And that brings us to day 3.
We knew we wanted to get an early start on Sunday because 5 of the 7 of us were going white water rafting in the afternoon. We woke up around 7:00 and started packing up camp. It was a good thing we did too, because right as we were taking down the last of the tents, it began raining and thundering. Yeah- if you know me, you know that thunder is not my favorite thing. But it was just a little bit. The rain let up quickly and we were able to finish putting things away and get packed up. Nothing even got too wet either… We enjoyed some cinnamon rolls and coffee for breakfast and decided to head south in the park to find a trail to hike.
We got to the trail head in about 20 minutes and began hiking. It was early yet so there weren’t too many people there which was nice. We started hiking and one of the signs pointed towards a lake so, obviously, we followed that. The hike wasn’t hard and it wasn’t even that long but when we got to the clearing that opened up to the lake….. I really don’t know if I have words to explain the beauty that unfolded in front of us. It honestly looked like a picture out of a nature magazine… National Geographic or Field and Stream or something… I’ve never actually read an issue of Field and Stream… do they have pretty pictures in that one? I’m not even sure. But either way… this wasn’t real life. It couldn’t be. It was SO pretty. There was a clear lake with the Teton Mountains as a backdrop behind the lake surrounded by trees. I took pictures, obviously… but I honestly feel like the photograph can’t hold a candle to what it was like in real life.
The tranquility and serenity at this spot was surreal. I honestly thing I could have stayed there all day. I look at this picture now and think, “wow, that’s a really pretty picture” but still…. it does NOTHING for actually being there. I wish I could just take you all there with me right now and show you because, clearly, I don’t have the words to describe it… I’m not a writer anyways. My vocabulary matches that of a third grader soooooo, sorry for that!
Anyways, the entire hike we had these dark clouds following us just threatening to open up and pour down on us. We were lucky though… we stayed dry for the entire hike. You can see in the picture though the dark that is overtaking the beautiful blue sky. It was kind of trippy to be in. We forced ourselves to leave this beautiful spot because we needed to be back in Jackson by noon for our rafting trip.
We got back to Jackson with about a half hour to spare so we decided to walk around just a it and check out some of the shops. Downtown Jackson was such a cute, very touristy, area. It was BUSTLING with people though.
We headed over to the office of the place we were going white water rafting and checked in. They told us to hang out for a bit while we wait for everyone else and the bus that is going to take us to the starting area. All the rafting takes place about 30 miles south of Jackson but the companies set up shop in downtown Jackson so they all have buses that take you down to the rafting spots. We loaded the bus just as it started raining. Then it started raining harder… and harder… and harder. We were just about to pull away when one of the office ladies came and told us the owner was on the phone and wants us to hang tight for about 5 minutes while they try to decide if the weather is still raft worthy. We finally got the OK to head down and were told that the guides would make the call about the weather when we got down there.
Being in the canyon, the weather is very unpredictable. They told us when we left that the sun could be shining 30 miles away. I definitely thought that was a load of crock they were just feeding us to keep people from getting upset. Well, they were right. We got to the launch ramp and it was sunny (but wet) out. They divided us up into our boats and said “lets raft!” Our guide’s name was Colin. Let me tell you something funny that Colin told us… this was just after we all picked up the part of the raft that we happened to be standing next to and walked it down to the river… he looks at us and says “I want two people that are confident sitting in the front. The people up front are going to have to work together to make sure that everyone else on the raft is rowing in sync and they have to have the confidence to keep paddling through the largest rapids so, [and this is where he looked at me and Kyle who just happened to be standing at the front of the raft] are the two of you confident and can you work together?” Yeah, so I ended up in the front of the raft…
This rafting trip was the first for 4 out of the 5 of us and was filled with SO MUCH…. it was quite an adventure to say the least! So, like I said, it was sunny again when we started. That quickly turned to rain. The rain quickly turned to harder rain…. and then harder rain. And then came the thunder and lightning. Big lightning…. lots of lightning. I was terrified and Chelsea sitting behind me is laughing because she loves it so much. She has grown up in the San Diego area her whole life so she doesn’t get to experience thunderstorms ever. From there, the rain turned into hail…yes, hail. Ouch. Which turned back into rain rather quickly but because of all the rain during that day, there was this mad runoff coming down the side of the canyon… it was pure mud. It literally turned the river brown… it looked like we were floating in chocolate milk… seriously. And it smelled AND tasted like fresh mud also…. Yes… I ate a ton of mud as we went through the rapids. I was literally getting smacked in the face with a wall of water. Some of the rapids we would go through kind of cockeyed and crooked (on purpose says our guide- I trusted him) BUT… the thing is…. we always seemed to enter the rapids where I was the one getting hit with the water more than anyone else… we’d go through sideways where my little edge of the raft was leading… Kyle was laughing every time because I took the brunt of the rapid and shielded him from it.
The largest rapid of the day happened to be right where the professional photographer was situated so we got some fun pictures there…. also, Chelsea fell out of the raft at that rapid so we got some EXTRA fun pictures at that rapid! She isn’t sure what happened… she was in the boat and she was rowing (just like Colin told us “keep rowing and you won’t fall out”) but she still ended up in the river. Her first comment when we pulled her out “Did I do something wrong? I was paddling!” hahahaha we were seriously laughing SO hard! I don’t think we stopped laughing this entire trip. It was such a great time. And, of course, by the time we finished, it was sunny and beautiful out again. We got to the end, changed into some dry clothes, hopped back on the bus and headed back towards Jackson. We got back, jumped in the car, made a quick-ish stop at starbucks, and headed for home (well, our temporary Utah homes!)
Here’s the link to the whitewater rafting photos if you are interested in taking a look at those…. and lets be real, you’re interested… they’re great!
Whitewater rafting photos
I feel so incredibly blessed to be making the memories that I am with the people that I am. It has been so much fun exploring and seeing the amazing things that we’ve been finding. I’m in awe at some of the natural beauty that surrounds us! I definitely think I’ll be making a trip back to Wyoming in the future!