Where Are the Bodies?

Barker-Ewing, History, Rafting

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Deadman's Bar Skull
Where is my body?

In 1887, Wyoming Territory held its first murder trial on the heels of a triple homicide. The story of these gruesome murders and the subsequent trial are well known to Snake River boatmen. It’s how Deadman’s Bar – the spot where we launch our Barker-Ewing Scenic Float Trips – got its name. All you have to do is ask, and I’ll happily regale you with the tale. And if you don’t ask, I’ll tell you anyway.

I like to begin the murder saga just as I launch the boat, and wind it up as we round the first bend in the river. We’ve floating past a crime scene and into a beautiful vista: the view of the Tetons made famous by Ansel Adams. It’s a great start to our 10-mile trip on the wild and scenic Snake River through Grand Teton National Park. I rarely have the opportunity to field questions during these first spectacular moments – I’m navigating the current, scanning the bank for wildlife, avoiding submerged obstacles, and alerting my passengers to the first of many stunning photo ops. But, there are questions, and I’ve got some answers. …continue reading Where Are the Bodies?

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

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.

www.facebook.com/BarkerEwing

A Rainy Christmas…Far From Home

Recreation

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photo courtesy of Grand Targhee Resort

There’s no doubt about it…you can’t beat summer in western Wyoming.  The sunshine and clear blue skies that frame the towering mountain peaks make me smile with joy, every single day.  And then comes winter:

Some folks around here LIVE for winter.  The powder days on the ski slopes or in the back country.  The snowmobiling into the national forests.  The rest of us joke about how long winter is:  “well, sometimes it starts in October, but then those dry years it doesn’t show up until November…Of course, June can be good weather, but I’ve been caught in a snowstorm when backpacking the first week of June, so…”

My husband and I decided to take a trip and visit family near Seattle, Washington for Christmas this year.  It was so GREEN when we got here!  And RAIN! Wow.  It’s been great visiting family we rarely get to see because of the 800-mile gap between us; but hearing the sound of rain on the roof, and walking around in a light jacket feels strange.

We’ve found ourselves longing for that cold, dark, snowy, icy, place we call home.  Maybe it’s because of the “closeness” that a snowy winter brings?  Casual dinners with friends, Sunday afternoon football, a fire in the wood-burning stove…ahhh…just warms me up thinking about it.

Can’t wait to get home to shovel out the driveway in time for the New Year.  And only five months left of winter (or maybe it’s six?). Time to pull out the skis and snowboards.

Auld Lang Syne!

~Laura Huckin

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Wildly Scenic is a blog by Barker-Ewing employees and fellow river enthusiasts.

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 over 40 years, floating beneath the Grand Tetons on the headwaters of the Snake River.

www.facebook.com/BarkerEwing

Masked Bandit seen along the Snake River!

History, Rafting, Wildlife

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Racoon

Rascal.  That wonderful friend and companion of the young Sterling North.  Rascal was quite the charmer, who helped Sterling win (and lose) the pie eating contest… that “ringtailed wonder” who also helped Sterling learn the life lessons about loss, and in the process reconnect with society during his childhood in the time of World War I.   Rascal.  A best friend, a beloved companion.  A common raccoon.

Common raccoons have been anything BUT here in Grand Teton National Park.  That is, until about 8 years ago.  Our guides had NEVER seen a raccoon along the river back in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s or even through the mid-90’s.  It has only really been since the turn of the century that we started to see the odd one once or twice over a floating season.  This summer, we have been seeing raccoons weekly.  There has even been a family of 7 that has been seen multiple times this summer, as recently as last night!

What changes in ecology, climate, or human presence/impact have collided in this recent decade and enabled raccoons to not only gain a foothold here in the Teton Range of Wyoming, but to thrive?

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Wildly Scenic is a blog by Barker-Ewing employees and fellow river enthusiasts.

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 over 40 years, floating beneath the Grand Tetons on the headwaters of the Snake River.

www.facebook.com/BarkerEwing