Holed up in a moun­tain par­adise

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - CELEBRITY ESCAPE -

YEARS ago, when Har­ri­son Ford first drove over Wy­oming’s Te­ton Pass – 2515m high – and spied Jack­son Hole, a broad val­ley framed by the ma­jes­tic, snow-capped Grand Te­ton moun­tains with the Snake River weav­ing through town, he was awed.

I had grown up with this vi­sion of par­adise in my mind. And there it was, right in front of me,’’ the ac­tor says.

The of­fi­cial name of the town is Jack­son – for David Jack­son, the fur­trap­per and one of the first set­tlers – but we all call it Jack­son Hole.’’

One of Jack­son’s un­usual at­trac­tions is heli-ski­ing in Grand Te­ton Na­tional Park. The he­li­copter is a won­der­ful way to go up into the moun­tains. There’s a lo­cal pi­lot named Ken John­son, who flies for a com­pany called Hawkins and Pow­ers. He’s a fine, fine pi­lot,’’ Ford says.

The Na­tional Elk Refuge was cre­ated by the gov­ern­ment to feed elk be­cause the town was built in their mi­gra­tion path. Thou­sands of elk con­gre­gate in early spring and au­tumn.

Each May, the Boy Scouts and the US Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice hold an elk antler auc­tion.

Some peo­ple be­lieve the antlers have medic­i­nal pow­ers and are an aphro­disiac, which is usu­ally what they’re sold for in Asia.

The posh Jack­son Lake Lodge is the best-known ho­tel but there are oth­ers, such as the Ama­gani and the Wort. Jenny Lake Lodge has cabins, along with its main build­ing. For a bed-and-break­fast, try the Davy Jack­son Inn.

Start ex­plor­ing in the town square, which is framed by four arches made from elk horns.

There’s the Mil­lion Dol­lar Cow­boy Bar with its im­pres­sive col­lec­tion of au­then­tic spurs and other west­ern ar­ti­facts.

In con­trast, there’s Davies-Reid, which im­ports trea­sures from other re­mote moun­tain re­gions such as Ti­bet, Afghanistan and Nepal.

Don’t miss the Jack­son Hole Mu­seum. That’s the real repos­i­tory of the his­tory of this place,’’ Ford says.

If you’re hun­gry, try the pop­u­lar Snake River Grill. Regulars rec­om­mend the crispy pork shank in red chilli sauce over roasted corn and black bean salsa, ac­com­pa­nied by a cae­sar salad. When Ford’s part­ner Cal­ista Flock­hart wanted a caterer for his birth­day party, she called Te­ton Thai. And don’t for­get the New York City Sub Shop.

In nearby Moose, there’s Dor­nan’s Chuck­wagon, Dor­nan’s Pizza Pasta Com­pany and Dor­nan’s Spur Ranch.

Dor­nan’s has the best wine se­lec­tion,’’ Ford says. And in Wil­son, try Nora’s Fish Creek Inn and Otto Broth­ers’ Brew­ing Com­pany. It’s a mi­cro­brew­ery and they make darn good beer,’’ Ford says. Wil­son has much more of a lo­cal feel­ing than Jack­son. It’s more work­ing-class.’’

For en­ter­tain­ment, con­sult the free Jack­son Hole Daily or try the Mangy Moose Restau­rant and Sa­loon, where na­tion­ally known mu­si­cal acts play. For movies, it’s the Te­ton The­atre.

We call it the Sticky The­atre be­cause your feet stick to the floor be­cause of the spilt Coke,’’ Ford chuck­les.

Spas abound but the Body Sage Day Spa at the Rusty Par­rot Lodge re­mains a favourite, in part be­cause it uses lo­cal herbs and min­er­als.

While Jack­son Hole is a ter­rific place to visit, don’t plan on liv­ing there – un­less you’re very wealthy. Ninety-seven per cent of the land in Te­ton County is pub­licly owned, push­ing up prop­erty prices. The av­er­age price for a 0.4ha lot in Jack­son is now $ US1 mil­lion ($ A1.1 mil­lion). The me­dian price of a home is $ US800,000 – and it’s a busy mar­ket.

Here’s the thing about this place for me,’’ Ford says.

No mat­ter where I am, where I’ve been or what I’ve been do­ing, I land at this air­port and I am struck – over and over and over again – by the mag­i­cal beauty of it, the dis­play of na­ture.

There’s a view of the Te­tons that al­ways makes me laugh. And that’s the way this place is for me. I al­ways de­com­press here.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.