Winners of the 2015 Barker-Ewing Photo Contest

Barker-Ewing, Jackson Hole, Rafting, Wildlife

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The-Last-Great-Wild-Places-cover-smAfter days of hard work, Mr. Tom Mangelsen – our illustrious, esteemed, and impartial photo judge – has decided on the winners of the Second Annual Barker-Ewing Photo Contest. He deliberated over many customer photo entries in not one but two categories. We added a landscape category this year because, in addition to world-class wildlife viewing, Jackson Hole is justifiably famous for its scenery. The winners of the contest are each receiving a signed copy of Tom’s latest book, The Last Great Wild Places.

The winner of our Wildlife category is Dee Anna Piatek from Marble Falls, Texas with this amazing close-up of an immature eagle. You can almost hear the wind rustling through its feathers. Terrific shot, Dee Anna! DSC_0136

The winner of our new Landscape category is Jim Betz from Livonia, Michigan. He captured a view that I’ve seen nearly 2,500 times over two decades of floating the Snake. It’s such a dramatic moment, and I’ve never tired of it. I know how this particular spot on the river looks, smells, feels, and sounds. Great work, Jim!DSC_3994

Congratulations, and well done to both of our contest winners! And a sincere thank you to everyone who took the time to send us photos from your vacations in this wonderful wild place. We enjoyed seeing our beautiful valley through your eyes. It reminds us how lucky we are to live and work in this corner of Wyoming, with Grand Teton National Park on our doorstep and Yellowstone just up the road. We hope that you all enjoyed your trips to our mountain home, and that you’ll return again soon!

Soft Gold on the Snake

Barker-Ewing, Environment, History, Jackson Hole, Rafting, Wildlife

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0522JournalTrapper-ThumbJackson Hole was the center of the Fur Trade for a short period in the 1820s and 1830s due to the abundance of beaver. This squat brown mammal (once decreed a fish by the Bishop of Quebec, to fit dietary law) was once abundant throughout North America. Fur trappers venturing west to collect beaver pelts (referred to as “soft gold”) pioneered many overland routes from the Mississippi River plains to the coastal reaches of California and Oregon before the shift in fashion from beaver felt hats to silk chapeaus ended the trade. Once numbering over 60 million, the North American beaver population had been reduced to an estimated 100,000 by the 1840s. (Don’t be alarmed: their numbers have rebounded to an estimated 20 million, and we see them frequently on our evening float trips down the Snake.)

Osbourn Russell, a fur trapper who worked along the Snake River in what is now Grand Teton National Park during the waning years of the fur trade left us with a lively diary of his adventures. This diary is available online, and like many first-hand accounts of the time, includes some fascinating editorializing and dubious “facts” about the place we know as Jackson Hole.

…continue reading Soft Gold on the Snake

It’s tick season!

Barker-Ewing, Hiking & Climbing, Jackson Hole, Rafting, Wildlife

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images-1It’s tick season!

This time of year, we welcome visitors from all around the country to beautiful Jackson Hole. And for those of you from the East Coast, the thought of “tick season” might be truly scary.

The good news: our Barker-Ewing scenic raft trips don’t travel through tick habitat, so we’re extremely unlikely to encounter them on the river. But many folks who float with us will also be hiking or biking in the woods around our valley, and should pay special attention to tick prevention. …continue reading It’s tick season!

Colter’s Run and other Tall Tales

Barker-Ewing, History, Jackson Hole, Rafting

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Artwork showing John Colter and Yellowstone GeysersBarker-Ewing boatmen are world-class storytellers. Whether we’re driving you up to the launch site in our shiny new vans or guiding you down the Snake River right through the heart of Grand Teton National Park, we’re never at a loss for words. Geology, natural history, wildlife, western lore and regional politics – we’re experts on a wide variety of topics, and take pride in our ability to weave a compelling narrative. The Mountain Men who frequented Jackson Hole in days of yore were terrific storytellers themselves – and famous for their tall tales. Jim Bridger spun a story about a Petrified Forest in Yellowstone: seems that he saw petrified birds sitting in petrified trees singing petrified songs. And Jim Beckwourth claimed to be able to track antelope by their smell alone. But John Colter’s run is a ripping yarn that just may be the most famous tall tale of all. …continue reading Colter’s Run and other Tall Tales

Moose in Grand Teton National Park

Barker-Ewing, Environment, Jackson Hole, Rafting, Wildlife

MooseWe are privileged to live in Jackson Hole with Grand Teton National Park on our doorstep, and we do our best to be thoughtful stewards of our surroundings. But I admit that in my youth I have walked too close to a moose, approached a bear for a photo op, and skied close enough to a badger to make it lunge towards me. (I found this so amusing that I may have skied past this particular badger more than once. Perhaps as many as four times.) But it’s important for us all to be reminded that the creatures with whom we share this valley are wild and undomesticated.

One of the most charismatic wild creatures in these parts is the moose. Moose originated in northern Eurasia. They arrived in North America during the last ice age and have since evolved in step with the changing environment. …continue reading Moose in Grand Teton National Park