Setting sail for a relaxing vacation at a cool refreshing lakeside destination is more than just a summertime tradition. A venture like this just plain old makes sense from an environmental standpoint. In this age of rising global temperatures, seeking a place that is naturally cool will save energy, which in turn reduces the carbon footprint. Going on vacation just to sit in an air conditioned room somewhere other than at home and complain about how hot it is outside simply is not the responsible way to go. Taking the natural route will provide lessons of how not to be reliant upon modern luxuries that stress the environment, which may help to reduce utility bills after getting back home.
In a sense, a good vacation experience amounts to voluntary behavior modification. Bad habits are easily identified and broken. Things that cause frowns become heavy as lead and are cast off first. Unnecessary ritualized actions are minimized to increase efficiency when performing simple tasks. A sleeping bag provides warmth instead of a home heater. Survival mode takes over and the true realities of life gain clarity. Awareness of what is healthy and what is not for both the individual and the environment becomes part of the program when taking the natural route while on vacation.
There is no better better place to get the back to nature mode in motion than at a lakeside destination in a place that has relatively cool daytime temperatures. What this means is practically anywhere other than the Desert Southwest is a good choice for beating the heat and reducing the carbon footprint during summer. Heading north or to the mountains are the best options. Better still, finding a lake in a majestic setting that has plenty of wildlife, panoramic mountain views and boatloads of game fish in the water should be the primary goal. Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park is one such place and as far as the panoramic views are concerned, it does not get much better than this!
A word of forewarning must be mentioned, because Jackson Lake is a very popular summer season destination, so campsite reservations must be made well ahead of time. The same can be said about the historic Signal Mountain Lodge, which is also located by this big lake in Grand Teton National Park. There are National Forest camping options nearby, but during summer these spots fill up too, especially on weekends. The main tourism corridor Highway 191 runs through both Grand Teton and the neighboring Yellowstone National Park, so it goes without saying that this part of western Wyoming does see a high volume of visitors. On the plus side, all it takes is hiking or canoeing a few hundred yards to escape from the crowds, because the wide open spaces practically stretch out forever in this region.
Jackson Lake is a natural glacial lake that was modified with a dam back in the early 1900s to provide irrigation for agriculture in this region. The dam raised the waterline and made this lake navigable for small craft. The marina and boat launch are located next to the Signal Mountain Lodge and there is ample parking for trailers. Fuel is available here, which is good to keep in mind because there are very few gas stations along the highway. Boat, paddle board, kayak and canoe rentals can be found by the marina and in the town of Jackson, so anybody can join in on the fun!
Recreational power boating is a product of the early 1900s and this mode of entertainment is quickly becoming a dinosaur in the modern age. Recent generations of tourists have shown a preference for unmotorized boating. In fact, kayak and canoe classes are actually taught in urban areas, which helps to get interested people onboard. There is nothing like paddling around on a placid lake in a beautiful mountain setting, while while enjoying what Mother Nature at her finest. Jackson Lake is about 15 miles long and 7 miles wide at its largest points, so there is plenty of room to roam. Jackson Lake also has more than a dozen islands and it is easy to find an uninhabited paradise of your own.
The fishing is excellent in Jackson Lake and any species that lives in the Snake River thrives in this big body of water. Lake Trout were introduced long ago and these big fish can provide quite a meal for a family of four. Cooking some trout for dinner at a primitive campsite in a peaceful cove far beyond the reach of the mainstream tourists is easy to do at Jackson Lake with a kayak or canoe.
Just the thought of finding relief from the heat in the middle of summer is enough to put a Jackson Lake travel plan in action! For swimmers, the water in this high elevation lake is cold yet refreshing on a hot summer day, so some old fashioned splashing around while goofing off can be done too. The picturesque mountains and the wide variety of wildlife is what Grand Teton National Park is most famous for and during the summer season Jackson Lake is definitely the icing on the cake!
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