Friday, August 18, 2017

Vertical Harvest, Hidden Falls ... and No Internet!

August 7, 2017
Vertical Harvest & NO Internet!
Jackson, WY
Note: We moved from Gros Ventre Campground up to Colter Bay Campground on August 9th.  There is pretty much NO internet access – even at the village where it says there is access.  Cell service is also very spotty. So, today (August 18th) we drove back down to Jackson where I could do post a bit of info on my blog.  Sorry for the delay.  You probably wondered if I met up with a grizzly on the trail.  So, back at it!

When we were in Jackson a couple of days ago, we picked up the Jackson Hole & The Teton Lifestyle magazine.  As I was flipping through it back at camp I realized that we had another great reason to go back to Jackson.  We needed to tour Vertical Harvest!  I sign us up online, and today we head back down to Jackson for our 1pm tour.

Co-founders Nona Yehia and Penny McBride conceived an innovative, vertical 3-story greenhouse – and built it right in the middle of Jackson.

The hydroponic farming method is used, reducing production space for their produce from 5 acres to only one-tenth of an acre. 

The greenhouse has seven “living walls” on moving carousels growing greens lit by red and blue LED lights.

There are three growing environments that are designed specifically for each crop that is grown on each level.  Microgreens are grown on Level 2, and Level 3 houses the heirloom tomatoes.

Caroline Croft, an employment facilitator for people with developmental and physical disabilities, approached Nona and Penny with the idea of employing her clients in their facility.  Today, Vertical Harvest employs 16 people with physical and developmental challenges.  Some of the most intriguing innovations at the greenhouse have been inspired by this group.

After the tour, we visit the market and purchase a bright red tomato and some sunflower microgreens.  We got the word that microgreens are all the rage, and not wanting to be left in the past with your “garden variety greens (lettuce)”, we walk out with our little sunflower sprouts vowing to give it a go.

Grilled chicken breast with our sliced tomato and sunflower microgreens as garnish on top.  A bottle of wine – and a big glob of “Loaded Potato Salad” from the deli and dinner is ready.  It all looked so healthy until we piled on the potato salad.  It’s a start, anyway.

August 8, 2017
Jenny Lake / Hidden Falls Hike
Grand Teton National Park, WY

It’s a cool, cloudy day in the park.  Seems like perfect weather for a hike.  We drive over to the Jenny Lake Visitor Center area, check out the map, and start our 5-mile round trip trek up to Hidden Falls.

As we begin to climb we reach the turnoff for the moose ponds.  We decide to take the short hike over to the ponds to see if any moose happen to be there.  We’re in luck!  A cow moose is feasting on the tall grasses and willows. 

There’s also a hillside filled with wildflowers.

Back on the main trail, we climb higher.  A gentle rain starts.  We hike through a rockslide area.  The trail leads us up and down … and up and down … repeatedly.  We meet several hikers on the trail returning from the falls.  There’s bear activity ahead.  A mother bear and her cub, and also another single bear further up the trail.  Oh, great!  Maybe we should have given greater consideration to purchasing that $45 can of bear spray at the General Store down below at the trailhead.
A short distance further we meet three guys standing just off the trail.  We chat at bit, talk about the bears ahead.  Pretty soon the conversation ends – but no one moves.  I say, “We’ll let you guys go ahead of us.  You’re probably faster hikers than we are.”  They all look at each other and one speaks up, “No, that’s okay.  We’re not quite ready here.  Go ahead.”  I laugh, “We really would like it if you guys went first.  You know, if someone has to meet up with a momma bear and her cub, we’d like it to be you.” They respond in kind, “Yeah, we’re thinkin’ we’d like to it be you, too.”  What the heck!  We’re old, we’ve had a good life.  We’ll go first.  And so, we do.  We see no bears.  Doesn’t mean they’re not there, but we don’t see them.  And, that’s okay with us.  It's still quite a trek to the falls, and the rain is coming down harder.

Reaching Hidden Falls, we know the effort to get here was worth this stunning view.

The creek below the falls.

There’s a boat to take folks back across the lake if they don’t want to hike back out.  But as we know, that’s the wimp’s way out of the backcountry.  What’s a little rain and terrain?

Back up the trail … another 2-1/2 miles in the rain. 

It’s a soggy day, but there seems to be no bad days in Grand Teton National Park.  It’s easy to find beauty everywhere you look, regardless of the weather.  Another awesome day in the park!

Back at the base of the mountain and … Yup!  Here comes one of the wimp boats!

Driving back to Gros Ventre Campground, the skies clear.  Just a whisper of low clouds remain in front of the Tetons.  Until next time, be safe.