Speaking of movies, parts of Quentin Tarantino's recent film Django Unchained were filmed here.

These mountains really rescued me from a dark place, and I'll remember this short journey for a long time. If you travel to the Western part of America, make the time and effort to visit Jackson Hole. Perhaps you'll find some magic there as well.


( 76 comments — Leave a comment )
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Aug. 15th, 2013 04:25 am (UTC)
Aug. 15th, 2013 12:06 pm (UTC)
Just a smile? No words from the wise historian/philosopher? :)
Aug. 15th, 2013 04:29 am (UTC)
Play List
If you will have the opportunity to ride a bicycle in Russia, it is undesirable to go along the main routes. There's a lot of noise and smoke. About "Prayer List". You had a great opportunity to do God's work and excellent joke, you had to write in prayer list the phrase: "Богородица, Путина прогони". About " we find other ways to remind people they're in America" (c). I can proudly say, people in Russia always remember that they live in Russia. We do not spend money and time to remind ourselves about ourselves. Our roads and lack of public toilets constantly concerned about that we know where we live. It is much harder to love the motherland when it is run by people who weren't elected by you. But it is quite possible.

Edited at 2013-08-15 08:12 am (UTC)
Aug. 15th, 2013 12:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Play List
Cycling on the M-10, this was a joke! I drove this route in February, and even in a car complete horror. Not only the road itself but also the aggressive drivers. However, in some other areas of Russia I'm sure it's quite nice to travel via bicycle.

Lots of Russians would have read and understood the Putin message in the prayer book. Many Russian immigrants spread throughout the U.S., and a handful of tourists.

"We do not spend money and time to remind ourselves about ourselves." It's not a reminder for our ourselves, but a symbol for the tourists visiting the region. It's good you love the motherland! People should be happy wherever they live.
Re: Play List - andrey_kaminsky - Aug. 15th, 2013 02:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Play List - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 15th, 2013 02:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Play List - andrey_kaminsky - Aug. 15th, 2013 03:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Play List - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 15th, 2013 03:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Play List - andrey_kaminsky - Aug. 15th, 2013 03:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Play List - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 15th, 2013 03:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Play List - andrey_kaminsky - Aug. 15th, 2013 03:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 15th, 2013 04:38 am (UTC)
Excellent photos! Thank you!
Aug. 15th, 2013 12:13 pm (UTC)
My pleasure!
Aug. 15th, 2013 04:39 am (UTC)
красивые фото! и городок хороший!
Aug. 15th, 2013 12:14 pm (UTC)
Alex Winter
Aug. 15th, 2013 04:46 am (UTC)
Дыра Джексона ) зато честно ) Можно было ещё глухоманью назваться
Aug. 15th, 2013 10:39 am (UTC)
Да, необычное название.
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 15th, 2013 12:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Alex Winter - Aug. 15th, 2013 01:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 15th, 2013 04:55 am (UTC)
Very nice place and beautiful photos. Вы понимаете по-русски?
Aug. 15th, 2013 12:20 pm (UTC)
Да, я говорю и понимаю немного русский. I have very elementary knowledge, and don't write it well. Therefore, I prefer that readers comment in English if possible.
Aug. 15th, 2013 05:18 am (UTC)
I love mountains so much! Thank you, wonderful trip and great photos.
Aug. 15th, 2013 12:21 pm (UTC)
Me too! Wonderful feeling to be surrounded by these huge peaks. Btw, road in your avatar is cool! Do you know where it's located? I like driving on curvy, hilly pavement. :)
(no subject) - cherez_dorogu - Aug. 16th, 2013 07:52 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 15th, 2013 09:06 am (UTC)
I wouldn't advice you to take a bycicle trip here in Russia. I'm sure you'll never come back after that :) about traveling around America: it's my old dream since the childhood. I wish one day I will make it come true :)

