Tuesday, August 4, 2015

on top of the world, river rafting, a sunset walk and String Lake -- the end of Jackson Hole

We took the tram up to the tippy top of the mountains.

Ok, not the very tippy top because sure, there are taller mountains...the Grand Teton to name one right next to us, but boy we sure felt like we were on the top of the world.

...and we relished in that beauty.

(That is marker on Lucy's chin.  Some form of a marker smudge seems to always there...or on her eyes, or forehead or ear...and covering her hands because she colors so darn much.)

Next it was off to do a little river rafting on the Snake River.

Here are Elle and Claire (in her snazzy little wetsuit we rented) in the bus on the way up to where we embarked on our little journey:

I have to admit there was a little bit of trepidation along with the excitement since our cousins and Dave's parents had just done the same route the day before (the same cousins we happened to run into in Jackson Hole two posts back), and one of them had fallen in on one of the big rapids.

Yowzas.  She was totally fine but it sure made for quite an adventure once they got her back on board safe and sound again.

They outfitted us in life-jackets and gave us a few pointers on how to paddle the right way and what to do if our boat capsized or if we fell out (!) and we were off.

It was sunny but super windy which made for a little bit of a chilly day....

...and made us surprised when our guide asked if anyone wanted to hop in during a particularly calm section of the river and Lucy piped right up and hopped off of the front of the boat.

--her knocked-wind-out face when she hit the ice-cold water made Dave jump in right after her (making the same gasp when he hit the water).

Grace got a new little waterproof phone case for her birthday which was perfect for the ride.

Claire did a little videography for us...

Although uneventful as far as falling-out-of-the-raft went, it was a great day on the river.

We headed in to the square to watch the stagecoach show that I had built up to be pretty awesome (from my recollection from when I was young).
They only lasted about three minutes though before they were ready to head out for dinner.
And a sunset walk, which was better anyway.

Dave started out recounting our dating story from when we took a trip to Jackson Hole with my family right before we got engaged.
He told them all about how my Dad some how got him alone in his car to drive up and conveniently got lost, interviewing him the whole way.

He told about how we went snowmobiling (once he finally got there) and our crazy jump we took (that killed my back) and how we built a snow igloo that night.

And then he told about how somehow my Dad got him alone in the car again on the way home and got lost again too (he wanted to do some serious interviewing I guess!).
It was one of those nights when the light was slanted just perfectly and it was the perfect equilibrium weather.

...and we loved it.

...and relished in trying to capture it...
...while Dave finished up the stories.

Then we headed on home.

The next day we took the "Kelly Loop" to try to see some wildlife.
(All the guidebooks claimed there would be great animals to see there.)

It was so pretty but with no wildlife in sight.

Only some cute girls.
...who got out to take a break...
...on the completely abandoned road (abandoned by cars and wildlife).

We stopped at a little coffee shop to ask if we were in the right place and they told us we were "in exactly the right place at exactly the wrong time of day."

I guess we were supposed to go early in the morning.

Oh well...String lake was beckoning us with it's beauty so we headed there for one last stop.
And it sure didn't disappoint.

As we drove off I wondered out loud to Dave why in the world don't we live in this breathtaking beauty?  Why doesn't everyone just do about anything they can to live as close to this stuff as humanly possible??
Dave reminded me the answer is one word: "winter."

Oh man I do love the desert, but as we drove back into town last night to 111 degree temps I thought to myself I wouldn't mind a little bit of that "winter" now and then!  (I kid kind of, because even though I wonder why people don't melt here, I'd rather be hot than cold any day.)

And once again, I digress.

I loved Jackson Hole with a newfound love this time around sharing it with that boy who took me on the back of his snowmobile that day all those years ago (and endured some long car rides with my Dad) as well as with our little brood we've created since then.

So grateful for that time to soak them up.  

Sure it wasn't all butterflies and rainbows...we have whiners and arguers and opinionated people and huffiness just like every other family, but oh man I can't get enough of these guys as we prepare for our family to change in a few weeks when Max heads up to college.


  1. That sure is a beautiful place, but I'm with ya I'd rather be hot then cold any day. Your whole family is beautiful and Claire's cute personality always comes out in the pictures.

  2. Absolutely beautiful, and how nice to have that experience with just your family. I remember thinking the same as you - why am I not spending my life in this beautiful place, but the locals said it is super expensive, plus the frost free days were definitely in the double digits - less than 60 if I recall correctly! Too cold!

  3. beautiful photos, beautiful family!

  4. Hi Shawni-- long time follower of your blog-- wondered if you had an email I could reach out to you on? My husband and I are business owners and would love to partner with you!

  5. That Mario jumping photo made me laugh out loud!

  6. What a lovely family trip and great photography. I bought a fancy new camera awhile back and am a little overwhelmed. I wish I had you (a la Cyrano de Bergerac) to magically whisper in my ear every time I pick it up. About family changing once the first goes off to college - we are in the midst of that very season (with three of our four off to boarding school and college) and it is indeed bittersweet. You are right to treasure every moment.

  7. Awesome to see these details. Beautiful stuff!

  8. Great photos, great post! I love how your dad got lost doing interviews, twice!

  9. Planning a trip to Jackson Hole next summer. Went with my husband many years ago. Can't wait to share it with the kids. Where did you stay?

  10. Beautiful photos. The mountains are my favorite. Loved the photo of you three jumping!!

  11. I live smack-dab in the middle of an even prettier scene in Alaska. I love the wintertime though so I guess it's easy for me. :)


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