Yellowstone & Grand Teton  December 2015 - January 2016

123115 - We arrived in Jackson just in time to welcome in the New Year in the Town Square

Dogsledding, 010116 - Spent the first day of 2016 dog sledding around Bridger-Teton National Forest! We booked the trip through Jackson Hole Iditarod Sled Dog Tours, which is owned and operated by Frank Teasley, an eight-time Iditarod veteran who's won awards for the humane treatment of his dogs. The company never sells or kills any of their animals, and when the older dogs retire, they move indoors and wander around to greet the visitors. The local power company donates wooden power line spools to the company, and Frank cuts out little doors and insulates the spools and lines them with hay so each dog gets his or her own little dog house. When we arrived first thing in the morning, the dogs were peering out of their homes or lounging around outside in the snow. I've never met friendlier and happier animals in my entire life; all these guys wanted to do was play in the snow and run. 

We were paired up with the awesome staff who took the first sled, then had our very own sled with six dogs. D and I shared the driving, but mostly I just chose to ride in the sled to take photos. Despite morning temperatures near -17ºF, the day turned out to be absolutely beautiful with bright sunshine and clear skies. The dogs apparently get too hot when it breaks 0ºF, so it really just turned out to be a perfect day for everyone. 

Snowshoeing, 010116 - After our dog sled adventure, we headed into to Grand Teton National Park to wander around for the last few hours of daylight. Turns out that snowshoeing through multiple feet of powder is an extremely efficient way to warm up quickly. 

0101616 - Thawing out back in the hotel room. 

Snowmobiling, 010216 - I'd been wanting to visit Yellowstone in the winter for a while, and on Saturday, we finally made it. We left Jackson to pick up our snowmobile around 7 am, then headed into the park via the South Entrance to snowmobile more than 130 miles over the course of the entire day. Stopped to admire some of the geysers, ate our lunch in one of the warming huts by a wood stove, visited the Upper Falls overlook on the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, saw numerous herds of bison in the distance and pulled over to allow a coyote to cross the road in front of us. Temperatures started near -20ºF before sunrise, and although we ended up with another beautiful clear sunny day, cruising along at 45 MPH in a snowmobile is not exactly the warmest thing I've ever done. Cold weather and all, however, I'm pretty sure that Yellowstone in the winter is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.