Sunday, July 25, 2010
Jackson Hole is a big valley in Wyoming formed by the Grand Teton Mountain Range on the western side and the Gros Ventre range on the eastern side. It’s called a "hole" because in the early days trappers or mountain men, who primarily entered the valley from the north and east and had to come down relatively, steep slopes, which gave the sensation of entering a hole. The valley is covered by sagebrush with the occasional tree dotted through it. The Tetons rise majestically from the valley floor, giving the area a dramatic effect no matter where in the valley you are when you see them. The Snake River runs through the valley from its beginning in Yellowstone in the north to Snake River Canyon at the southern tip of the valley. The average altitude of the valley is over 6,500 feet. Blacktail Butte is a prominent landform rising from the valley floor; it’s a principal landmark in Jackson Hole and has several large sedimentary rock outcroppings that are a popular place for recreational rock climbers.
The town of Jackson, Wyoming, is at the southern end and the valley is home to the National Elk Refuge, which has the largest elk herd on earth. This low-lying valley surrounded by mountains with its rivers and streams, is a great place to spot a lot of wildlife like; beaver, white-tailed deer, mule deer, pronghorn antelope bighorn sheep and of course, Bison. It is also home to moose, elk, coyotes, wolves, Bald Eagles, owls and grizzly bears.
The area has become more mild west than wild west thanks to all the art galleries and high-end hotels, the city of Jackson is five miles from southern boundary of the Grand Teton National Park. The city is centered around a tree-shaded square highlighted by an arch of tangled elk antlers at each corner, it’s quite impressive. The boardwalks of the town are still the Old West style and there are many boutiques, galleries, restaurants and bars and an impressive global collection that rivals Cody's Buffalo Bill Historical Center for best museum in the region. They still, however offer stagecoach rides and host several rodeos in the year, so all the ‘wild’ isn’t completely lost.
Winters here are harsh but beautiful; time may be spent taking a horse-drawn sleigh ride among a 7000-strong herd of elk, skiing, even night skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling are also popular.
Summer however is the busiest time of the year in this region, with people taking road trips to both the Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. The resorts such as Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Snow King Resort and the Grand Targhee Resort, that in the winter offer skiing, snowboarding and such, open in the summer too with their lifts taking people to mountain biking, hiking, back packing, hang gliding and paragliding. Two other popular things to do are Llama tours and the ever popular water rafting, these are both wonderful ways to see the valley. Rafting tours can be booked for either the leisurely sightseeing adventure or the hair raising white water rafting experience or, if you’d like to do both you can book a combo trip. This area of the country is beautiful and if you ever get the chance to see it you should go.
Posted by FLDays at 12:53 PM
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
It’s the middle of the summer and it’s HOT. Everyone all over the country is blazing, the Northeastern part of the country is having a record heat wave, the Deep South is baking the Midwest is sizzling and the West Coast is melting. Take heart because even though it's warm out there relief is obtainable. All over the country people have come up with a heat beating idea, full of summertime fun; the water park.
Water parks are all over, some of the best Florida water parks are in and around Orlando but what about the rest of the country? Here are just a few to check out. In Greensborough North Carolina there is Wet 'n Wild Emerald Pointe, it’s about 80 miles from Raleigh and boasts the Daredevil Drop, a hair-raising 76-foot plunge down a chute; there’s also a better known Wet N Wild in Orlando. In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina they have the Myrtle Waves Water Park that has enclosed body slides, a wave pool, LayZee river, and ride called the "toilet bowl". There’s also children's play area with water mushrooms and child sized tubes and slides.
On Jekyll Island in Georgia you’ll find Summer Waves Water Park which is 11 acres of rides including the Pirates Passage a totally-enclosed speed flume where you ride in the dark and the Force 3 two person inner tube flume, they have a wave pool and a Slow Motion Ocean you can grab a tube and float down.
The Beach Water Park is located in Mason Ohio, 25 minutes north of Cincinnati Ohio. This 35 acre park has 2,600 tons of white sand and 175 real palm trees; you’ll think you’re in Florida. It also has over 50 water rides and attractions, the main attraction is the Aztec Adventure, one of the only water coasters in the Midwest, the Cliff and Volcanic Panic are two more crowd pleasers. There is a kid’s area and a lazy river type ride with reggae and island music providing the soundtrack for your day. It’s everything your family needs for a tropical getaway in the middle of Ohio.
Texas has three similar waters parks that make up the Hawaiian Falls Water Parks: the Colony, North Garland and Mansfield. They all have water slides, an interactive rain-fortress wave pool and kids area. Utah, believe it or not has several water parks, the largest one is the Seven Peaks Water Park in Provo. They have 16 waterslides, one with a 100 foot drop, a Wave Pool, kid’s area and a giant Half Pipe tube ride. California has a series of waters parks in three different cities Sacramento, San Jose and Sam Dimas, called the Raging Waters Water Parks. The Raging Waters Parks are the largest in California and range in size from 23-50 acres. Their signature ride is the Dragon’s Den; it’s a water slide that keeps you in the dark. They have many other slides too even some with multiple shuts for racing. There's a wave pool, kid’s area and a lazy river through each. There are rides and slides unique to each park and they all offer a day of family fun.
So be sure to pick your area of the country, find a water park and get your family ready for some cool, wet fun.
Posted by FLDays at 11:14 AM