Edited at 2013-08-15 09:13 am (UTC)
Aug. 15th, 2013 11:07 am (UTC)
Polar bear's attack?
I ride a bike every day. I'm alive ... It is a coincidence? No! It is easier to escape from a pack of wolves on the bike! :)
Re: Polar bear's attack? - anna_potapov - Aug. 15th, 2013 12:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Polar bear's attack? - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 15th, 2013 12:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Polar bear's attack? - qi_tronic - Aug. 15th, 2013 02:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Polar bear's attack? - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 15th, 2013 03:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Polar bear's attack? - qi_tronic - Aug. 15th, 2013 03:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
Bikes - andrey_kaminsky - Aug. 15th, 2013 02:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Bikes - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 15th, 2013 03:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Bikes - andrey_kaminsky - Aug. 15th, 2013 03:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Bikes - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 15th, 2013 04:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 15th, 2013 12:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 15th, 2013 10:38 am (UTC)
These photos help me to plunge into another world, to see the beauty of another country. Loved the chapel.
Aug. 15th, 2013 12:28 pm (UTC)
I'm glad I provide an escape to other worlds! Btw, you told me you traveled abroad but to what countries?
(no subject) - real_marsel - Aug. 15th, 2013 01:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 15th, 2013 01:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 15th, 2013 11:11 am (UTC)
Hey, we will join you in your RV, just give a call! :)

A lot of people do a lot of bicycle trips around Russia in summer. And they can be very, very beautiful. But you must travel local roads, rather than highways. You wrote it was a nightmare to travel on M-10 in a jeep-like car with an air conditioning and so on - it'll be much worse when you are just a lone cyclist!

So my recommendation is to travel away from these highways, in the off-the-road areas such as Lake Seliger and upper Volga, Pskov region or in the most spectacular parts of Russian North: Karelia and Arkhangelsk Region around river Onega. Seeing old and decaying wooden churches, sleepy villages, some of them long ghost settlements, wild forests with plenty of berries, detouring to the second largest lake in Europe, Lake Onezhskoe, with its sandy shores and thousands of small uninhabited islands covered by fir and pine firests - that is the beauty of Russia at its best. Had it been in the US, the whole of Onezhskoe Lake would probably be declared as a National Park. But Russia, too, has some tourist facilities over there, e.g. at Kenozero National Park. Its infrastructure partially resembles what you normally see in the US National Parks, and it has a visitor center, cabins and designated picnic areas as well.
Aug. 15th, 2013 11:15 am (UTC)
As usual, a proof link:
This is a link to a photo gallery at the official site of Kenozero National Park.
I have never been there but my wife visited it for a few days during her trip to the Russian North. They spent there arguably the best days in their trip.
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 15th, 2013 12:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 15th, 2013 02:48 pm (UTC)
These days there are a lot of foreign visitors in Moscow.
There is a world athletics championship.

Usually tourists move through Mocsow in groups, in tourist buses, and even if they dare to go down to the metro they are in groups with a leader with a flag, something like that.

But these guys are not tourists, they are sportsmen, sports officials, etc., and they are in Moscow on their own for several days.
So they explore the city themselves.
Quite a common picture for London but unsusual for Moscow :))
Aug. 15th, 2013 02:53 pm (UTC)
Almost all tourists in Russia are part of groups. It's very unusual to be a solo traveler there. I remember riding in the big red tour bus through Moscow (common in most big cities), and many people looking at us like we were on an alien ship. Maybe tourism will develop in the next few years. And what about Sochi? They must be making changes for the Olympics (e.g. English signs, etc.), or no?
Aug. 15th, 2013 10:01 pm (UTC)
I just love everything in your post: scenery, smiling lovely people, mountains, roads, bicycles.
Aug. 15th, 2013 10:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I loved it too! But now back at boring desk all day.
Aug. 16th, 2013 02:33 am (UTC)
You had a wonderful trip. The nature is awesome! You know, mountains are my real passion.
Really great photos! Thank you Shannon :)
Aug. 16th, 2013 02:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Always happy to view your photos as well.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 16th, 2013 07:51 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! If you haven't read my other Wyoming reports they are here:


Thanks for reading! :)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 16th, 2013 08:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Aug. 17th, 2013 03:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Erik Shindler
Aug. 17th, 2013 02:10 pm (UTC)
Jackson Hole must be a nice place, otherwise it wouldn't have been chosen by financial elite and attended by Federal Reserve chief Bernanke on regular basis.
Wish to drop there sometime.
Aug. 17th, 2013 03:48 pm (UTC)
The financial elite can afford to stay there for longer than four days, but not me. Because I booked at the last minute I had to pay almost $300 a night for a hotel room, which wasn't even luxurious. Standard motels like Super8 will still cost around $200 there in peak summer season. In other parts of the U.S., the same hotel would be $60.
(no subject) - Erik Shindler - Aug. 18th, 2013 02:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
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