It has been a week of non-stop adventures here in Jackson Hole, WY. I've pretty much dropped straight into bed when we get home every night. Wednesday the girls (Jennifer, Megan, Mom and I) started the day off with an early morning horseback ride. Our guide Chris led us through the scenic forested areas around the Teton Village. It was a very peaceful ride and we saw several beautiful wildlife birds.
Wednesday afternoon we piled on a bus and headed down to the Snake River for whitewater rafting. Another couple joined our group of 6 on a raft. Ralph jumped right in and started cracking jokes with Les and Lee. His wife Jeannie, on the other hand, was a frazzled mess. First thing she did after she reluctantly crawled into the raft was turn to our rafting guide Peter and said, "I'm extremely nervous about this. Is it okay if I get on the floor when we get to the waves?" He did a great job of calming her nerves (somewhat) even though she threatened to jump ship a few times. We all had a blast rafting down the winding river and paddling our way through the Class 3 whitewaters. Megan and I were at the front of the raft and were pounded several times by waves that nearly knocked us out of the raft. Jennifer kept getting a mouthful of water, Jeannie managed to stay off the floor and paddled quite well, and Ralph admitted to loosing control of his bladder once or twice. It was a crazy ride to say the least.
Yesterday was another active day that took all of my energy. Dad and I went for a 20 mile bike ride in the morning. We had all talked about riding the sky tram up to the highest point in Jackson Village, but I thought it would be a good idea to hike to the top instead and then ride the tram down. So Dad and I got on the 7.3 mile Summit Trail that winds up to the aeriel tram. We started off at a pretty good pace and enjoyed hiking through the shaded woods and the nice views of the mountains across the Snake River. But that only lasted for a couple of miles until we got on a gravel road that became our "hiking trail" for the rest of the way. All I can say is, "Worst hike ever!" We were completely exposed to the sun the entire time and we were practically walking on an uphill road of pebbles that seemed to never end. We passed a middle-aged man about half way up who said through heavy breaths, "My family left me for dead 2 miles back." "I feel ya, brother! I feel about 3/4 dead myself right now," I said trying to encourage him but mostly just vocally expressing how much I loathed this "trail". Dad and I reached the summit at right under 3 hours (an hour less than the average time reported for this hike. As I was dragging my worn out butt up the final 100 yards of the hike I saw my mom and Les walking around the summit looking fresh, cool and clean. They had just gotten off the tram ride that took them an relaxing 10 minutes to the top of the 10,450 ft summit (an elevation gain of 4,200 ft). Dad and I both agreed that it was an awful hike, but we felt accomplished at the end. We treated ourselved to a margarita at dinner and a chocolate cabernet sauvignon ice cream cone as we walked around the Jackson city square last night.
Exhausted at the end of the hike. These smiles were forced.
I've decided that today is going to be a relaxing vacation day. I layed by the pool with a magazine this morning and we're about to go for a short hike around Phelps Lake this afternoon. Mom and Dad left to head back to Texas early this morning, so it's just Les' family and me for the next day and a half.