Oxbow Afternoon

The Grand Tetons are a mountain range like no other in North America. They are a range one can experience by car, pulling over for a quick view and picture. Or, one can climb the sketchy north face of the Grand itself. For added adventure one can experience the Tetons by stand up paddleboard.

The Tetons have so much water in and around them. Popular lakes like String, Leigh, and Jenny dot the base of the mountain range and are filled with icy, refreshing waters. These lakes are popular with the SUP [stand up paddleboard] crowd and are an invigorating paddle. For something a little quieter and a whole lot more peaceful, try the Oxbow Bend on the Snake River.

My wife, Louise, daughter, Lilly, and I chose the Oxbow Bend for its calm waters, the incredible view, abundant wildlife, and lack of people on this section of the Snake River. We paddled through hidden green marshes. Around each bend, we anticipated seeing a moose, bear, elk, or coyote.

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With every paddle stroke came a different view of the solitude and beauty of the Tetons. Occasionally, the motor of a passing car on its way to Yellowstone broke the silence for just a few moments.

We paddled over the fish lurking the in cold waters below. Bald eagles, osprey, and hawks cried from the trees as we passed them quietly. That day the Oxbow Bend was ours.


The Tetons were beginning to “speak” to us that our time was about over. We paddled until the clouds came up and over Mt. Moran and the rain fell on the shores of Jackson Lake. As drops began to hit our Land Cruiser, we packed up the SUPs and drove the dirt road back to pavement. As we glanced back, we saw the Oxbow Bend vanish in the rain clouds.

Michael Holland is an outdoor enthusiast, father, educator, and writer based in Park City, Utah. He caught the exploration and adventure bug after reading Abbey’s classic, Desert Solitaire. He met his wife, Louise, on a climbing trip in Jackson Hole, Wyoming; and they began exploring the Colorado Plateau. They both have enjoyed backpacking, canyoneering, mountain biking, photographing, fly fishing, and hiking in the canyons of the southwest and mountains of Wyoming, Colorado, and Idaho. Today, they explore many areas with their daughter, Lilly. Mike likes to jot down notes and stories of their travels. He wants the reader to be enticed by their travel discoveries and willing to make some their own too! If you see a white Land Cruiser and young girl in a pink tutu; feel free to wave! Our favorite place? The next place….