Sunday, August 21, 2011

White Water Rafting and Day 2

Alfredo and I had made reservations to float down the Snake River. We did an 8 mile scenic float, followed by 8 miles of white water rapids with the Dave Hansen River Rafting company. Both were amazing! I loved how peaceful the river was in the early morning, and we were able to see at least 10 bald eagles, several osprey and 4 river otters. Our guide, Ryan, said he had only seen one other river otter this summer. I just thought it was so beautiful...although cold. And during this section of the trip, our guide was able to tell us a little about the history of the area. Our bus driver who brought us from the pickup spot to the river also told us about the history... he also told us about two female bears they have been following. One is the mother of the other female bear. The mother has had a couple of sets of triplets now. In the spring she had triplets, and her daughter had twins. One of the triplets got separated from the mother and is now the daughter is nursing it along with her twins. He said there are a couple of possible explanations, but most likely the mother couldn't provide enough milk and so passed one of the babies on so it could survive.

Anyway, it was fun to get to know the others on our raft a little bit and to just enjoy the peace of the river.

Then we got off and had a short break and prepared for the white water rafting. I don't have photos yet, because you could only take waterproof cameras and I keep forgetting to take it in to be developed. Anyway, the white water rafting was AWESOME! Totally amazing. I didn't think it was scary at all, but I was at the back of the raft and therefore missed most of the drenchings and some of the view. So next time, I will want to sit closer to the front. But it was so much fun. During a quiet part in between rapids, we were able to get out of the raft and "swim". If you did it, you got a little bracelet that says, "Snake River Swim Team. Get in or Go Home." Alfredo and I both got in (although only for a minute or was cold) and got our bracelets. For someone (ME) who doesn't like to jump straight into a warm pool...but likes to ease in slowly, that was an accomplishment. Such a fun experience. We can hardly wait to do it again... and will definitely take the girls in a few years when Gabby is old enough. Somehow, I'm getting just a tiny bit braver in my old age. HeeHee. Kidding, but really this isn't something I would have tried until the last couple of years.

My favorite rapid was the Cottonwood Rapid. It was the longest rapid and the last rapid we went on. Alfredo liked the Big Kahuna and Lunch Counter. They are one right after another and very cool. Most of the time only one of them is runs during high water and one during low water...but for about 2 weeks a year they both run, and we were lucky enough to be there during that 2 week period. Also, about 3 1/2 months ago there was a terrible avalanche. It closed the road into Jackson for 3 weeks and dumped a ton of soil into the Snake River. It created a new rapid that we were able to go over. It was so amazing! All of it.

We had lunch after the rafting and then headed to a visitor center where we saw an interesting movie and wandered through the exhibits. I loved this quote:

I think there is a lot of loveliness to be found in America...and around the world. And if you look, especially keeping an open mind (as for example, many people think the desert is ugly...and it can be, but some areas have a beauty that is unique, if you look and are willing to see it), you will find it and it will change you. I've had a couple of friends go to Alaska and talk about how seeing the whales and the glaciers and all of the beauty changed them...and I've had traveling experiences that have changed me. Anyway, love this quote!!

The visitors center was beautiful...and had a gorgeous view of the Tetons. It was so relaxing to just walk around, read the displays and just enjoy one another's company.

Later we had enormous hamburgers and fries and milkshakes at a hamburger place in Jackson. They were so delicious! We sat outside, enjoying the nice weather and the yummy food.

On the way back to the hotel (as well as on the drive home) we saw lots of deer and antelope.

I'm so glad we did this. It was so nice to spend the weekend together, just the two of us, to renew our relationship and celebrate the past 10 years.

While in Jackson, we bought our girls matching pajamas. It was fun to see them model them for us when we got home, and good to be with them again. We, of course, missed them while we were gone.