Ranchers and Jackson Hole

Cabin on Mormon Row, Grand Teton National Park

I wondered what type of ranches developed in Wyoming even before the Grand Teton National Park was established in the early 1900s.  Upon research, it is interesting how people traveled from the eastern side of the U.S. to explore and settle in the western U.S. 

Barn on Mormon Row, Grand Teton National Park

Land Opportunity

The Homestead Act of 1862 established by President Abraham Lincoln was apparently a key piece of legislation that would entice easterners to move west. 

Historical barns with newer ranch house on Mormon Row, Grand Teton National Park

The Homestead act created a public land management system that allowed individuals traveling to the west to acquire land for free.  Sign me up, right?  However, the land no doubt was taken years ago. 

Cabin on Mormon Row, Grand Teton National Park

A homesteader was an individual 21 years of age or older, the head of a household and someone who had never taken up arms against the U.S. government.  When the act was signed, the U.S. had just finished its first year following the end of the Civil War. 

Homesteaders were individuals who used legal means to acquire virtually free ownership of their land.  https://jacksonholehistory.org/homesteading-in-jackson-hole/

Historical ranch house on Snake River at Grand Teton National Park

It appears Jackson Hole, Wyoming, was a central location that supported ranchers throughout the Teton Range, including the establishment of “dude ranches.”  For instance, experienced dudes, Struthers Burt and Dr. Horace Carncross opened Jackson Hole’s second dude ranch in 1912, the Bar BC Ranch. Burt described dude ranching as cattle ranching modified to care for “dudes”—visitors willing to pay handsomely for a quaint cowboy experience.

Wanna-be Ranchers

During its peak years, as many as 50 dudes could stay at a monthly rate of $300 each. These rustic destinations copied the layout of working cattle ranches. Only six dudes stayed the first summer, but the Bar BC soon became Jackson Hole’s most famous dude ranch. More information and images are also located at https://www.nps.gov/grte/learn/historyculture/bcran.htm and https://jacksonholehistory.org/sky-ranch/.

Additional images of the Teton history may be viewed at  https://www.nps.gov/media/photo/gallery.htm?pg=1952309&id=FCF8CFA1-155D-451F-67A5268A72280213.

Historical ranch barns remain on Mormon Row, Grand Teton National park

Mormons Build Community

In addition to those traveling from the east to establish land ownership, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, sent parties from the Salt Lake Valley to establish new communities and support their expanding population.

Historical barn on Mormon Row, Grand Teton National Park

Mormon homesteaders, who settled east of Blacktail Butte near the turn of the 19-century, clustered their farms to share labor and community, a stark contrast with the isolation typical of many western homesteads. These settlers first arrived in the 1890s from Idaho establishing a community (named Grovont by the U.S. Post Office), and known today as “Mormon Row.” https://www.nps.gov/grte/learn/historyculture/mormon.htm

Mormon Row At Grand Teton National Park

The area surrounding Jackson Hole still reminds travelers of the western life and the open terrain of the Teton Range.  When we visited the town of Jackson, it had the feel of a tourist attraction with many shops and restaurants.  It is a nice place to shop and explore though, and it still has a lot of history to examine. 

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Settlers make a difference

Cunningham cabin at Grand Teton National Park

Frontier settlers throughout history made a difference toward building development and life itself.  Wyoming’s Grand Teton benefited by certain visionaries. 

J. Pierce Cunningham was a rancher who became a conservationist.  He settled in Jackson Hole in the 1880s despite the winter hardship.  He originally opposed the expansion of Grand Teton National Park but later became an advocate. 

Cunningham teamed with his neighbor, Josiah “Si” Ferrin to write a petition signed by 97 valley ranchers who agreed to sell their land to form a “national recreation area.”  John D. Rockefeller, Jr’s Snake River Land Company bought Cunningham’s land and other ranches.  Rockefeller later donated more than 33,000 acres to expand the national park. 

Now we can observe and preserve the beauty of the Grand Teton National Park. 

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Grand Teton

Grand Teton range
Grand Teton National Park awaits those to behold its beauty.

