One More For Your Bucket List

elizname2smallTanya’s recent blog about Lake Tahoe inspired me to tell you about one of my favorite spots. Crowned by the majestic Tetons, Jackson Hole, Wyoming is a must for any bucket list. Located just south of Yellowstone National Park, the place is stunningly, mind-blowingly beautiful.

jackson-1The peaks of the Teton Range rise up from the valley floor to an altitude of 13,770 feet at the highest peak. The surrounding park area is populated by moose, bear, bison, pronghorn antelope and the world’s largest elk herd. The town of Jackson is a tourist mecca, featuring great shops and restaurants. For art lovers, a strikingly designed museum north of town features some of the world’s best wildlife art.  (Hey, that’s me in the photo, my best side.)

Jackson Hole was discovered by non-native Americans in the early 1800s, not long after the Lewis and Clark expedition.  The valley was named in 1829, after mountain man Davy Jackson, who claimed it as his favorite place to hole up. (“Hole” was the mountain man word for a valley surrounded by mountains.) The woman-hungry French trappers were also responsible for naming the peaks Les Trois Tetons-the three big breasts.

During the homesteading period, the short growing season and long, snowy, sub-zero winters kept all but the hardiesjackson-3t settlers out of the valley. One of those settlers, a rancher named Pierce Cunningham, circulated a petition to have Jackson Hole saved for the “education and enjoyment of the Nation as a whole.” That was the beginning of a decades-long battle to save the valley from exploitation. Much of that battle was fought in the halls of congress. One senator, with his own substantial interests in cattle, sheep and mining, was successful in blocking protection of Jackson Hole for years. Finally his disgusted constituency back home voted him out of office. But the preservationists still had the problem of raising money to buy enough land for a park. In 1927 philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr., founded the Snake River Land Company so he and others could buy land in the area incognito and have it held until the National Park Service could administer it. The company launched a campaign to purchase more than for $1.4 million but faced 15 years of opposition by ranchers and a refusal by the Park Service to take the land. A smaller area was approved for a national park in 1929. But it wasn’t until 1950 that the Rockefeller Purchase became part of Grand Teton National Park as we know it today.

A number of celebrities have homes in Jackson Hole, including Uma Thurman, Dick Cheney and Harrison Ford, who flies his own helicopter in and out and sometimes takes part in search and rescue operations on the peaks. If you can’t see the place for yourself, I suggest you rent the classic Western movie “Shane” which was filmed there. It’s the next best thing to visiting. 

Do you have a bucket list of places you’d like to visit in your lifetime?  What’s on the top of your list (or would be if you had one)?

cowboy-christmas1Harlequin’s Western Christmas Anthology, COWBOY CHRISTMAS, with stories by Pam Crooks, Carol Finch and myself, is in stores now. Readers who post today will be entered in a drawing for two books signed by all three authors–one from me and one from Pam. Good Luck!

Don’t forget to enter our Cowboy Under the Christmas Tree Contest! 

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35 thoughts on “One More For Your Bucket List”

  1. I’d love to visit the Swiss Alps. I work with a wonderful woman who grew up there. She has tons of gorgeous pictures!! I grew up with the book/movie Heidi, her grandfather lived in the Swiss Alps.

  2. Breathtaking pictures,Elizabeth. There are so many places I’d like to see, but tops on my list has to be Australia and New Zealand. My mother’s father was an Aussie, and I’d love to find out if I have relatives Down Under. I understand they have their share of handsome cowboys, too, lol!

  3. I’ve never visited either of the places you named, Laurie and Jennie, but they’re both on my list, too. I’ve flown over the Alps–wow, just spectacular. And I’d love to see where my beloved Aboriginal art collection came from.
    And there’s something about a man with an Australian accent…sigh.

  4. There are many places I’d love to visit -or visit again: Canada -been there twice and I’ll go again, after all, I have relatives there, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, U.S.A., Austria, England…

  5. I’d love to visit so many places….one reason I love to read books like these….please enter me.

  6. I would love to go to Scotland & Ireland, so like to read about these places. I also love the west.Never been out of the country but I have been through our glorious country, from coast to coast. Thanks. Please enter me.


  7. My bucket list would include Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. I’ve always wanted to go to all three. I collect postcards (especially lighthouse ones) and I have some beautiful ones of Irish lighthouses showing the beautiful and rugged Irish coastline.

  8. I would love to see Austrailia, New Zealand and parts of South Africa. A few of my ancestors left Ireland and Scotland for parts down under and I would love to exlpore my hertiage there. I have been to Scotland and Ireland many times..

    Elizabeth I love your books…

  9. Thanks for the gorgeous pictures, Elizabeth! I love the mountains, and I always thought Wyoming would be a great place to visit. I’m too cold natured to want to live there through the winters, but there is something so rugged and beautiful about that land. I’d love to visit. (Of course, the images it provokes of ruggedly beautiful cowboys ain’t too bad, either. *grin*)

  10. I’ve been to Carlsbad Cavern and I’d love to go back.
    I want to go to Yellowstone. I want to see the Royal Gorge and somehow go down into the Grand Canyon. I’m getting old. I don’t know if I can survive a burro ride or a long hike. So not sure if that’ll ever happen.

    Now, I’m just making new additions to the list based on these posts. Lake Tahoe. The Freedom Trail in Boston. Now Jackson Hole. I could fit that in with my Yellowstone trip. The one I’m so far not taking.

  11. Elizabeth, this is one place I’ve checked off my bucket list – and you’re right, it’s magnificent. I’d love to go back.

    Right now, Maine is at the top of my list.

  12. Just returning from yoga class to all your great posts. Now trying to get caught up. Australia and New Zealand seems to be on many people’s lists, as they are on mine–maybe because they’re so beautiful and so far away that few of us get to go. And I’ve never been to Ireland–it looks just magical in photos.
    Thanks for your posts, anon., Minna, Jackie, April and Linda. Good luck in the drawing.

  13. I’ve never seen Wounded knee either, Melissa. I would expect it to be a sad and spiritual place.

    Lucky you, having been to Scotland and Ireland, Kathleen. I’ve been to Tanzania but not South Africa. Hope you can make the trip some day.

    And I hope you get to Jackson Hole, Karen. Much of Wyoming is just rolling prairie and high desert, but the NW corner of the state makes up for the rest.

  14. Mary I’ve never seen Carlsbad–that’s on my list. A dozen years ago a much younger version of me rafted the Grand Canyon and hiked out. Just about killed me. Trust me-seeing it from the top is just fine.

    Maine is on my list, too, Tracy. It looks so beautiful in pictures. Hope we both get to see it someday.

  15. I would love to vist Ireland and Scotland! This is some place I have always wanted to go! You so lucky to have been there. These photos you posted are breath taking! I can’t wait to read this book Cowboys Christmas. I love Christmas books. Thanks for sharing.

  16. The only real attraction foreign travel holds for me kinda matches my historical writing. I’d love to see ancient things. I’d like to go to Egypt and Greece. See the Coliseum in Rome. Old moldering castles in England/Scotland/Ireland. Stonehenge.

  17. If I ever won the lottery I would love to just travel the world. I was lucky to do some traveling the first 15 years of my marriage (before kids lol) and did get out west a couple of times but not to Jackson Hole. It’s beautiful out west and totally different from my home state of PA (which is also beautiful in a different way). I would love to visit Sicily (my ancestors all came from there), Yellowstone, Alaska, Scotland, Japan, Australia – and so many more.

  18. I dream of visiting Ireland & Scotland… As for having a Bucket List, I never really put any thought into it! 😀

  19. Hi, Quilt Lady–I’ve been to Scotland but not Ireland. Hope you get to go someday. And, as I’m sure you know, Mary, there are plenty of old ruins in the Southwest, some going way back.

    I’m with you, Jeanne. If I had a ton of money I would just travel, travel, travel. First class.

    A bucket list is a fun thing to do, Colleen, even if it’s just in your head. Maybe yours is just very short.

    Japan would be beautiful, Cheryl, especially the gardens and old temples. I’ve been in Japan, but all I saw was the airport. Sigh.

  20. I do have a bucket list and will be crossing off one of the items this weekend when I go see the Chippendales. Had planned to do this by my 30th birthday but that didn’t pan out so now that I’m almost 40 I better get a move on. I think it’s going to be a hoot and I hope I don’t make too much of a spectacle of myself.

  21. LOL, Jody! Now THAT’S a great bucket list item. Didn’t know the Chippendales were still around. If it’s the originals they could be pretty old by now. (but I’m betting they’re cute young replacements). Go ahead, make a spectacle of yourself! Just wish I could go with you.

  22. So many many places – the castles of Ireland, Wales & England, Egypt, Hawaii, Australia, Prince Edward Island, Canada; just to name a few. I could really go on and on. I hope to get to do some traveling one of these days, more than just in my home state. lol


  23. Greece has always been at the top of my list, but I would take Ireland too. 🙂 My grandfather traveled all over the world for business, and I grew up with his stories and photos, so I’ve always wanted to see the world.

  24. My favorites, in no particular order, include
    Italy, Australia, Scotland, France, England,
    Canada, and all of the USA, especially Hawaii!

    Pat Cochran

  25. My DH and I finally made it to the Tetons and Yellowstone 3 years ago. Unfortunately, there were fires in the area, and the glorious clear vistas seen in your pictures and most others was not in evidence. There was a haze in the air and it was worse in Yellowstone. The roads were actually smoked over in a few places.
    It was still a wonderful trip and we’d like to go back.
    Have a long bucket list. First on it right now is Scotland/Ireland/England. We are working on the National Parks here in the US until we can make the big UK type trip. Then we’ll start working on the rest of the world.

  26. My husband and I have been lucky enough to visit almost every state and now we would like to see Europe. The first place I would like to visit is England. My father recently passed away and he was stationed there during World War 2. I was almost 1 by the time he came home. He and my mother visited England several times. They have told me so many interesting places to visit there. I would also love to see Ireland someday.

  27. Thanks for your posts, Judy, Patricia, Pat, Karen W., Diedre and Sara. I’ve enjoyed reading about the places you want to visit, and you’ve all made it into the drawing for the books.

    Please check back in the morning to see if you’ve won.

  28. Elizabeth,
    I was just in Jackson last month, and I agree – it quickly become one of my favorite places. We went fishing on Jackson lake in the afternoon, and the Lodge prepared those trout for our dinner. It doesn’t get any fresher than that!

    I’ve always wanted to visit London and Paris, and my friend is taking me there in December to do some Christmas shopping. Bless her for having a LOT of miles and needing a traveling companion.

  29. Thanks for your comments, Robyn, Deborah and Dina. Sorry you missed the drawing, but it’s great to hear about the places on your lists.

    Hey, Deborah, we could have been in Jackson at the same time! I was there last month, too. Wasn’t it gorgeous?

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