Jackson Hole

Ballooning in Jackson Hole

Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride over the Mighty Tetons

Up, up and away in a beautiful Jackson Hole balloon – isn’t that how the song goes? Ballooning in Jackson Hole is one of the must-do’s in the Tetons – for those who feel like getting up in the wee small hours – and have about $300 per person to spend for about an hour in the air. Still – there’s a champagne (Mimosa) breakfast for those who are, literally, on vacation. Summer vacation – that is.

As if being a Massage Professional in Jackson Hole isn’t enough, our very own Rochelle Ganoe got up at 4am yesterday (heretofore, there was no such time as 4am) and went ‘Balloon Chasing’ – that is – she was part of a crew of people who ‘chase’ the balloon to wherever it lands, and then help to put the whole shebang back on the truck and the customers into a van.

Imagine watching the sunrise over Blacktail Butte as the sun’s rays illuminate the Grand Tetons at the start of a new day. Hot air ballooning is always an amazing experience, but the views in the Jackson Hole region are truly breathtaking. Whether you’re planning a drive through Grand Teton National Park, whitewater rafting on the Snake River, or a shopping excursion in the town of Jackson, hot air ballooning is a peaceful way to start your day in Jackson Hole.  Also known as Hot Air Ballooning, it’s a spectacularly colorful event – yards and yards of brightly-colored fabric fill with air and take off into the still morning skies above the Tetons.

The following companies offer Ballooning in Jackson Hole: Elevated Ballooning, Teton Balloon Flights, Wyoming Balloon Company.

Jackson Hole Activities

Jackson Hole Activities

Image of sign showing Jackson Hole Activities

Posts from Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole now include Jackson Hole Activities. Occasionally moving away from typical massage-based blog posts, I am continuing with a Jackson Hole Activities theme. And this week, it’s one of the favorite Jackson Hole Activities. But don’t let that stop you – visitors to Jackson Hole can have a hoot with this one too. Yes, visitors to Jackson Hole can become a ‘Howdy-for-A-Day’ and volunteer with local business people (members of the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce) for a day of welcoming people to ‘The Hole’.

 

The Howdy Pardner Ambassador Club hosts the Airport Welcome program on weekends during ski season at the Jackson Hole Airport. It’s one of the most popular Jackson Hole Activities. Look for the cowboy hats and stop by to say, “Howdy!” The volunteers will share orange juice and mimosas with arriving visitors. They will also answer questions about Jackson Hole. 

 

The Howdy Pardners Ambassador Club, founded in 1977, is the hospitality arm of the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce. Dressed like the cowboys and cowgirls who settled this valley in the early 1900’s, the Howdy Pardners roll out the red carpet at the Jackson Hole Airport. They greet visitors with mimosas, orange juice and hatpins. And that’s just one of the many Jackson Hole Activities.

But that’s not all they do: The Howdy Pardners Ambassador Club spreads good will and community spirit within the Jackson Hole area. Howdy Pardner volunteers are folks working in our area that donate their time to perform various activities, such as:

Image Showing Jackson Hole Activities.4

  • Meet and greet arriving visitors at the Jackson Hole Airport each winter with welcoming free “mimosas” for adults and orange juice for the kids. 
  • Sponsor the much anticipated “Jackson Hole 4th of July Parade”.
  • Host the Elk Fest Chili Cook-Off in early May.
  • Sponsor “Pinky Painting” in the Park for children at the annual “The Taste of the Tetons” during the Fall Arts Festival.
  • Hhelp showcase new businesses in Jackson by performing ribbon cutting ceremonies and participating in business community mixers. 
  • Howdy Pardners are easily recognized by their signature uniforms of jeans, red shirts or khaki shirts with the “Howdy Pardners” logo on the arm. They also wear a vest and cowboy hats.

 

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle.