Rising above a scene rich with extraordinary wildlife, pristine lakes, and alpine terrain, the Teton Range stands as a monument to the people who fought to protect it. These are mountains of imagination that led to the creation of Grand Teton National Park where you can explore more than two hundred miles of trails, float the Snake River or enjoy the serenity of this remarkable place.  https://www.nps.gov/grte/index.htm

Grand Teton Range in Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming is a WOW location to enjoy splendor and beauty. We enjoyed traveling through the area to observe various angles of the Teton peaks.

Grand Teton and Owen Mountain

The tallest peak is the Grand Teton (left).   Mount Owen is to the right of the Grand Teton.  Teton Glacier is in between these two mountain peaks. 

Grand Teton, tallest peak in center, with Mount Owen to the right and Middle Teton to the left. Glaciers are in between each.

The mountain peak to the left of the Grand Teton is Middle Teton.  French explorers provided the name teton.

Grand Teton National Park, which spans around 310,00 acres, is in northwestern Wyoming and surrounds the town of Jackson. It connects with Yellowstone National Park to the north.

Travel tips may be viewed at https://traveltips.usatoday.com/far-grand-teton-national-park-yellowstone-106913.html.

Which view of the Grand Teton range is your favorite?

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Life ripples

Water view at one of Grand Teton’s glacier lakes – Jenny Lake

Who can see real beauty beneath?

We behold clear view obscured by uneven ripples.

How can we see beneath the surface,

Not knowing what lies underneath?

Yet we see beauty while trying to understand,

Not knowing full the image – is it danger or is it safe?

Only when we wait for calm to form

Will we know true intent of what’s inside.

Then we focus on what is there that we did not know;

There is calm, some rocks, but still there is growth

We look up to the splendor that wasn’t there,

When we saw what was below.

We couldn’t see while looking below,

Even the ripples made us sad.

But when we lift our eyes above,

Leaving behind that we could not see

To embrace the beauty, that was there all along.

But we chose to look below, blurs made us sigh

Til we choose – looking above,

Seeing heights and grandeur unfold. 

More than meets the eye,

When we work to understand, even though we were told.

Grand Teton National Park mountains and glacier lake

Don’t be distracted by the surface with stress and ripples,

Choose beauty and joy beyond where we are, and what will be.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Where buffalo roam

Wild buffalo roam freely at Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Oh give me a home … you remember this song? You can sure identify with it when traveling to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, U.S.A.

Buffalo cross the road at Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Let’s take a little look-see and observe these wonderful creatures of the wild. You’ll notice we have a “buffalo jam” or “wildlife jam.” Take a visit when you get a chance.

Driver over Bridge-Teton toward Grand Teton
Grand Teton buffalo crossing

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Watch out for Mama Bear

Grizzly and her cub along U.S. 26/287 in Shoshone National Forest

Seeing a Grizzly beside U.S. 26/287 was a big surprise as we traveled from Dubois, Wyoming toward Grand Teton National Park.  We enjoyed the ride through the Shoshone National Forest, Togwotee Mountain, Bridger-Teton National Forest, past Lava Mountain,  another crossing of the continental divide, and finally entering the Grand Teton National Park. 

Electronic and posted signs warn humans when bear, moose or elk are near the highway. Actually, expect to see them at any time. You never know.

We hoped to see Grizzly bears, from a safe environment, and just happened to drive slowly by the mother and her cub.   Occupants in the vehicles that began stopping stayed inside their protective cages.  That’s a good thing.  These are the wildlife you wouldn’t walk up to and pet – even if we desire it. Everyone is cautioned to not become friendly with all wildlife. That’s why they are called “wild.”

I never suspected that this encounter with the Grizzly would be the only sight of one during our time in Wyoming. 

Dash cam view of Shoshone National Forest

The drive toward Grand Teton was exquisite and fun.  I really appreciate the Shoshone National Forest that showcased its beauty as much as its ruggedness.  The forest offers superb scenery and endless recreational opportunities! It was set aside in 1891 as part of the Yellowstone Timberland Reserve, making the Shoshone the first national forest in the United States.

The forest has 2.4 million acres of varied terrain ranging from sagebrush flats to rugged mountains. The higher mountains are snow-clad most of the year.

