Flat Creek Inn

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Presidents in Grand Teton National Park

Happy Presidents Day! Since 1789, forty-six men have occupied the office of President of the United States. Who’s your favorite? Was it the one who fought to unify the country during the Civil War? (Lincoln, obviously.) Or the one who got stuck in a bathtub? (Taft. Look it up.) Or the one who inspired the country to fight back against the alien invaders threatening our freedom? (That one wasn’t real. That was in a movie. Sorry.) Here at Flat Creek, we don’t play favorites. However, we have a soft spot for each of the presidents who visited nearby Grand Teton National Park and probably driven past Flat Creek. Here’s the list:

Nixon

The first record we can find of a sitting president in visiting Grand Teton National Park is Richard Nixon, who posed for a photo on the shores of Jackson Lake in 1971. The visit was part of his “Legacy of Parks” proposal to extend and improve the US National Parks system. See a video clip here

Carter

Seven years later, Grand Teton once again hosted a sitting US president when Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalyn vacationed here. Carter never signed any legislation that directly impacted the park, as far as we can tell, but he did take an interest in conservation. He signed the Alaska National Interest Conservation Act, which created ten new national parks and enlarged three others. 

Bush (the first one)

George and Barbara visited many national parks during their days in the White House, including the Everglades, Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, and many more. Grand Teton was among those stops. 

Clinton

Bill Clinton visited the park with his family in 1995 to witness the release of wolves in the wild. During their stay, a thunderstorm dumped icy hail on the party. One particularly quick-witted park ranger quipped, “Hail to the chief.” We’re sure Clinton saw the humor in it at the time.

Bush (the second one)

George W. Bush took a break from official duties to stay with a family friend in 2002. That’s pretty much all we know.

Trump

Donald Trump, to our knowledge, has not visited the park. However, his wife Melania visited in 2019, meeting up with a group of elementary school children on a field trip to promote the Every Kid Outdoors program. 

Biden

We have no record of our current president, Joe Biden, visiting the park as a sitting president. However, in 2014, as Vice President, he spent four nights with his family in a lakeside cabin overlooking Mount Moran.

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Ryan Kunz is a copywriter and freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics, including media, the outdoors, and whatever else strikes his fancy. He knows who he’s going to vote for this year, but he’s not super happy about the choices. 

Above photo credit: William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum/NARA

Snowshoeing Jackson Lake

 

This is me snowshoeing Jackson Lake.Most corners of the world have been explored by now, but you don’t have to be the first person to plant your flag in some remote region to be an explorer. Take Jackson Hole, for instance. Anyone with a pair of snowshoes, some beef jerky, and a little tolerance for cold can embark like the polar explorers of old into the great wide wilderness. Like I did last week when my brothers, my dad, and I went ice fishing on Jackson Lake.

After stopping at Flat Creek for final supplies (this isn’t just self-promotion; our location really does make Flat Creek an ideal base camp for anything in the direction of Grand Teton National Park), we drove to the Signal Mountain Lodge. We, however, weren’t destined for any cozy beds. Most of our gear was strapped to our backs to be carried toward our destination. In good spirits, we left our car and set out onto the frozen Jackson Lake. 

The first mile or so was somewhat slushier than we might have hoped, and it’s a bit unsettling feeling to be striding across solid snow, knowing there’s a million gallons of freezing water beneath you, and then suddenly sink six inches into Jackson Lake with a disconcerting slurp. (To say nothing of the slush that gets in your boots.) Still, we maintained our good spirits as we made our way three miles to Marie Island. Or rather, just off the coast of Marie Island, because you can’t ice fish on an island.

By the time we reached the island, night had fallen, which lent an almost mystical quality to our journey. The world was totally silent but for the crunching of our snowshoes and the occasional howl of distant wolves. There we met our dad and a brother recovering from a hamstring injury, who had taken a snowmobile from Colter Bay rather than trek across the ice on foot. While our dad busied himself with drilling holes in the ice and waiting for fish to wander past, the rest of us gathered around a small gas heater to boil water for freeze-dried meals.

We turned in for the night, burrowing down beneath every layer we had brought with us, dreading the inevitable moment when nature would call in the middle of the night, summoning us from the relative warmth of our sleeping bags into the frigid cold. At one point, I did get up after several attempts to ignore the growing pressure in my bladder, cursing the Powerades I’d consumed the previous evening, and staggered out into the night. The wolves were louder than earlier, prompting me to conclude my business as fast as possible. 

In the morning, the fishing wasn’t great, which wasn’t a huge disappointment because (nobody tell my dad), none of us were really there for the fishing. For the brothers, it was enough to get together, enjoy each other’s company, and take cool pictures. We gathered under the canopy to play a card game with the heater on and then packed up again, leaving nothing but our tracks and a lot of trampled snow behind us. 

What adventures are you going on this winter? Tell us in the comments.

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Ryan Kunz is a copywriter and freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics, including media, the outdoors, and whatever else strikes his fancy. He enjoyed sleeping his nice, warm bed the night after he got back. 

Out with 2023, In with 2024: Happy New Year from Flat Creek Inn

It’s that time of year again—fresh starts, new vibes, and a chance to tell everyone on social media which things you’re totally going to be focusing on this year. Except we actually are going to be focusing on a few areas of improvement, right? Here are 5 areas we can focus on together this new year.

A beautiful sunset.
The sun has set in 2023. How will you make your 2024 a bit brighter?

