I am not sure what it is about this place, but I am willing to flock there any day of the week, month, or year. I don’t believe that Jackson, Wyoming possesses some kind of unexplainable power like the Bermuda Triangle or Sedona, Arizona. I think the draw is a bit more personal for me. I just completed a 5 week long trip, that took me and my family on a tour that spanned 2 countries, 11 western states, 1 hotel, 5 houses, two cars, two bicycles, and multiple walking excursions. It was truly an experience of a lifetime. And at the end, the final excursion of the five weeks, was a stop in Jackson, Wyoming with a visit to Grand Teton National Park. This was my 47th trip to the Greater Yellowstone Region and it still came with more excitement than did my first date as a squirrelly, pimple-faced teenager.
I am not sure if others have this attraction to this place, but for some reason my wife and I do. She was the one that decided we needed to stay another day this time, during which we both wondered, why? We didn’t have the answer until the last evening that we were there, the night that we took the whole family out for a photo excursion. We were driving back to the hotel when I rounded a corner on the Antelope Flats Road and just spurted out, “Balance.” Heather looked over at me and without further explanation agreed whole heartedly. “This place is balanced.”
So what gives the Tetons their balance? On first examination this place looks completely unbalanced. There are 13,000 foot peaks rising out of a fairly flat “Hole”, if that doesn’t look unbalanced I don’t know what does. I have been thinking about it since I said it. Was I just using a word that I couldn’t back up in the end? I realized that this place holds balance everywhere even in the mix of people who reside there. There are extremely wealthy people, but there are also complete ski-bum dirtbags who live on the amazing snowpack. The eco-system is one of the most balanced places in the United States, with the re-introduction of wolves to Yellowstone in mid-90’s, this place now holds every creature that it did hundreds of years ago. The location is in a zone where Pacific storm systems still have enough power left in them to drop large sums of moisture–so it is dry, but not too dry. It is sunny and rainy. There are perfect amounts of photography subjects–wildlife, plant species, water areas for reflections, and unusual landscapes. The mountains are actually pretty balanced too, the town sits at roughly 6000 feet above sea level and those mountains are topping out 13,000, making their verticals almost as long as the town is high. My thought processes took me through everything I could think of even down to the architecture and even there, this place had balance, with a good mix of classic western structures and super modern contemporary buildings that I long for.
It is safe for me to say that I could back up my reasoning for loving this place. The town of Jackson is quirky and sophisticated and Grand Teton National Park has everything a photographer would want for eternity, from the closest abstract composition to the grandest expanse of the land. This is a place that everyone should visit for at least once to find a little balance in their lives. As for me and my wife, we are looking forward to our next trip there at the end of August, by that time my life will undoubtedly need some more balancing.