Sunday, May 17, 2015

Day 1 - Jackson and ElkFest

Weather: scattered sprinkles, high of 52F (our new raincoats did marvelously!)
Steps walked: Shaun - 10,345; Shannon - 10,464
Varmints: only big game spotted was cows, sheep, and Canadian geese :(

We spent our first full day in Jackson poking around the town and experiencing ElkFest. The festival is built around the world famous Jackson Hole Boy Scout Elk Antler Auction, celebrating its 48th year. Every year, the Boy Scouts go into the National Elk Refuge and harvest the antlers shed by the elk over the winter. They then auction the antlers off to people from around the world who will use them to make furniture, wall decor, jewelry, and food products, while 75% of the proceeds go back to the Refuge. The auction is accompanied by the Chili Cook-Off and the Mountain Man Rendezvous on Sunday.


We actually got to watch some of the auction, and they were selling the racks by the pound. All around Town Square where the festival was taking place, there were trailers being filled with racks as the bidders won lots in the auction. 


Close by, vendors were selling antlers, horns, skulls, etc from various animals to the public. We each ended up buying two-point elk antlers, just to commemorate the occasion. 


Also on auction was the last of the original antler arches from Town Square. They were built in the 1960s and had begun to deteriorate, so they started selling them off and building new ones (see an example of a rebuilt one above). 

After we finished having our way with ElkFest, we did our part to support the local economy. We decided that Jackson is a hipster paradise, with lots of local artisanal products, and we were super impressed with how eco-friendly they seem to be. 

Our last sightseeing event of the day was taking a short jaunt down the road southwest of Jackson. It was very atmospheric, with low-lying clouds and snow-capped mountains. We can't wait to see more as we venture out of Jackson and continue on our journey.

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