Living in a yurt is much different from not living in a yurt. It’s colder, for one. Only a thin layer of canvas separates you from the 20 below outside, and you consistently find yourself wearing multiple pairs of pants. Secondly, it’s a lot more work. You begin tossing around pioneer words like "fetch," "haul," and "stoke" without a second thought.
I spent the Thanksgiving holiday yurt-sitting with my sister and two friends near Kelly, Wyoming, about 20 miles down a straight, flat road from Jackson. Though we were technically care-taking three structures — a living room yurt, a bedroom yurt and a school bus converted into a guest room, all located a few feet from each other in a log-fenced yard — we confined ourselves mostly to the living room area, near the only source of heat, a wood-burning stove.
During the day, moose wandered through the yurt park (drawing the ire of Stacy, a dog who apparently didn't realize that she would not be the victor in a moose-dog battle). At night, standing in the bitter cold under the wide-open sky, we could hear coyotes howling in the distance.
Despite our middle-of-nowhereness, we prepared a full-on Thanksgiving dinner, complete with a turkey breast, sage-sausage stuffing, cranberry relish, green bean casserole, pecan-crusted sweet potato casserole and pumpkin pie topped with hand-whipped cream (took two hours and multiple shifts on each of our parts, but was so worth it).
Cranberry relish prepared by the lovely Anna Brones (Anna reflects on Thanksgiving food preparation here)
Before digging in
The Jackson area has received a ton of snow so far this year, and when we weren't cozied up in the yurt, we took advantage. We hiked toward Bradley and Taggart lakes one morning, post-holing frequently, but managing to avoid the bull moose spotted by other hikers and take in an incredibly crisp view of the Tetons. On another day, we shredded the pow (I have no idea what this means) on the slopes of Grand Targhee.
And now, one last shot, the yurt at dusk: