President Clinton is leaving the capital’s steam-bath heat, deficit deadlines and televised inquisitions for the mountain air of Wyoming.
For the next two weeks, beginning today, Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton and their daughter, Chelsea, will exchange the White House for a Rockefeller family estate in a valley with a stunning view of the Grand Teton mountains.
The president will be in Jackson Hole through the end of the month before crossing the Pacific to Hawaii for ceremonies celebrating the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.
“He’s going to be on vacation, and he’s not going to pretend otherwise,” Clinton’s press secretary, Mike McCurry, said Monday. Camping in a tent with wife and daughter is among Clinton’s plans.
“He plans to hike and camp and raft,” McCurry said. “He’s looking forward to horseback riding. … He’s taking with him a big stack of books to read, including Pat Conroy’s latest novel.”
As a vacation spot, the hard-granite mountains of the Tetons, laced with pine-shaded hiking trails and edged by the Snake River, are quite a contrast to the swooping sailboats and gently curving contours of Martha’s Vineyard.
That’s the posh and briny vacation island off the Massachusetts coast to which the Clintons had retreated during their first two presidential summers.
In Jackson Hole, Clinton’s host will be Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and his wife, Sharon. The senator’s grandfather, John D. Rockefeller Jr., put up millions of dollars in the 1920s to buy and save from development much of the land that later became Grand Teton National Park.
Clinton is a self-proclaimed “big national park person,” and his Wyoming vacation offers the chance for tours not only of Grand Teton but also the geysers, hot springs and canyons of Yellowstone National Park, just a 60-mile ride north.