Jackson Hole Moose – Love Them

Jackson Hole Moose –  Love Them

 

Who can resist a Jackson Hole moose – or a few of them? And no, the plural of Moose isn’t ‘Moosen’ – like Ox and Oxen – it’s simply ‘Moose’ or perhaps ‘More Moose’ – but I digress. Just out in this week’s Jackson Hole News and Guide is a report about encouraging numbers of moose in the Jackson Hole area right now – even after a particularly heavy winter, in which we had near record snows in February and we are currently at 144% of snow-pack for the time of year.

 

Since the 1980’s, moose numbers have declined precipitously – perhaps as much as 85% – so it’s encouraging when a recent moose count, provided by volunteers of Jackson Hole citizens in an overall effort of ‘nature-mapping’, showed an increase of 38 animals in the past year. The current number of moose counted in Jackson Hole was 275. These numbers were melded with numbers from ‘Moose Day’ – a different counting effort, also by volunteers, that took place on March 1st.

What is most important and encouraging is the ratio of calves to cows (the cow-calf ratio), which is currently a healthy 37 calves for every 100 cows. In 2008 it was just 15. However, this is just an encouraging blip in an overall downward trend…like a rainstorm in a long drought – so we have to continue to be concerned. (But, to be absolutely truthful and honest – moose are not indigenous to this area.)

 

Some would say that the decline in moose population is due to wolf predation. And that is true to some degree – wolves eat moose calves (as well as most other baby and young animals – especially elk), and adults when desperate.

 

But the wolves were introduced in 1995 and the moose population was in decline some years before that. The other moose-killer is humans in their automobiles, poaching – and habitat in decline. Addressing the last, biologists are also happy to report that willow habitats, aka Moose-brush, are looking healthy – and in better shape than surrounding areas to Jackson Hole. Read all about it at Jackson Hole’s Nature Mapping web site.

 

So come on to Jackson Hole to visit the moose. There are plenty of wildlife safari companies to take you an tours and, who knows, you might just see moose right in the middle of town. We’ve seen them right at the office of Massage professionals of Jackson Hole.

Jackson Hole moose in Jackson

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle.

 

 

 

Hot Springs near Jackson Hole

Hot Springs near Jackson Hole

This is the third in a series of three articles about hot springs near Jackson Hole. Of course, ‘near’ is a relative term – so I’m talking about drives of ninety minutes or so from the town of Jackson, Wyoming. And this all started with the question: what do Jackson Hole Massage Professionals do during the off-seasons? – And just about any other local who gets to stick around for the slow times.

To find the third hot springs near Jackson Hole  we’re moving on to Granite Hot Springs

 Granite Hot Springs near Jackson Hole

– which is South of Jackson Hole off  Hoback Canyon on the way to Pinedale. It takes about 45 minutes to get to the Granite Creek Junction, deep within Hoback Canyon (Granite Creek is a tributary of the Hoback River). From the junction there, it’s ten miles east on a well-graded (mostly) dirt road to the hot springs. It’s a bumpy, dusty, stunningly beautiful drive up there – deep into the Gros Ventre Mountains which are massively high in the background behind the hot springs camp site. The camp site itself is lovely – not to do with the hot springs themselves…no – this just happens to be a Forest Service camp ground nearby – and it’s a great value at $14 per tent site. (Last time I looked.) Anyway – great spot of you’ve got a pop-up camper and want to spend some fun time in the out-doors, surrounded by Pine forest. In winter it’s a popular snow mobile destination – but in my view that kills the whole idea. It’s a long way on skate or classic Nordic touring skis – but do-able and the hot springs afterwards is a treat.  You don’t have to pay to go into the hot springs pool itself – there’s another hot spring in a rock wall and there are pools below to catch the hot water – which mixes with Granite Creek itself to cool it down. This is a neat spot because a major waterfall roars right beside you. Not bad for hot springs near Jackson Hole.

