Thursday, September 29, 2011

Week-o-Vacationing Day 7 - Jackson Holy Cow!

I'm sure my loyal readers (are there any left after these last few boring posts?) will be excited to hear that after a two whole days of not really vacationing, I FINALLY got back to what I would call vacation on Saturday. We got up, ate breakfast at the Marriott and hit the road for Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  Home of numerous archways made of antlers.

We got to the camping area we had reserved around 11, planning to set up our tents and then head into to town, but unfortunately the folks running the camping area felt like for some reason they needed to have a sprinkler watering our entire campsite. So we just headed into town, leaving the tent set up for later.

Over in town, we walked around, got our picture taken with the aforementioned antler archway (it's on someone else's camera so you might just have to take my word for it. Or maybe I could just "borrow" it from their facebook page...), saw some other rustic looking buildings and scarfed down some burgers for lunch.

We had to hustle to get our lunch done because we had an appointment at 1 with some whitewater. We drove over to the offices of the rafting company (Mad River Boat Tours), signed away our lives, changed into our river clothes, and half an hour later or so, boarded a bus that took us down the river to where we'd be getting in.  There were 9 of us, and that was pretty much the perfect number to have our own raft to ourselves, along with our trusty river guide Brian. 

The river trip was so much fun. I know as a kid, we went over to the Green River a time or two and floated on a raft, but I'm positive this was the first time that I'd ever gone through any "real" rapids. The day was a little bit on the cooler side, but not so much to make me worry about shivering or anything. Just enough to not make me want to get in the river on purpose.

Anyway, we floated for a bit before getting to any real rapids, and our guide took some time to have us practice paddling (there were 3 rows of seats and the outside people on each row got a paddle). We had a run in or two with the other groups from the same company, some of whom decided to start a water fight with us. And they definitely won. :)

Eventually we got to some rapids. And it was never really frightening, which I liked. Our guide did a great job of steering us in a way that let us get plenty of water in the raft without ever feeling like we were going to tip over or anything.  At one point, he took us to a spot where we were able to "surf" in a rapid, sitting still in a spot where a rapid curled back and made a kind of permanent wave.

At one point we saw a couple river otters. So that was cool, too.

I think there were 5 main rapids that we went through, some class 2s and some class 3s.  I started out on the back row, and after the first 3 rapids, Brandon offered to let me ride up in the front, and that was definitely more exciting, going face first into the big water.  At one point I got a nice mouthful of the river. :)

They have photographers set up at at least one point on the river, and then you can buy copies or prints of your photos. As there were 9 of us, we chipped in and got a couple digital copies of our group:

Whitewater Rafting on the Snake

Whitewater Rafting on the Snake

Whitewater Rafting on the Snake

Anyway, the whole river trip was a lot of fun and I'm definitely glad we did that. It might have been my favorite part of the whole weekend.

After we got back from running the river, we headed back to the campsite, set up our tents, and then headed over to a place called the Bar J for a "Chuckwagon Dinner".  There's a big barn-like building with tons of tables and stuff, and they serve dinner and then there's a musical show afterward with the "Bar J Wranglers", a quartet of cowboys who play music and sing.

Due to some kind of mix up we ended up eating in some overflow tables outside, which I actually thought was nicer.  Dinner was really good with BBQ beef, chicken, beans, baked potatoes, cornbread, some kind of spice cake, and maybe another thing or two that I'm forgetting. 

The show itself was better than I had expected, too.  The singers were excellent, and despite some at times lame jokes, I enjoyed the show quite a bit. I thought "man, my dad would love these guys". Apparently they've come to Grantsville several times during their off season (the winter) but my mom says they've never gone to see them.

When the show was over, we stopped by Kmart for a few things and then called it a night. We bought firewood, but were all so tired that we didn't even build a fire that night.

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