Adam Reporting Live from Jackson:
Andy is a friend of mine from high school. The thing that I have always known about Andy is that nothing is ever enough. In lacrosse practice no ground ball was ever scrappy enough and no suicide drill was every deadly enough. Basically, Andy is the kind of guy who takes a physical challenge as if he was on Double Dare. Just before we came to visit Andy in Jackson, he was on a 2 day/200 mile bike tour down to Utah. Long story short, staying with a person like Andy has definitely had an impact on our time in Jackson Hole. He has had us staying up late every night and getting after Jackson in every way that two travel-worn flat-landers can imagine. His personality is perfect for a town like Jackson Hole, where not even the county fair can go without an extraordinary amount of blood, sweat, and tears. The extremity of it all is fine by us though because the Teton County Fair has been the first local cultural event where the timing of it actually coincided with our trip dates. So, after a day of biking around town, learning to set up our new slack line, and getting a general feel for Jackson, we set out with Andy for the County Fair.
Now this ain’t your grandma’s county fair mind you. After all we are in the land of extreme sports and cowboys. The Teton County Fair was our first experience with the wonderful sport of figure eight rally car racing. I will explain that in a second, but first I should say that staying with Andy in the half built house had proven to have many benefits, including the fact that his next-door neighbor Tim was one of the favored competitors in the event. This helped us get an intimate look at this certifiable past-time. Basically the sport consists of shoving 10 full-sized rally cars, with drivers of varying abilities, into a smaller-than-average outdoor rodeo stadium and letting them claw at each other on a muddy figure-eight shaped death track. That may sound a bit dramatic now, but it certainly did not feel that way the first time I watched four cars bear hug each other in the center ring at full speed. The whole experience was made that much more surreal by the fact that we were sitting in the alcohol-fueled locals’ bleecher which seemed to be unofficially sponsored by the multiple bottles of Jim Beam that were being openly passed around the grand stands. Needless to say that experience was memorable (though a bit hazy). And for those of you keeping track …. Tim did not take the crown this year, but I took hundreds of pictures that I feel I could show to the committee and prove that he was in third at the end of the fifth stage!
After the smoke had cleared and the crumpled cars forklifted off of the mud caked rodeo grounds, Andy, ever tireless, suggested that we go check out the carnival. Now I am not sure if I was just much easier to please when I was a small child, but the 1 minute and 45 second giant swing ride that we took (for six dollars per person) felt like a HUGE RIP OFF! In reality though it only cost us two dollars because Andy and his friends are the most generous people alive. We carried on after that to a few of the skidders favorite nighttime haunts. A skidder, I was told, is someone who basically moves around/works often enough to support their insatiable biking, rafting, climbing, hiking, skiing, tubing, and drinking habits. It was a very fun but very, very long night and our 3am bedtime made for an interesting morning as we prepared for our day hike in Grand Teton National Park (myself being in much worse shape then Scarlett…. naturally).
We had picked a route in the foothills of the Tetons based on a suggestion from the locals to hike up to Phelps Lake and continue on to the base of Death Canyon. It was a great hike with stunning views and bone chilling snow-melt waters. In the end though, the crowds were enough to draw us back into town for another night with Andy.
This time he snuck us in to one of the local music venues/bars where we got to see a lively performance from Elephant Revival. It did not shock us too much to learn that the rag-tag team of chilled out bluegrass folk artists up on stage were from Nederland, CO where we had just come from not long ago.
Since then we have spent the past few days relaxing, hiking, biking, poaching free hot tub soaks from the ski resort, and hanging out with the Jackson Hole community. This is definitely a play hard kind of place and I will be sad to venture on so soon. As Andy has been saying to us…. “you are getting sucked into the hole!” We do plan on leaving for the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho in the morning so it will be interesting to see if we can make it out of Jackson Hole before we have to start paying rent.