Bordering Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, Bridger-Teton National Forest covers 3,439,809 acres in the Gros Ventre, Salt River, Teton, Wind River and Wyoming ranges. Within the forest are several live glaciers, an outstanding example of a geologic landslide and the state's highest mountain, Gannett Peak, shared by Shoshone National Forest. Fishing, hunting, white-water rafting and winter sports attract visitors to the area.
The forest has three wilderness areas, all accessible only on foot or horseback. The Bridger Wilderness, 428,169 acres of scenic mountain country, lies on the west slope of the Continental Divide in the Wind River Range. More than 1,300 lakes, Gannett Peak and many glaciers highlight this rugged landscape, which is traversed by more than 500 miles of hiking and snowmobiling trails.
The Green River, beginning at the base of Gannett Peak, races through the Wind River Mountains before turning southward to join the Colorado River. The Teton Wilderness preserves 585,468 acres in the northern section of the forest. Snow sometimes stays on the ground until early July in this barren alpine country of broad meadows, lakes, steep canyons, streams and waterfalls.
At Two Ocean Pass, Two Ocean Creek divides and sends one stream to the Pacific Ocean and another to the Atlantic; this geographic phenomenon supposedly exists nowhere else on the continent. The 287,000-acre Gros Ventre Wilderness, immediately east of Jackson, also is rugged, mountainous country ideally suited to backpacking, fishing and hunting.
Gros Ventre Slide is 5 miles east of Kelly on Gros Ventre Road. When the landslide occurred on the morning of June 23, 1925, this large earth movement dammed up the Gros Ventre (Big Belly) River. In a matter of minutes, trees and land fell from an elevation of 9,000 feet. Two years later part of the slide gave way, and the resulting wall of water, mud and rock destroyed the town of Kelly.
Scenic drives include Centennial National Scenic Byway from Dubois to Pinedale, the Green River Road from Pinedale north to the Green River Lakes, and the Skyline Drive from Pinedale northeast to Elkhart Park. Greys River Road leaves US 89 near Alpine and follows the river on its southward run; from its headwaters roads lead to US 89 near Geneva and to US 189 at Big Piney or Fontenelle reservoirs.
Pinedale and the resort town of Jackson are recreational activity centers. Near these two towns are the forest's three ski areas; trails for cross-country skiing also are available. Nearby hot springs include Granite Hot Springs, 35 miles southeast of Jackson on US 189, then 9 miles north. The Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, 532 N. Cache St., Jackson, is open daily 8-7, late May-Sept.; 9-5, rest of year; phone (307) 733-3316
For additional information contact the Forest Supervisor's Office, 340 N. Cache St., P.O. Box 1888, Jackson, WY 83001; phone (307) 739-5500.
High-Altitude HealthTemples throbbing, gasping for breath and nauseated, you barely notice the scudding clouds or the spectacular view.
You might be suffering from Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Usually striking at around 8,000 feet (2,450 m) in altitude, AMS is your body's way of coping with the reduced oxygen and humidity of high altitudes. Among the symptoms are headaches, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, insomnia and lethargy. Some people complain of temporary weight gain or swelling in the face, hands and feet.
You can reduce the effect of high altitude by being in top condition. If you smoke or suffer from heart or lung ailments, consult your physician before your trip. Certain drugs will intensify the symptoms. To avoid Acute Mountain Sickness, adjust to elevations slowly; a gradual ascent with a couple days of acclimatization is best if you have time. For example, if you are planning a trip to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, you might want to spend the first night in a lower altitude city such as Denver as opposed to heading directly to an environment with extreme elevations.
On the way up, eat light, nutritious meals and stay hydrated by drinking a large amount of water, taking care to avoid caffeine, alcohol and salt. In addition, your doctor may be able to prescribe medication that can offset the effects of high-altitude.
If you develop AMS, you should stop ascending; you will recover in a few days. If the AMS is mild, a quick descent will end the suffering immediately.
Other high-altitude health problems include sunburn and hypothermia. Dress in layers to protect yourself from the intense sun and wide fluctuations in temperature.
Finally, after you lounge in the sauna or hot tub at your lodgings, remember to stand up carefully, for the heat has relaxed your blood vessels and lowered your blood pressure.