Monday we went on a short hike to Signal Mountain before D’s other sister left for the week. It was a pretty easy hike, all things considered. BUT, we never stopped for the full hour and my legs were still recovering from the 12.5 mile hike we did the previous day. The hike was flat or downhill for the first half, and it was kind of similar to walking through someone's farm land, but it was all part of the park.
For the second half, it was straight uphill. Since it was farm land, the bugs were intense! For a while, there was constant buzzing in my ears and it was literally my worst nightmare/personal hell all rolled up in one. The flies were huge, and they just would. Not. Stop! I powered through though, and made it to the top.
The views really were spectacular! Half of the view overlooked Jackson Lake with the Teton Range in the back, and the other half overlooked the flatter lands. So beautiful!
D’s sister had to get to the airport, so his dad ended up picking us up at the top of the hill to drive us back down. D, his dad and I went to this restaurant that sits on Jackson Lake with a nice view of the Teton’s in the background. Pretty normal food, but the view made it completely worth it.
After the hike, I desperately needed a nap. I was completely out of it. When I woke up from my nap, the most stunning thunderstorm rolled through. Since their house is on a hill, we could watch the thunderstorm over the town from afar. Pretty spectacular!
We went out for sushi that night to Nikai Sushi, and I was blown away at how good the sushi was. My eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach that night, but it didn’t matter one bit.
Tuesday, we decided to conquer white water rafting. There was a lot of back and forth about that activity that week. We weren’t sure if we wanted to do it, because the river water on our 12.5 mile hike was intensely cold (but felt amazing splashed on your face after hours of hiking!). I’ve gone on float trips before in large rafting tubes, but never with paddles in rapids. I’m so glad we decided to go!
We went with Mad River Boat Trips company, and they were fantastic. They took us about 30 minutes outside of Jackson to our starting point. From there, we rafted 8 miles down the Snake River. Both of us didn’t want to chance ruining or losing our phones, so there are no pictures, but the professional one they had taken.
The rapids were so much fun! There were a couple lazy parts, so D got fully in the water and floated down for a while. The water was stunningly clear, and it was interesting to see how fast we actually were going! Our guide, Luke, was really great. Very down to earth, but with a little dry, sarcastic sense of humor. He ended up making me believe that a baby moose used this metal bucket that hung on a wire to get across the river. I blew my cover by asking, "Well wait, how does the mother go with the baby then?" Poor D. ;)
After rafting, we got back to the house about 2 hours before my brother was arriving. My brother and his girlfriend decided to take a road trip from Nebraska to Seattle and back. He called a couple weeks ago, and both of us didn’t know about each other’s trip, so we were really excited to hear we’d be in Wyoming at the same time. They did a little rerouting and came to Jackson to spend a day and night with us!
Before they arrived, D and I went on a bike ride through his parent’s area of town. It was pretty easy and so beautiful…until the time we had to go uphill. The hill was no joke! I had to get off and walk my bike a couple times. I later found out that I didn’t have the gears in the right settings, which was part of why it was so hard for me. The gears just always confuse me! Raise your hand if they confuse you too! No one? Just me? Such is life ;)
We got back to house within 10 minutes of Mike arriving, so it worked out perfectly. We had elk steak that night, which was amazing! We had elk burgers a couple nights before, and they were denser than I thought, but still very tasty. I was thinking the elk steaks were going to be denser, but D’s parents cooked them to perfection. So tasty!
That night, we just stayed up talking and getting to know each other. It was the first time Mike was meeting D, and the first time I was meeting Mike’s girlfriend. I’m so happy they came, and so very blessed that D’s family let them stay with us.
On my last day, my flight wasn’t until after 3pm, so we got up early to do some stuff during the day. The four of us hiked to the top of D’s hill right after the morning rain, and got some pretty impressive views of the rain clouds surrounding the hill.
After cleaning up and packing, we headed in to town to get some tourist photos with the arches, and visit a paper store I saw on my first night there. Both were impressive, and it was nice to walk in the cool air.
We grabbed lunch at Snake River Brewery, which brews fantastic beer! I was so happy to have the opportunity to see my brother and meet his girlfriend. We don’t see each other often, so it’s extra special when we’re able too.
After a couple other family things with D, it was time to leave. I was so physically exhausted, but I definitely didn’t want to board my flight back to NYC. The silver lining is that I left knowing I’ll be back soon.
To D’s family, thank you very much for your generous hospitality! I loved meeting, and spending time with each one of you!