Image showing waterfall beside Granite Hotsprings

The hot springs pool is different from the other two mentioned. It’s completely open with just a short fence around it – and it’s curved outer wall hugs a mountain alcove – down whose slippery walls runs this steaming hot spring water.  Where the water falls into the pool – is where it is hot. The further you move away from the source of the spring – the cooler it gets. So it’s fun to cruise in and out of warm and cooler zones that circulate the pool. Right in against the cliff is where you hand out for warmth. There’s no specific temperature set for this pool as it is affected by snow-melt. The pool is an azure, milky blue and of course it’s just dreamy to be there like all the rest of them.

Image showing Granite hot springs 3

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle

 

 

Hot Springs near Jackson Hole (Part II)

Hot Springs near Jackson Hole (Part II) – Heise Hot Springs

Rochelle celebrated her birthday for the second year at Heise Hot Springs just last week.

image showing Heise Hot Springs

There were about sixteen of us (not all massage therapists) and we all made the pleasant drive over Teton Pass, then Pine Creek Pass (turn left in Victor, ID), past the ‘World-Famous’ Square Ice-Cream Store at the Swan Valley Junction.

 

Then it’s 30 minutes of driving through vast potato plantations and all the while alongside the mighty Snake River. So to put you better in the picture, it’s about 3/4 of the way to Idaho Falls from Jackson Hole – turn off the road (right) at a couple of large potato silos, drive a few miles towards the Snake River (delightfully, the hot springs are right on one of the Snake River braids) through small farming communities (Ririe) – and you’re there. Here’s a Google Map: 5116 E. Heise Rd., Ririe, ID 83443

 

The hot pools and buildings themselves are standard fare, though a handsome old two-story brick house with dormers dominates the scene. That’s where the owners live. There’s an open-air ‘warm’ swimming pool (92’F)- surrounded by walls to keep out the weather, and at one end of that, covered by a canopy, is the hot pool – kept at 104’F. We found this to be a delightful temperature to hang out in for half an hour at a time. These two pools are kept open all winter and it’s a wonderful way to spend a day when skiing just doesn’t sound that great and the longs months of winter in Jackson Hole are getting OLD.

 

If lazing around in warm or hot pools isn’t your ball of wax – and you have kids with you – then in the summer time there’s a whole plethora of activities: zip line, open air swimming pool (open only Memorial Day through Labor Day), flume, RV and camping, gorgeous park by the river with picnic tables and BBQ grills. When we were there, the willows overhanging the river were just coming into leaf – like in the photo here – and it was a beautiful scene.

 

– and there’s even golf. Pizza can be had at a basic small restaurant on site – and it’s nice to sit out there on their sheltered deck and watch the golfers coming in. But we were there just to ‘chill’ – or, I should say, warm up while we chilled – oh well…you know what I mean.

Next week…another hot springs near Jackson Hole – Granite Creek.

Be well,

Hamish and Rochelle

 

 

 

Hot Springs near Jackson Hole

Hot Springs near Jackson Hole

We’re deep in the off-season now in Jackson Hole. And the weather can be ‘iffy’. What do massage therapists and other seasonal workers in Jackson Hole do with themselves in the off-season? One of our favorite things  is to go to hot springs – all of which are about 90 minutes from Jackson.

 

Rochelle and I paid our first visit to Green Canyon Hot Springs recently, This is on the way to Rexburg, Idaho. To get to it from Jackson Hole, you have to drive over Teton Pass to Victor, north to Driggs and then towards Rexburg. The Green Canyon Hot Springs is about half-way between Driggs and Rexbuirg – four miles south at highway mile marker 116 on Hwy 33 in the northern foothills of the Big Hole mountains – which flank the western edge of Teton Valley, Idaho. I can’t believe I’ve lived in Jackson Hole for thirteen years and never been there before. It’s an absolute delight. There are two pools – one is an Olympic sized swimming / playing pool with temps of about 96’F, the other pool is pure relaxation with temps at about 105’F. These are fed from a spring that emerges from the ground at 115′. The hot springs have been run by the same family since 1953 – the present building was built in 1947. It’s definitely showing its age and needs some TLC – but then there’s just tons of character.