Out with Waste, In with Sustainability

Let’s dial it up on the eco-friendly scale. We’re aiming for less waste and more love for Mother Earth. Whether it’s recycling, cutting back on energy use, or finding new ways to be kinder to the environment, let’s do this together. Check out this blog post we wrote last year on what we’re doing and this one on what you can do

Out with Insularity, In with Diversity

We all like to stick with the people we know, but now’s the time to experience a new perspective. Jackson is a melting pot, and there’s no better time to soak it all in. Say hi to someone you’d normally pass by. Get to know a new culture. Ask that one uncle why he voted the way he did. You know the one

Out with Old, In with New

Don’t just get to know new people—try new experiences, too. Try a cuisine you would have dismissed last year. Read a book that wouldn’t have been on your list before. Maybe even finally find out what the heck an “Earth medicine sound bath” is and what it can do for you.

Out with Corporate, In with Local

In this age of worldwide tech conglomerates slowly advancing into every facet of modern life, remembering to shop down the street has never been more important. That doesn’t mean you have to ditch Prime—just consider buying that book at a place where you can get more recommendations from a person, not an algorithm. 

Out with Screens, in With Unplugging

We realize the irony of asking you to unplug when you’re reading this on a screen, but we all need a breather from time to time. Jackson is known for its natural beauty, not the quality of its cell phones, so let’s kick back, chat face-to-face, and soak in the beauty around us without the constant buzz of technology.

What goals do you have this new year? Let us know in the comments. 

This blog is brought to you by Flat Creek Inn.

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Ryan Kunz is a copywriter and freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics, including media, the outdoors, and whatever else strikes his fancy. He still uses the term “New Year’s resolutions,” despite hearing that the kids don’t say that anymore. 

 

Merry Christmas from Flat Creek Inn!

Jackson Hole embodies the spirit of Christmas like few places that don’t have “North” or “Pole” in their names. It’s a place where people from all over the globe come together, where celebrations take place amid snow and ice, and where that cozy, Hallmark Channel charm lives all year long. Plus, the elk are sort of like reindeer. 

With that festive holiday spirit in the air, we at Flat Creek Inn want to extend our warmest wishes to you and your loved ones. Here amidst the serene beauty of the Tetons, we want to express our deepest gratitude for being a part of our extended family. Your laughter, stories, and shared moments have filled our motel with joy and warmth throughout the year. 

May your hearts be filled with love, peace, and goodwill. May the beauty of the Tetons inspire moments of reflection and tranquility as you celebrate this special time with loved ones. May you watch dozens of schmaltzy Christmas movies with the same plot and the same six actors. And may your table overflow, to paraphrase a beloved Dr. Seuss poem, with the most delightful assortment of delicious rubbish imaginable. 

As we gather around hearths and share in the joy of the holidays, we hope you cherish the simple pleasures: the snowflakes dancing in the wind, the twinkling lights adorning our town, and the sweet sound of beloved Christmas music. (But never “Christmas Shoes.” That one should be banned.) But seriously—here at Flat Creek Inn, we stand committed to making your stay exceptional, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to be a part of your holiday memories.

From our family to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas filled with love, laughter, and light.

Warmest regards,

The staff at Flat Creek Inn

5 Places Santa Would Visit in Jackson Hole

Santa Claus is coming to town! Yes, this town. Like, Jackson. Or at least we think he should. Once the Old Man in Red is done delivering endless amounts of presents that parents around the globe will selfishly take credit for, there’s no better place to rest from his thankless task than our very own winter wonderland. Wonder why? Here are a few Jackson Hole highlights that are definitely on Santa’s list.  

Teton Toys

When his elves are too busy to fulfill their toy quotas (or, if the rumors are to be believed, they’re unionizing again to protest unsafe working conditions), Santa comes to Teton Toys to grab a few extra toys for well-behaved girls and boys. After all, the toys produced at Santa’s workshop are generic (to avoid any legal issues), so he also loves to grab great brands like Lego, Melissa & Doug, or Hasbro.

Persephone’s Bakery

We all know Santa has a supernaturally fast metabolism. Even with that round bowl-full-of-jelly physique, he keeps in decent shape for someone who ingests enough cookies each Christmas to put Godzilla in a diabetic coma. Enter Persephone’s, one of the premier spots for holiday sugar cookies, gingerbread, and chocolate. 

Elk Refuge

It’s a well-documented fact that Santa loves dashing through the snow. He’s probably one of the few people who actually know what bells and bobtails are and why they ring. And there’s no better way to snow-dash than a sleigh ride through the elk refuge. Besides, Santa’s gotta love a sleigh ride where someone else is doing all the work for once.

Town Square

Legend has it some of the antlers in Jackson’s renowned antler arches are actually from reindeer lost in the line of duty, and Santa comes here to pay his respects. (You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen? Well, before them were Balthasar, Alexei, Marzipan, and Greg. Never forget.) Or he just likes to come to Town Square to lead impromptu caroling groups. You never know.

Flat Creek Inn

You know we’d get here sooner or later. Whether he’s stopping for a short winter nap on his way between Pocatello and Billings or taking a long-deserved post-Christmas vacation, Santa stays at Flat Creek Inn. Why? Because the hot chocolate in our store is always piping hot, the sheets are always snow-white, and our motel is always high on the nice list—or as we call it, TripAdvisor.

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Ryan Kunz is a copywriter and freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics, including media, the outdoors, and whatever else strikes his fancy. He doesn’t believe in Santa, so he can’t explain the guy in the red suit who snuck into his house that one time. 

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