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    Slow Down Summer by Slowing Down Yourself

    By Vanessa Chavarriaga Posada

    The seemingly never-ending options for outdoor recreation in Jackson Hole justifies the desire to kick back and relax.

    From early-morning adventures, all-day tours, and even hikes and climbs that begin at midnight, this town is far from sleepy. When planning a trip to this special place it can be easy to overbook your itinerary and try to do it all, but the real magic comes when we do the opposite: slow down and listen.

    The experiences I’ve had in Jackson will stick with me forever. I still remember my first time sleeping under the Tetons and seeing the stars and the moon silhouetted against the mountains. I remember the huckleberry milkshakes, warm sun, and cold lakes. My time in Jackson has left a sense of curiosity to continue spending time in nature, a sentiment that many of us share. Even with all the epic activities at hand, my absolute favorite memories are those that involve slowing down and taking it all in. Here are some insider tips on creating your own life-lasting memories and slowing down to capture the Jackson magic.

    Watch the alpenglow

    Have you ever experienced the glory of being in the mountains at sunrise? If you haven’t, let me tell you about it. There’s darkness and silence as the sun begins to creep up over the horizon, then there’s a little bit of flat light, and then an experience unlike any other. The sky lights up and the rays of early light turn into a paintbrush, painting everything they touch with crimson reds, deep pinks, and bright oranges. The granite peaks of the Tetons are a perfect canvas for these paint strokes. The walls of the mountains and canyons absorb these colors and surround you in them. For a few minutes, it feels like you’re on a different planet. There’s a name for this incredible phenomenon: alpenglow. The mountains quite literally glow.

    Grand Teton Alpenglow.
    Photo by Shannon Corsi

    Alpenglow occurs in the first few minutes of sunrise and the last few minutes of sunset. In the Tetons, you won’t want to miss the sunrise alpenglow as it hits the mountain range directly. This can be seen from any road in Grand Teton National Park or from the trails that go into the alpine (above the tree line). My recommendation is to find a lake to view the alpenglow sunrise; the glassiness of the early-morning water makes for a spectacular reflection.

    Some of my favorite places to watch the sunrise include the top of Josie’s Ridge, a trail in town that overlooks the Tetons. Inside Grand Teton National Park I recommend String Lake or Blacktail Butte for locations that are accessible by car. If you’re itching to get out on the trails, I suggest getting an early start (about 2 to 3 hours before sunrise) and hiking up to Amphitheater Lake. If you’d like to watch the sunrise from the top of a peak, I recommend hiking to the top of Snow King Resort in downtown Jackson as an option that requires waking up only a few hours early, or Static Peak for what’s usually an overnight adventure. Static Peak is a 14-mile non-technical hike that brings you to a beautiful summit in Grand Teton National Park; however, a sunrise summit requires a middle-of-the-night departure.

    Find a way to experience the wildlife

    The best way to take advantage of a long, hot summer day is to get up early. Whether it’s for an alpine sunrise or animal watching, you’re bound to get the most out of your experiences this way. Waking up early can be hard, but in the Tetons it’s never something I regret. As the day builds, so do the heat and the crowds. Because of this, most wildlife including bears, moose, and birds are most active in the early hours of the morning and late hours of the evening. Some of my favorite wildlife interactions in the Tetons involve strolling down the trails on a quiet evening and noticing all the birds. The magic of this place really comes out when you take the time to slow down and listen.

    Wildlife in Grand Teton National Park.
    Photo by Nick Sulzer
    Learn to appreciate beauty with and without the crowds

    That’s the narrative I grew up with. My beautiful town, Jackson, is known for its hospitality. We take great pride in sharing our favorite and most beautiful spaces with every visitor. If you love something, share it. We want to share the gifts the land has given us with everyone because we know they’re not ours to keep. If you’re worried about the crowds that summer in Jackson attracts, remember that you’re visiting for the same exact reasons as everyone else, and everyone deserves to experience the magic of this place. There’s no need to rush here; a little bit of patience goes a long way.

    If you want to avoid the crowds altogether, I suggest getting an early start and sticking around until sunset. This way the crowds will come and go while you’re still outside enjoying all that Jackson has to offer.

    Summer Sunset in Grand Teton National Park.
    Photo by Shannon Corsi

    Adventure starts here.

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    From awe-inspiring encounters with nature to wild and western activities every kind, Jackson Hole offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences, 365 days a year.

    Eager to glimpse your first bear, moose, or wolf? Challenge yourself with a run down black diamonds or class III rapids? Hook an 18-inch cutthroat? Meet a real cowboy? Watch a Teton sunset? This place is full of experiences you won't find that at home, or anywhere else for that matter. In Jackson Hole, wild adventures aren't just possible—they're already here waiting for you.