 

The hot pool area itself is what one might imagine as ‘Heaven’. It’s like a greenhouse and all painted a light blue. There’s a surreal feeling of peace and well-being. (Hence relevant to this massage blog.) The temperature of 105’F is a little much to stay in for long – but steps emerge from the pool and you can submerge yourself in there as little or as much as you like – and of course take a dip in the cooler pool when you need to. Speaking of which…there’s a ‘Plunge Pool’ at 55’F – quite a shocking quick dip in there will do much to cool you down, that’s for sure.

 

The drive to Green Canyon Hot Springs is really quite delightful – through potato fields that are typical of Idaho, it’s nice to see this way of life and the farms laid out. And the views of the Tetons on our return Journey towards the Teton Valley…stunning:

 

 

Overall, an afternoon there (or a day – take a picnic – or a couple of days – go camping with the kids) is relaxation defined. Ahhh…we love off-seasons on Jackson Hole.

Next week I’ll talk about the other two hot springs near Jackson Hole – Granite Creek, up Hoback Canyon, and Heise Hot Springs – also in Idaho but on the way to Idaho Falls.

Be well,

 

Rochelle and Hamish

 

Ski Resort Cycles

Ski Resort Cycles

If you’re looking for some deep wisdom about massages, giving massage, receiving massage, the benefits of massage, the business of massage – you might not wish to read on. Occasionally I digress into discussion about life in Jackson Hole – as lived by massage therapists here. Overall – we lead not such a bad life – especially when it’s end-of-ski-season PARTY TIME.

As I write this post, Rochelle – otherwise an almost completely sane massage therapist in Jackson Hole, has gone skiing with a tutu round her waist and a small stuffed bird attached to her shoulder. Yes folks, it’s ‘Gaper’ Day on the slopes of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. As if concerts by Karl Denson, Blues Traveler and Michael Franti weren’t enough – it is PARTY WEEK here in Jackson Hole. Over the weekend we had the ski-season-end multi-faceted race – the PPP (Pole Pedal Paddle) – but we’ll get back to that soon. Meanwhile – back to Gapers…What’s a Gaper? You might ask… Well – it’s a rather derogatory term for people who are well behind on the ski fashion curve – to put it mildly. It’s a throw-back and a poking of fun at how absurd ski fashions looked – oh just so recently – and how we thought we were so cool in wearing them.

 

 

Here’s the Wiki definition:

The day (usually April Fool’s Day or thereabouts) when all the mountain employees and locals who don’t have to work dress up in absurd tourist outfits and imitate all the dumb gapers we have to deal with the rest of the year. Usually involves lots of neon clothing, ridiculous stunts, and massive amounts of alcohol.
“It’s gaper day! I’m going to wear my dad’s 80’s onesy.”
Now, this isn’t to say that Jackson Hole has dibs on Gaper Day – no way – it’s a phenomenon that has spread throughout ‘cool’ ski resorts all over the country (and maybe Europe for all I know.) But frankly – it’s hilarious wherever it takes place.
The other thing I mentioned above is the Pole Pedal Paddle, or PPP (which this year has added two additional legs for the first time and so it becomes the PPPPP). As the name suggests, it a multi-legged, multi-skilled race from the top of Jackson Hole’s aerial (the first leg is on Alpine skis) tram to a place on the Snake river many miles away and several thousand feet lower on the banks of the Snake River (the last leg is in kayaks or other river craft). In between those two legs, there’s Nordic (cross-country) skiing, and road-biking.
There are ‘serious’ race classes, where athleticism counts and winning is a serious goal. There are more casual classes, where simply competing and completing the course is the goal; there are relay teams if all of the various skills are better shared among a group of friends or business colleagues; and then (again), there’s the ‘party’ class – where costumes count and nobody really cares who completes what – just get the prize for the best costume. Again, this race is not just a Jackson Hole thing – many ski resorts, with a river nearby, will have their own PPP races.
It’s a great and fun event for all. Entry fees and other fund-raising activities to to help finance our very own Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club.
Teams are formed by local companies – whether serious, relay or costume based – and the whole thing helps, among this entire week of festivities, to round-out yet another ski season at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
Yet the end of one season is the beginning of another. Whilst many may lament the end of ski season – well, we’ve had it since November and it’s time to move on…spring and summer in the Tetons are just around the corner – and I’ll have lots to write about that in my next post.
Be well,
Hamish and Rochelle

