I went back to Jackson Hole again this summer, twice actually. I took family the first time since most had never been. My second trip, I took alone. My objectives were to get out of the unbearable Dallas heat, take long bike rides and moderately long hikes to lose a few pounds. The local scales got me all excited, showing at least an 8 pound loss in 8 days. What is it they say? If something is too good to be true, it probably is. When I got home, the 8 pounds was more like 3.
This year they had completed the paved bike trail that runs all the way from Jackson to Jenny Lake Lodge, roughly 20 miles one way. I did the whole thing on my first day and my last day, both under 4 hours. Bike rental was $15 up to 2 hours, $20 up to 4 hours, and then it goes up to $35 for the whole day, the day ending at 6 PM. I would never pay an extra $15 to come in over 4 hours. I did 2 shorter rides in about 3 hours on other days and really regretted wasting the free time up to 4. ( I was thinking percentages rather than dollars, as explained in my previous post.) I also did two hikes around the South side of Jenny Lake to just above inspiration point in about 2 ½ hours and another with a friend who lives there in the summer to Taggart and Bradley Lakes.
What does this have to do with economics? Nothing much, except I got addicted to Jackson Hole years ago when I was eligible to attend the Jackson Hole Symposium as a Fed policymaker. The Kansas City Fed only lets you return once after retirement, then you are banished for life. It wasn’t as much fun then though because you had to attend the lectures in the mornings and there was no TV in the cabins. Alan Greenspan took his short-wave radio to stay in touch with the world. They allowed a few press representatives, but no cameras, hence no CNBC all day. Those were kinder gentler times.
My report on Jackson Hole last year featured bears spray and bear bells. I had assumed I would buy bear spray on my first day this year to get the security benefit the whole week. For some reason, I didn’t, but I wore the jingle bell I bought last year. The idea is not to surprise the bear by being too quiet until it’s too late. I feel bad about it, but I try to pick out other hikers about my speed to follow, thinking of the old joke with the punch line, “I don’t have to out run the bear; I just have to out run you.” I don’t think I would apply that advice, but I’m not sure. That would be a tougher decision than whether to implement QE3. With no QE3, bear spray will definitely be in order.