The month of June was cool and wet. Fresh snow fell at all elevations. These below average temperatures hold the snow in the mountains. Currently, snow level is around 9,500 feet. The month ended with warmer temperatures so trail conditions will improve daily with increased access to higher elevations. With so many fun places to explore throughout the Teton area, you’ll have lots of options to discover the endless blooming meadows at lower elevations.
The solstice on June 21 means long days in Jackson Hole with over 15 hours of daylight. By solstice, the wildlife has had its babies, flowers have blossomed, and chicks have left the nest. It’s a dynamic time in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem with the energy of life at a collective peak. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a warm and wet summer and time will tell. Lots of summer to come!
Now is the time to head to the hills to play — hike, raft, fish, bike, climb, look for bears, seek out wildlife, enjoy a picnic, paddleboard — the choices are endless. Get outside for some natural Vitamin D and explore the wild lands of Jackson Hole. 97% of this valley is protected by federal agencies with miles of trails to explore. With over 3 million acres in the Bridger-Teton National Forest alone, there are plenty of places to wander off the beaten track.
Bears are active so be sure to bring your bear spray. Make sure you know how to use it and remember to make noise on the trail to avoid startling them. Bears don’t want to mess with us so it’s important to let them know we are in the woods too.
Local residents are rallying to protect the moose along the highways. Sadly, two were hit last month at the junction of Highway 22 and 390, which has been identified as a major migration corridor. Moose are extremely hard to spot at dusk and night with their dark bodies. A story to watch as the community considers wildlife corridors: https://buckrail.com/masses-gather-in-town-hall-to-speak-for-wildlife/
The buzz word in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana right now is SUMMER! These three states share what’s known as the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, a destination for many summer travelers. Some GYE highlights include Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, a visit to the Buffalo Bill Museum, and a soak in the hot springs of Thermopolis, Wyoming. Jackson Hole, WY and the quieter side of the Tetons (Teton Valley, Idaho) both offer great outdoor recreation, restaurants, cultural events and live music. The busiest months in Jackson Hole are July and August so get an early start to keep ahead of the crowds. https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/wyoming-uswy.htm
What’s in the Woods
6/5 – Shadow Mountain: elk and elk fawn
6/6 – Moose hit on Teton Village Road
6/7 – Antelope Flats: pronghorn, northern harrier, meadowlark, redtail hawk
6/8 – Snow on the valley floor
6/8 – Cache Creek: valerian, geranium, lily of the valley, larkspur, arrowleaf balsamroot, baneberry, serviceberry, violets, robin, chickadee, ravens, dusky flycatcher, yellow-rumped warbler, pink-sided junco
6/14 – Munger Mountain: Indian paintbrush, nine-leaved desert parsley, serviceberry, leopard lily, arrowleaf balsamroot, arnica, phlox, bluebell, violet
6/16 – Snake River: Bald Eagle, Osprey, Killdeer, Belted Kingfisher, American White Pelicans
6/18 – Jackson backyard birding: white-crowned sparrows, young ravens, cassin’s finch, lazuli bunting, evening grosbeak, western tanager, chickadee, house finch, nuthatch, kinglet
6/22 – Hoback Range, Palmer Creek: mules ears, scarlet gilia, columbine, bear scat
6/27 – Jackson: mule deer grazing near office
6/29 – Shadow Mountain: Pronghorn Doe with new calf
6/30 – Snake River near South Park bridge: lupine, scarlet gilia, wild rose, redtail hawk, great blue herons
Make sure you are always prepared in the mountains with food, plenty of water, proper clothes, and rain gear. Bear spray and a first aid kit should be in your pack at all times and make sure to tell someone where you plan to explore. Remember to drink at least eight glasses of water a day to avoid dehydration. Hikers are at a higher risk here due to high altitudes, dry climate, and cool breezes that whisk away perspiration. I recommend hiking at lower elevations to view the wildflowers. Hiking from String Lake to Leigh Lake and onto Bearpaw and Trapper Lakes is a great excursion. If you go to all four lakes it is about 8.5 miles round trip. It’s a beautiful sandy trail with minimal elevation gain. You can also go for a swim in String Lake to refresh afterward. Enjoy!