2010 Aug 23 – Day 12 – Jackson, Wyoming

Well.  Finally, we left Yellowstone and all my long, photo-heavy blogs.  After our busy four days in the park we took it easy on our first day in Jackson.

Jackson Hole is the name of the valley where the town of Jackson is located.  Many people wrongly refer to the town as Jackson Hole. In fur trade jargon, a Hole, is an open valley surrounded by mountains. The main attractions in Jackson, aside from its old-west vibe and history, are the elk antler arches at the four corner entrances to the town square. They were erected in the 1960’s and are being replaced or re-furbished as needed. The National Elk Refuge borders the town of Jackson so a constant supply of antlers is available for the arches.  The difference between antlers and horns, by the way, is that antlers fall off naturally each year and are solid.  Horns have to be cut off and are hollow.

When I was young there were many wonderful western movies starring John Wayne, James Stewart, Sam Elliott and others.  I loved cowboy shows and when we got a TV the Lone Ranger and Gunsmoke were two of my favourite series.  Obviously I am also a country music fan and the 1963 Johnny Cash/June Carter hit, “Jackson” is one of my favs. It was not written with Jackson, Wyoming in mind (I think the song writer was thinking of Jackson, Tennesse) but I still had the song lyrics in my head every day.  And, even though Jackson’s roots are steeped in the fur trade and mountain men like Jim Bridger and Jedediah Smith rather than cattle ranching and cowboys, I still loved being there.

Grand Teton National Park boundary is only about 5 miles from Jackson and the town is about 60 miles from the south entrance to Yellowstone.  These two popular parks bring over 2 million tourists to the area every year.

All we did was wander around town a bit and watch the street ‘gunfight’ show.  The Jackson Hole Playhouse cast performs the show every evening at 6:15, Monday through Saturday.  It has been a tourist staple since 1957.

Earlier in the day we had purchased tickets to the dinner theater performance of “Annie Get Your Gun,” so after the street show we walked down to the Playhouse for dinner and some good, old-fashioned western entertainment.

A fun fact: In 1920 the first all-woman city government was elected in Jackson (council and mayor) which promptly appointed women to the posts of city marshall, clerk and treasurer.

We enjoyed the quiet day before we took off the next day to check out the Grand Tetons.

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