Jackson Hole is Awesome

Jackson Hole is Awesome

Why is Jackson Hole Awesome? I’ll tell you why Jackson Hole is awesome…we get an end-of-ski-season concert – Michael Franti and Spearhead – FOR FREE!!!  Howdya like that??

 

And just to warm us up, the party started on Friday evening with Blues Traveler – and if you need warmed up for that – there’s even a previous FREE concert on Thursday evening with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe (Who??? – Think Lenny Kravitz’s band and Slightly Stoopid.)

I tell you what – being a massage professional in Jackson Hole is just the best. Not only do we get free rock concerts night after night at the end of season, we get to ski in the mornings (skiers don’t generally want massages before 2pm – so that’s fine because all the powder is gone by then anyway). Let’s see – oh yes – before I’m off the concert thing – three years ago we had Grace Potter and the Nocturnals…boy – can she belt it out!

 

So what else is great about being a massage professional in Jackson Hole – well – it’s just gob-smacking gorgeous around here for one thing, and the opportunities to get out there and play in it are never-ending. Grand Teton National Park is right on our doorstep with the magnificent and mighty Teton Mountains to go hiking in.

 

You don’t have to be into big scary mountaineering to enjoy them – there’s no end to possibilities for those who are into just nice day-hiking – or you could get more abitious and get up into the really high-country, take a tent with you, and spend a night or more out there in the wilderness. A couple of years ago Rochelle and I hiked the Teton Crest Trail – three nights on the watershed ridge that separates the two Teton Counties of Wyoming and Idaho. (I wrote and photographed for an article about this, which will be published in Teton Valley Magazine this summer.)

Image showing Hamish and Rochelle hiking the Teton Crest Trail

Oh no – I’m already running out of space and I haven’t begun to tell you about the bicycling we do here – be it road biking or mountain biking – easy or gnarly trails – there’s just tons of it. You can’t go mountain biking in Grand Teton National Park, however because of the no mechanized vehicles on park trails. (A good thing in my view.)

 

And then there’s rafting on the Snake River! We’re very lucky to have our own boat – and have had for many years.

 

The Snake River has a large variety of river sections from mellow and peaceful flowating through the park, viewing the Tetons, to a fun white-water run through the Snake River Canyon – about 11 miles south of Jackson. Commercial rafting is a big industry around here in the summers. Jackson Hole supports maybe a dozen river outfitters. If you want to float or have a whitewater experience on the Snake River, I recommend Barker-Ewing (for who I rowed many years ago), or Dave Hansen Whitewater (for whom my son rowed last summer).

 

Maybe I’ll write another post on this topic when I can get into the parasailing, nordic skiing, horse-back trail-riding, mountaineering, kayaking and all the other ‘ings’ you can think of.

But the best thing about being a self-employed massage therapist in Jackson Hole is that we don’t have to go anywhere to immediately immerse ourselves in a ‘wonderful world’ – it’s  literally right out of our front door. In fact, I think I’ll go for a walk right now…

 

Be well,

 

Hamish and Rochelle

Changing it up.

Changing it up

‘Blogging about all things massage, and all things Jackson Hole’

 

For our millions of readers here at the Massage Professionals of Jackson Hole blog – you may have noticed several changes in direction with this blog. At first there was the stumbling, fatalistic – nobody-reads-this-anyway-and-I’d-rather-be-skiing  – sort of attitude where, as long as I interjected relevant keyword phrases on a regular basis – it would do…right?

