The month of April shared spring weather with a mix of rain, snow, and sun. My travels took me to Asia back to the peaceful country of Bhutan. Upon my return, snow glistens on the Teton Peaks and the newness of spring brightens the southern parts of our valley. Leaves are just starting to develop on the Chokecherry bushes near my house in town. Male Aspen trees hang heavy with catkins/seeds. The color green begins to dance on the hillsides.
Spring signs are subtle in April since the valley is north in latitude, 43.47 degrees, and winter is our wettest season. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort closed on April 8 with 500 inches of annual snowfall at 9500 feet. The snowpack is deep and reported close to eleven feet. Weather forecast on April 30 is unsettled with a rain/snow mix predicted in the valley and a possible 6 inches of fresh snow in the mountains. Trails are snow covered and forest roads are still mostly impassable.
Winter wildlife closures end May 1 so many locals will head to the hills to search for antlers. Most of the hills near town are closed from December 1- April 30 for wildlife protection. Snow did not really accumulate in the Jackson valley until March so the thinner snowpack kept elk on the move. Since fewer animals concentrated on the feed ground, it should be a good year to find antlers as the valley prepares for Elkfest. Elkfest is our annual antler auction and occurs May 19-20, 2018.
I spent the month of April in Bhutan and a trip to this small country in the Himalayas can change your life. The country emanates a state of peace, connectedness, and presence. Since mostly Buddhist, there is calmness to daily life. The ability to stay in the day, to let go, to allow. It is quite refreshing.
I have guided four trips to Bhutan (Bhutan Himalayan Experience) and each experience shares awareness and insight into our busy lives and crazy thoughts. In Bhutan, you slow down, enjoy a cup of tea, visit temples and monasteries and appreciate life. A journey to Bhutan reveals the dharma, Buddha’s teachings. We discuss suffering, the wheel of life, how we get caught and how to let go. Each experience shares this philosophy, teachings to realize that suffering is a part of life, what are the causes and how to find peace. Quite simple and a rewarding path to follow. It has changed my life and I am grateful.
The country holds you in a way that is filled with compassion. You have a guide, you have an itinerary and you have a country that stays present, in this moment, and you are allowed a glimpse of what this means. You can open to the experience and realize the joy of each moment. We all have patterns and we all get caught in “this busy life.” A trip to Bhutan will open your eyes and allow you to explore your story and share tools to become more aware and suffer less. I will return.
The month of April ends with a snow storm, the anticipation of open trails, the antler hunt and nine pages of help-wanted ads in the local paper. The valley prepares for the summer tour season.
What’s in the woods
Bhutan- 46 species of Rhododendrons, primula sp, daphne, numerous birds, prayer flags, blue skies, and warm smiles
4/30- rain/snow mix in the valley
The Bridger-Teton National Forest reports snowy/muddy trails and impassable roads. Conditions will change daily as temperatures warm and the sun shines. Be patient and respect the environment. Tire and bike treads can cause erosion and negatively impact trails. Bike paths are a great option. Check in with the visitor center on North Cache for current conditions. With cooler temperatures, skiing is still an option in the high country. Bears are active so be prepared. It’s a great time to drive and see signs of spring and migrating wildlife. Watch the dance of green as spring climbs the hillsides. Enjoy.