This picture was taken at sunset from The Snake River Overlook in Teton National Park. The overlook is about fifteen miles north of the town of Jackson on the outer park road.
Sunset is not the best time to take this picture. The picture works much better at dawn when the dawn light is on the foreground and the mountains. At sunset the river and mountains are very dark as you can see.
However, this image has some special memories for me.
Back a million years ago when I was in my twenties I used to be a fishing guide on Jackson Lake. I took tourists out all day long to fish for Lake Trout. And in the evenings after work I sometimes went canoeing. One of my favorite places to canoe was the Snake River. I would often go over to the Snake River Oxbow just downstream from where the Snake came out of Jackson Lake at the dam.
Usually I would just paddle around for a couple of hours and then hitchhike back to my car. But one night when paddling with one of my fishing guide buddies we got down a little farther than we had intended, and decided, “What the hell, let’s just keep going. We can get out at Moose.” So we did. By the time we got to the spot on the Snake pictured above, it was just about as light as it is in this picture. Oh-oh we thought, we aren’t going to make it to the take-out before dark.
Before long it was pitch dark and since we had never paddled this part of the Snake before we discovered that we had gotten ourselves into a bit of trouble. Luckily there are no rapids in this section of the Snake but we didn’t know that. So about the only thing we thought might be helpful was to stick the the inside of the bends where the current was maybe moving less rapidly. And we listened for rapids and sleepers and big rocks. And we hoped a lot.
This whole adventure pretty much turned out to be demonstration of the lack of foresight of twenty-something old boys.
Finally we did make it to Moose twenty or so miles downstream where we could take out. After hitchhiking back to the cabin on Jackson Lake where we lived, it was midnight and our buddies were just on the verge of calling the park rangers to tell them we were lost in the dark on the snake. Not that they would have looked until the next morning. Or maybe the next afternoon.
This was the last time I had a paddling-in-the -dark adventure on the Snake. But unfortunately I did have several more serious adventures on the Snake that summer. Twenty year olds learn very slowly.