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By Jack H. Smith
Three Forks Voice 

COLUMN: Jack in Jackson Hole


April 24, 2019

With a winter that won't seem to stop, I haven't been this is excited for summer in a really long time.

Although I'm moving in a few days, I'm not getting too depressed about everything that goes along with packing up everything and taking it somewhere else and instead am looking forward to sitting in the back yard and enjoying the wonderful weather. I can't wait to fire up the grill and cook outside several days a week.

This is probably the first time I've been this excited about the onset of summer since I was a little kid and every summer meant a couple trips to Jackson, Wyoming with my grandparents. I grew up three hours away from Jackson and the annual trips were some of my best memories. Along with Jackson, we would make stops at the Star Valley Ranch and would also take a trailer to camp in the Hoback area.

As a kid in the 1980's things were a lot different than they are today. We certainly weren't tied to any type of electronic device and the freedom we were given during the trips would most likely not fly today.

When we were in the camping area or Star Valley, me and my cousins would spend the entire day exploring, often times wondering miles and miles away. The adults never seemed to care as long as we showed up for lunch and dinner. They didn't ask many questions and that is probably a good thing because we were always getting into some sort of mischief.

When we would go into Jackson, it is a little different than it is today, but it was still packed with tourists everywhere. The parents would often time do their shopping and the kids were given free rein to see what Jackson had to offer.

There was a time I knew the town like the back of my hand, and as long as we showed up to eat, they never cared. On one occasion me and my cousin Brad decided we wanted to go off on our own and were wandering by a gas station when we were approached by a really scuzzy looking man and his movements started to turn aggressive. We were pretty sure he was going to try and put us in his car, so we ran and ran until we were out of breath. When we met up for lunch, we didn't tell anybody about what happened and that's was a positive because it probably would have ruined our freedom. We instead would have had to march in line behind the adults while they looked at stuff that was way too expensive.

The best part of the annual vacations was that we did it as a family. There were always great meals and great times and we often concluded our evenings by going to the playhouse. Too this day I remember how much fun it was going to see the "Unsinkable Molly Brown", and there are many similar memories.

We used to go swim at a hot spring called Astoria and we would spend hours enjoying the warm water without a care in the world.

There were also some very weird moments, like the time where my stomach got upset after eating barbecue and my grandma Smith marching down the street asking random strangers where she could get some Imodium AD because her grandson had diarrhea.

Unfortunately, the magic summers to the Jackson area became less and less and I'm just left with all the wonderful memories, well except for the near kidnapping and diarrhea.


I think back fondly on all the memories and what summer meant to me as a kid.

With my excitement for the summer of 2019, I'm thinking its time to try and make some new memories. While sitting for hours in the back yard certainly sounds like a lot of fun, I would like to spend some time again in Jackson.

It's a different place than it was, but there is still a lot to explore and chances for a lot of fun. I also hear they have reopened or are reopening Astoria which sounds awfully good on a day like this where it looks like it might snow outside.

I'm looking forward to the new memories but may have to take out a loan to visit. That part of traveling is a lot easier when you are a kid.


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