Immense areas of exposed rock are interspersed with meadows and forests. With Yellowstone National Park on its western border, the Shoshone encompasses the area from the Montana state line south to Lander, Wyoming, and includes portions of the Absaroka, Wind River and Beartooth Mountains.   https://www.fs.usda.gov/shoshone/

Grand Teton National Park view from Togwotee Mountain

I could readily notice the escalating splendor as we approached the Grand Teton.  I’ll highlight this spectacular place in the next few posts. 

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Travel eats

The Cowboy Cafe is a welcome spot in downtown Dubois, Wyoming

One of the challenges in traveling distances is scheduling places to eat, especially when one is trying to cover some ground while driving hundreds of miles.  What’s a person to do? 

I don’t necessary want fast food, nor do I want to spend much time in a sit-down restaurant with servers.  I enjoy protein bars, fruit, or plain snacks to intervene when I begin having slight hunger urges.  Sometimes though, I snack too much just to compensate for the boredom and driving fatigue. 

Ideally, I don’t like to travel more than four to six hours a day.  That provides time for me to not rush, locate eateries and maybe take a side road somewhere, trying to find that little nugget of awesomeness. 

We ate at a few restaurants while staying a a number of days in Dubois, Wyoming.  That was nice and relaxing.  Two of my favorite places are Cowboy Café and Lone Buffalo Steak House.  They have outstanding food, excellent service with a friendly smile and the western feel.    

Cowboy Café is more of a quaint place and sometimes one gets to sit a little closer to neighbors.  That’s okay.  Everyone is friendly. Plus, there was a really neat Water Wheel Gift Shop next door that had unique items at a good value.

One of our interesting conversations occurred while sitting with three young men from Texas.  They had been hiking and camping in the mountains and were having their last meal in Dubois while heading back home.  They had an almost-close encounter with a grizzly bear when they found themselves between the mother and her cub.  That’s not good.

The polite young men said they had never been so scared before.  They had their bear spray but decided to quietly back away, before using the spray.  Apparently, the mother bear had not seen them (since their eyesight isn’t very good) and had not received their scent.  They were very happy to remove themselves from that environment. 

The Lone Buffalo Steak House, across the street from the Cowboy Café, was new since the building was recently renovated.  The dining area is spacious. and the atmosphere is inviting, as well as the food.  Their steak is some of the best I’ve eaten.  It’s worth a stop if you go through Dubois. 

Now to the fitness center, right?

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Dubois

The Dubois, Wyoming Horse Creek Station reminds one of a place to hitch a horse still today

Dubois — say it like “cowboys.” It’s one of the last real, old West towns — a charming hidden gem with the authentic feel of the frontier. Expedia calls Dubois the best place for an escape in Wyoming.

Barely an hour from Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park over a smooth, scenic highway, it’s peaceful here in the Wind River Valley. But there are so many things to do! https://duboiswyoming.org/

Dubois is touted as the one real western town located in the crossroads of the original American West. Here migration routes of early Native Americans forged the trails, later followed by mountain men and explorers. Homesteaders and cowboys mingled here.

Loggers hand-cut the ties for railroads that joined the nation. It is one of the best, real cowboy towns still around. Cowboys drive cattle here and compete in the Dubois rodeo. (Dubois website)

Wood plank walkway in Dubois, Wyoming

As I walked along on the wooden plank walkways, I thought of the old western movies when you would hear the cowboy (or cowgirl) boots striking the planks with an echo in each step.  Dubois provides an excellent feel of the old West, and yet with some modern-day food arrangements; although local eateries and lodging facilities are not national name brands.

Wooden structures still display the frontier spirit if Dubois. Artists become very creative such as the moose antler carvings at the Horse Creek Art Gallery.

Now, I’m glad the roads are paved; however, if they were still dirt then it would sure be interesting. I definitely would need my all-wheel drive there and be able to do more dirt exploring. Jesssayin’ as a friend says.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Sun resemblance, Badlands

Cut tree makes one think of the sun?

Don’t forget the simple things when you happen to drive by. This cut tree trunk instantly reminded be of the sun with associated rays expanding around it’s circumference.

Cut tree trunk beside old bridge in Dubois, Wyoming
Old bridge over Wind River in Dubois, Wyoming

Hidden beauty beyond the bridge

The red rock of the Badlands on one side of Dubois, Wyoming are amazing. The saying is that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid traveled these mountains and stated these are some bad lands.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron