Wild Wild West
You know, like the Will Smith song? We played it, a few times. This was something different, big, very cool, and very expensive. A new experience of mountains, ranches and cowboys. And a wedding, which was the reason we traveled to Jackson hole.
Quick facts: The city is the capital of Teton County and also its only city, with 9,577 inhabitants (2010). The city is sometimes incorrectly called Jackson Hole, but this name refers to the valley, not the city itself.
Trip highlights: The wedding at a horse ranch, crazy bus driver, cowboy friends and catching up with old friends (for Alex).
Points: Local Beer 8/10 points, Margaritas 10/10 points.
Snake river lodge
Jackson Hole is the where millionaires and billionaires go to pretend that they’re cowboys, and flying in to Jackson Hole confirmed this as we saw four times as many private jets landing as commercial flights. However, the approach into Jackson Hole through the Grand Teton mountains was truly beautiful.
Getting off the plane Tess was surprised to see one shop and one shop only in the airport: Bear spray rentals. No joke, that’s all you could get at the airport. It kind of scared us a bit and at first we thought you spray it on you to keep bears away, but no, it was to spray on the bear. We decided to allow much extra space between us and potential bears.
As this town is a playground for the super wealthy, there was only black car taxis. However the (very expensive) ride from the airport ended up being worth it, as the driver that took a shortcut off the main road and through the Grand Teton National Park, where we saw a brown bear cub and its mother just off the side of the road. From a safe distance in the car though. But we have to admit, that was pretty cool and worth the price of the ride.
The hotel was located at the base of the Jackson Hole ski resort, had a spa, and a huge horse pasture across the street.
Alex and the horses
Tess is very allergic to horses, which is why she is afraid of them, and Alex knows how to ride them. The horses at the resort were very beautiful, used to visitors, and friendly because they know that visitors usually have food. In addition to having the best sparkling water that we had ever had, the grocery store on the mountain offered up some of the apples that weren’t fit to sell to customers for free as horse apples. Alex made sure to grab two to feed the horses, who made sure to run over to the fence as soon as they saw us approaching.
Tess took photos at a safe distance.
While not nearly as luxurious as our previous stay in the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Vegas, the Snake River Lodge and Spa was charming and had a fantastic indoor/outdoor pool and hot tub area.
It had a bear theme, of course, and the spa was helpful in curing our altitude related hangovers.
If happiness had a face…
Jackson hole town
The day before the wedding we decided to utilize the cheap bus service to take a ride into Jackson and explore the town. We walked around the very small town center, which felt like an old school cowboy town with a bone arch in the entrance to the town park, and a farmers market buzzing with local produce.
For lunch we decided on a Mexican restaurant: tacos and margaritas. It’s hard to get authentic Mexican food in Sweden, and this food was unlike most of the Mexican food that we’d had.
On the bus ride going back to the hotel the driver was a real character. He got super excited when I answered that I was from Sweden and started listing old Swedish actors and producers. Then he moved on to wolves. Apparently he “found out” about wolves as an adult and moved to Jackson to be close to the national parks. He talked about wolves for 35 minutes.
Let’s talk about this wedding. It was amazing. But, let’s start at the beginning.
The night before the wedding we were invited to the national wildlife museum, which they had rented out for the rehearsal dinner. Very cool venue with all kinds of art about wildlife on the Western frontier and nice food. We met a few more of the guests but mostly hung out with Alex friend Jared and his lovely wife Katie.
The night ended at the house where the bride and groom lived, and Alex got some quality time with his old friends, and Tess got to hear some stories. Walking back there was a fantastic starry night.. that Tess could not enjoy because she was scared of bears.
Diamond cross ranch
On the wedding day we got bussed to the venue which was on horse ranch. As a combination of desert and alpine climate, the days were warm and the nights were below freezing. We bussed during the day and the bus had no air conditioning, so we were all sweating by the time we arrived. All worth it though because this place was the most beautiful wedding venue we’d ever seen. Mountains in the background and horses, cows and green grass in the foreground.
The wedding was outside and the grooms father officiated, while also roasting his son. When the bride arrived they released the horses who ran behind the couple. Pretty cool!
Party was fantastic and to Alex great delight, Tess fell asleep on the bus ride back wearing a cowboy hat holding a glas of cava.
Here’s some photos from this amazing venue, and you know you can’t bring a wedding photographer to a wedding and expect her not to take photos. Even if it’s only with her phone.
Also, Tess made friends with a real cowboy.
This was really a trip of a lifetime, and we’re both very glad that we went. Thankful for being invited to such an amazing place.
This is the poster Tess created for this trip, trying to capture the beauty of this place with the feeling we got when we were there.