 

But then I started to get a passion for the blog writing – and I thought a decent ‘angle’ would be to write about Rochelle and me and our nascent massage professions and business – and take readers along with us on that bumpy ride that started while we lived in a motel room at the Virginian Lodge. Not a bad theory. In my days of writing for ‘Sail’ magazine, I wrote as a sailor new to boat ownership and voyaging in general – and wrote articles for those in that same stage of boating – learn with me as I discover. (See my published articles.)

 

But then Rochelle and I went back to McKinnon massage school in Oakland, CA for two months last fall. This in itself got me much more fired-up about massage in general and I decided to report on my learning curve and start to give my ten cents worth about giving massage – and about receiving massage. I’ve had suggestions like “Write about healthy lifestyle tips, great healthy recipes, smoothies, Yoga articles” – none of which would contain keywords relevant to massage in Jackson Hole. But most of all – while I do participate in a very active, healthy, good-eating lifestyle – to write about it, on top of the gazillions of others out there doing so – would bore the kilt off of me (yes folks, I’m Scottish born and raised – hence the Gaelic name, Hamish.)

 

And now, most recently, I’ve been advised to become a travel resource for in-coming visitors and tourists to Jackson Hole and the Teton area – perhaps even the state of Wyoming…wow – a tall order – but it seems like a great idea – thus the last three blog posts about things to do in Jackson Hole. All for the sake of improving our web site’s  position on Google and other search engines.

 

So – what am I supposed to do? What is best to write about that keeps me sane; will contain the essential keywords; will interest the (millions of) readers; and yet stick to some logical, reasonable theme? Well – Rochelle and I were out for a walk yesterday and we decided to blanket the whole thing in a tag-line for the blog: “Blogging about all things Massage, and all things Jackson Hole.” What do you think of that? And you know what – I even think I’ll just write about what I darn-well please.

Be well,

Rochelle and Hamish

 

Jackson Hole Activities – Visit the National Elk Refuge

Jackson Hole Activities – Visit the National Elk Refuge

 

In our work as massage therapists in Jackson Hole, where our clients are often from out of town, we find ourselves as a resource of information about the area. So this blog will now occasionally cover the many wonderful things there are for people to do while in Jackson Hole. With summer season coming right along, We’ll cover events and activities, from ‘mainstream’ tourism attractions, to more subtle activities and organizations etc. – more for locals’ participation.

 

With the near-record heavy snows of February and early March now on the wane, spring has come to Jackson Hole with warm mid-day temperatures and lingering light, and this is no more obvious than on the National Elk Refuge. The refuge abuts the Eastern portion of the town of Jackson and thousands of elk (official count just in this month 1s 11,600)  can be seen across the vast expanse of the Elk Refuge as it spreads out north towards Grand Teton National Park and east to the Gros Ventre Mountains. It’s mid-March and time for bull elk to start shedding their antlers – which they will do through April. Soon after shedding, their new velveted antler growth begins. During April and May, elk begin drifting from the Refuge, following the receding snowline toward their summer ranges in the high country. Calves are born in protected areas along the migration route in late May and June.

 

Birds flock to the refuge during their spring migration. Yes, there’s more than just elk here – the refuge preserves and restores habitat for endangered species, birds, fish and other big-game animals such as Bison. It’s not unusual to see coyotes, bear, red fox and even wolves there.

 

 

The next three months will bring much activity to the elk refuge as they prepare to start their migration and eventually move to their summer habitats. While there’s still snow on the ground, an excellent way to see this up-close and personal is by taking a horse-drawn sleigh-ride right in among the herds.

 

There’s plenty of information to be had about this on the National Elk Refuge’s web site.   Jackson Hole’s National Elk Refuge is run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. And after you’re all done with that…a nice massage would be just the thing to finish off the day – don’t you think?

Be well, Hamish and Rochelle.