The start of 2014 has me planning for the year. It’s our 25th season offering nature tours in Jackson Hole. I can’t believe that my inspiration all those years ago led to a successful business that allows me to do what I love.
As the years have passed, I have expanded my focus. I will do a pilgrimage in Tibet in June and share Bhutan with clients this fall. Read about our fall trips to Bhutan at www.bhutanhimalayanexperience.com. Space is still available so join me to discover this truly magical country.
Owner of The Hole Hiking Experience and Bhutan Himalayan Experience
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The month had one big storm cycle and one is predicted in the next few days. Snow is a bit thin and locals are anxiously awaiting more. The high pressure before our last big storm made avalanche danger high and travel in the backcountry extremely risky as the winds and snow blew hard for three days. Special warnings were posted.
During snow control following the last storm, large avalanches were released. This photo was taken in the Snake River Range by a High Mountain Heli-Skiing guide. It shows the large powerful avalanche and the unpredictable snow pack. Route finding and snow knowledge is crucial this season.
Nature is predominately quiet in January. However, the thinner snow pack still have elk and bison migrating to winter territories. About 30 Pronghorn remain in the valley instead of migrating to more wind swept plains in the southern parts of the state. They have not adapted to a deeper snow pack so their survival could be tipped by snow depth. At this point, enough bushes are exposed but we have three more snowy months to come.
In the town of Jackson, Flat Creek flooding has caused homeowners concern. The creek winds its way out of the National Elk Refuge, through town, then heads south to join the Snake River.
This year, cold temperatures have caused ice to form on the creek bed rather than the water surface, pushing the water up and over the creek banks. This is a common occurrence in the winter but is particularly drastic this year. Water and ice were approaching homes and threatening foundations. Its made for treacherous walking on the bike path, too, which might be impassable until spring. The locals are trying to form a water improvement district to address this hazard.
The month draws to a close with frigid temperatures and a winter storm approaching. We have received about 200 inches of snow so far this season. 400 is average so we have a ways to go. Reaching annual snowfall is important for sufficient summer moisture and a healthy growing season.
In the Woods
1/3- stormy and windy
1/6- Antelope Flats- coyote, elk, bison, moose
1/11-1/13- winter storm, snow and wind
1/12- Teton River- male and female goldeneye
1/12- Trumpeter swans on Snake River
1/15- flat creek frozen in town- flooding
1/20- Grand Teton Park- herd of elk, bald eagle, cow and calf moose
1/21- high pressure- inversion in mountains
1/25- snake river- immature bald eagle, Canadian geese, ravens, Trumpeter swans
With high avalanche danger, we must be prudent in the backcountry. If the sunny days continue, you can’t beat a ski tour into Jenny Lake. Park at the Taggert Lake trailhead and head north. You can follow Cottonwood Creek at the base of the mountains. It’s about 9.0 miles round trip. The road is also groomed if you want another option but I enjoy the meadows along the creek.
As I ski beneath the Grand Teton, my thoughts go to the sacred peak of Bhutan. I will be sharing Bhutan this fall to return to a magical country where the people, their strong Buddhist traditions and their reverence for nature are all tightly and uniquely linked. If you long for an adventure in a place where the sacred, the mystical and the natural worlds are one inseparable heritage, Bhutan is for you. Join me!
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