Local — A Shift to Fall
Last month set records as one of the wettest Augusts ever! Full days of rain are typically uncommon at this time of year but we all welcomed the rain to offset this hot and dry summer. Snow fell on some of the high peaks reminding us that it can snow any time of year in Jackson Hole. The fire bans have been lifted, berries are ripening on their vines, and the meadows are filled with the colors of fall. There is a tremendous amount of change in the air as daylight wanes and fall arrives bringing cool temperatures, morning frost, the bugle of bull elk, and a slower pace in Jackson Hole.
Local — Fall Wildlife & Arts
While families head home for the start of school, our local bears head out to search for needed calories before winter hibernation. Keep a watch out for them while enjoying your time on the trails. They probably won’t be bothered by you if you keep a healthy distance. For a fun and artsy town diversion, check out the Fall Arts Festival, beginning September 8.
Regional — Hunting Season
Hunting season has begun, so remember to wear orange when enjoying the trails. Hunting is a major fall activity in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. The hunt is divided into big game, trophy game, game bird and small game. All species are hunted unless protected by the Endangered Species Act. Each state sets hunting limits and lists regulations with the goal of properly managing herd populations. Wyoming is divided into 130 different hunting zones and limits are placed on many of the species to protect the genetic diversity and population size.
Each time the losses and deceptions in life teach us about impermanence, they bring us closer to the truth. When you fall from a great height, there is only one possible place to land: on the ground, the ground of truth. And if you have the understanding that come from spiritual practice, then falling is in no way a disaster but the discovery of an inner refuge.
What’s in the Woods (Field Notes)
8/8 (Dog Creek) mature chokecherries, red tail hawk, stellar jay, lots of fresh beaver sign, showy goldeneye
8/9 (Cache Creek) fireweed, mature serviceberries, lots of dogs
8/15 (Jackson, WY) hot and hazy, temps into lower 90’s
8/16 (Coal Creek) two moose, red tail hawks soaring, thick stem aster, fall colors
8/18 (Grand Teton Park) black bear and two bull moose, rainy, wet day
8/20 (Wind River Range) badger, red tail hawk, yellow-bellied sapsucker
8/21 snow on the high peaks
8/24 (Jackson Hole) smoky haze covers mountains
8/28 (Cache Creek) fireweed going to seed, ripe serviceberries and hungry robins, long tailed weasel
8/29 (Jackson Hole Mountain Resort) clear skies, golden eye, ripe mountain ash
Lots of great hiking options are available at the end of summer. Be prepared for cool temperatures, especially at higher elevations. Bears have been feeding on berries along the Moose-Wilson Road resulting in road closures. Keep that in mind if you are planning to use that route. One of my fall favorite’s is to hike at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. You can’t beat the cardio workout if you walk up the Wildflower Trail to the Bridger Gondola. Be aware of the construction at the base of the resort. You can also ride the gondola and access the sub-alpine and alpine zones. Hiking into Rock Springs bowl offers rocky landscape, expansive views and the opportunity to see marmot and pikas. The last day to ride the Bridger Gondola is October 3.
- Hunting season begins September 1 — remember to wear orange on forest trails.
- Plan for cooler fall temperatures — keep a warm hat and gloves stashed in your packs.
- Be bear aware — bears will roam more during the fall as they prepare for hibernation.