Olympic Fever

Barker-Ewing, Biathlon, History, Jackson Hole, Recreation, Winter Olympics

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I’ve got Olympic Fever! Up here in Jackson Hole, as the old joke goes, we have two seasons: Winter, and the Fourth of July. The warming climate has subtly altered this once-accurate description. We still enjoy just two seasons, but while Winter has become noticeably shorter, the Fourth of July has extended on both sides and is now known as Road Construction. (For those of you from more temperate climates who are wondering about the two seasons that remain: Spring in Jackson Hole is three days of mud, and Fall lasts about a week.)

Betty Woolsey, Olympian and Dude Wrangler

In truth, we do have a nice, long summer in this high mountain valley – long enough for our Barker-Ewing boatman to guide more than 200 trips each down the Snake River before low water and early sunsets bring the season to a close. But Winter comes early and it sticks around. Usually we have enough snowfall to start skiing before Thanksgiving, and in many years, spring “crust” skiing is still going strong in late May. These long winters have given many of us locals the chance to excel at winter sports. And with such an abundance of snow and cold, what choice do we have?

I was lucky to be a member of the Jackson Hole Nordic team in the 1970’s. Our training center at Trail Creek Ranch on Teton Pass was owned by Betty Woolsey, a legend in the valley and captain of the first women’s alpine ski team that raced at the 1936 Winter Olympics in Germany. Her generosity in sharing her ranch with local skiers launched the careers of many Olympians – including biathletes, Nordic skiers and Alpine skiers. (For those who don’t know, Biathlon combines cross-country skiing and target shooting.) Many more locals became members of U.S. National teams, representing America in non-Olympic years. …continue reading Olympic Fever

Our River Guides are on the Move

Barker-Ewing, Jackson Hole, Rafting, Recreation, Uncategorized

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lesser-canada-geese-female-bird-with-brood-swimming-in-water-branta-canadensisAs the summer rafting season on the Snake River slowly fades to autumn, we hear the cry of the wild geese as they fly in squadrons overhead. With winter approaching, these mighty birds wing their way southward in massive v-shaped wedges. Some geese will remain in Jackson Hole, finding the few choice spots of wintering habitat that our valley has to offer. But most will fly to wet grasslands in the southern United States to enjoy rich vegetation, fish, and insects throughout the winter months. …continue reading Our River Guides are on the Move

Tiny Invaders

Barker-Ewing, Environment, Rafting, Recreation, Uncategorized

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f3167b23161a6d79c27bbe8902ac6b82Summers are warmer now compared to when I started rafting in the early 1980’s. And we have less water. To the untrained eye, Grand Teton’s Snake River looks fast and deep, but it’s deceptive. At Dead Man’s Bar, our float trip launch point, the river is confined to one narrow channel and moves along quickly due to an eighteen feet per mile gradient. Once the river starts braiding and splitting, the water gets quite shallow. At this time of year, we’re often navigating river flows that are around 3,000 cfs (that’s cubic feet of water per second). In contrast, during the spring snowmelt in late June, we might see flows of up to 14,000 cfs. Why the large difference? The Snake River’s flow is regulated by a dam built in 1916, prior to the formation of the park. The flows we see are maintained in a complicated balancing act between flood control to protect local subdivisions along the river, recreational needs in Jackson Hole, and agricultural uses in Idaho. …continue reading Tiny Invaders

New early float!

Rafting, Recreation

Snow-capped Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Now that summer is in full swing, we have decided to add a special early morning float two days a week. We will be offering a 6:30 am trip on Tuesdays and Thursdays from now through August 22nd.

This is for those of you who are early risers, as this is a lovely time to be on the water. Also for those of you who (like me) don’t like the summer heat, this is the coolest time of the day to be on the river.  I hope there are a few of you hardy early risers who want to enjoy the peaceful quiet of the early morning float.

 

Take time out for Life

Rafting, Recreation

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I recently read a post on the O.A.R.S. blog–20 reasons why a Rafting Trip is the Perfect Family Getaway.  I love what river runner Ben Curnett wrote:

You don’t have much time. No one does. It’s why vacations are so important. You’ve got to make every second count. But you don’t want to be in “hurry up and relax”-mode the whole time.” 

This spring I made a road trip down to the Red Desert of Wyoming.  It was a pleasant trip and a beautiful area.  By the time I made it back home, however, I was pretty exhausted. Yet anytime I do a rafting trip—and they always require the longest drives and shuttling logistics—I never feel more at ease, content, and peaceful.  I come home elated and alive, and ready to tackle life!

Maybe it’s leaving the car behind and setting foot in a world without engines and traffic and electrical outlets?  Once you are on a raft, nature is in the driver’s seat.  No speed limits to obey, 4-way stops to navigate, just the flow of the river.  It’s as if nature is reminding us that time (as we are all obsessed with it on our devices) isn’t a specific arrangement of numbers.  And if we’re in too much of a hurry, and don’t take a moment to enjoy the moment, well, then we’ve really missed the boat!

Enjoy summer and all it has to offer; but be sure to make time to let time go…..for me, after 10 years of rafting adventures on the Snake River and beyond, I know exactly where I can find that.

~Laura, B&E office
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Established in 1963, Barker-Ewing Float Trips has been sharing the beauty and wonder of Grand Teton National Park with visitors from around the world for 50 years, floating beneath the Grand Tetons on the headwaters of the Snake River.

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