Sunsets at Jackson Lake Lodge and Lunch Tree Hill

by - June 25, 2018


From Schwabacher Landing, Jackson Lake Lodge wasn't too far a drive. I believe we stopped for a quick Bison viewing around Moran before finally making a left turn onto the grounds.


The main lodge and lobby were stunning if only for the huge window facing the mountain range. Once checked in and unpacked, we headed back the main lodge to look into dinner. Side note, most of these hotels and lodges are not air-conditioned. The warm season is so brief with chilly night temps, it just isn't sensible to have AC. However, the rooms did get hot during the day even in mid-June, so lying around in the room wasn't an option. With the available views, it would have also been a huge waste of opportunity. The dining options were pretty pricey. I wasn't about to pay $11.50 for a chilidog, and for the same price I ordered a delicious pesto grilled cheese and salad. We made the mistake of dining on the patio where there was no shade. I almost forgot that we fed the boys in the lobby before we went to the restaurant until I remembered that it was so sunny that Wookie sat under the table while we ate! There's a free tip for you parents with picky eaters -- feed kids sandwiches before you go out.



Might I add, it would not be a true family vacation if my parents did not don their weird hats. I was sitting here thinking, "Is this something that's evolved since I moved out? No. I remember them having weird hats that summer we were down in Canyon de Chelly. I had one too, and my oldest wore it with clips on it in second grade as he recited his speech on Paul Revere." So there you have it. We've had a lifetime of weird hats.

We didn't want to miss the sunset, but it turned out that sunset wasn't until 9:00 pm and the best view was a little ways up the hill. There was enough time between dinner and sunset that we took the boys for a quick and chilly swim. Joe's mom was the only adult brave enough to get in the water. I had fun yelling "Polo" from the side to taunt a group of kids playing Marco-Polo. These photos include two evenings of sunsets. It's funny to think these views are just a dime a dozen. Every evening likely rolls out this glory and we were privilege to witness just the tiniest fragment of it.



The view from Jackson Lake Lodge's patio overlooks Willow Flats, Jackson Lake, Elk Island, and the Grand Tetons. Looking out at the range, if you hike to your right, you will take a trail up a hill known as Lunch Tree Hill. We climbed the hill both evenings as the views simply couldn't be beat. The mosquito activity was intense! I think we ruined several perfect shots out of the necessity of swatting them off our faces. They sucked straight through yoga tights and the hair on my head! Lunch Tree Hill was worth it though. Here's an excerpt we ran across on the ascent:

"The summer of 1926 found John D. Rockefeller, Jr., his wife and three children, again journeying to the West.  After a visit to the Southwest and California, in July they arrived at Yellowstone for a twelve day stay.  Soon Albright was motoring his guests south to the Teton country.  The first day they picnicked on a hill (now "Lunch Tree Hill" adjacent to Jackson Lake Lodge) overlooking Jackson Lake.  Five moose browsed contentedly in the marsh below them.  Across the lake spread the majestic Teton Range.  It was a day and a view destined to have a lasting impression on Rockefeller. The following morning they continued south towards Jackson.  Rockefeller and his wife were profoundly impressed by the Leigh-String-Jenny Lake region, but were appalled by the encroaching commercialism. A rather tawdry dancehall seemed inappropriate, "unsightly structures" marred the road, and telephone wires bisected the Teton view.  Jackson Hole seemed destined for the ubiquitous uglification coincidental with unplanned tourist development.  Mrs. Rockefeller was particularly irate and asked if anything could be done.  Visual abuse led to verbal communication and soon Albright was sharing his ideas.  Returning to Yellowstone, they stopped at Hedricks Point, a bluff overlooking the Snake River which afforded a magnificent view in all directions.  It was here that Albright revealed the concerns of the Maud Noble cabin meeting three years earlier, and the plan to save not only the mountains but much of the valley spread out before them.  Although Rockefeller was noncommittal, he listened intently to Horace Albright's account of the efforts to save the valley... When Rockefeller signaled his desire to purchase the whole northern valley, it was a remarkable turn of fortune. … Within a few days after receiving the material, Rockefeller gave his approval in a letter … to purchase 'the entire Jackson Hole Valley with a view to its being ultimately turned over to the Government for joint or partial operation by the Department of Park and the Forestry Department.'" - Selections form Crucible for Conservation




How wonderful it must be to have so much wealth and influence, right? Anyhow, I'm thankful he had a vision and a desire to preserve the beauty. 


I do wish we had more time to venture down into Willow Flats and look for wildlife, but some of the trails were closed due to bear activity. When you see a sign like this, you think twice about trotting over a hill.


We bought a little point and shoot for the boys to share on the trip, and that was pretty much the only source of contention between the two for the whole week... that is if you don't count the micro aggressions regarding personal space in the minivan. It was still fun seeing them appreciating the views through a lens and then looking back through their captures.



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