Whitewater and the Grand Tetons

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August 24th 2006
Published: August 27th 2006
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Day 20 - August 24, 2006

Today was the coolest morning yet, around 35 degrees or so. Thankfully, there wasn’t an 8 am whitewater rafting trip, we waited for the 10 am. (It warms up surprisingly fast, so it was in the high sixties by the time we left for Snake River.) Steve, our guide (who also guides fishing trips, skiers, and bartends part-time), was very knowledgeable. The whitewater rafting was a lot of fun, and is recommended by all. (However, Robert said swimming in the 50 degree water was TOO cold and not at all fun.) Austin sat on the front bow of the boat, with his legs over the side for some of the small rapids. He was the only one of our family brave enough to do it. Steve called it "riding the bull".

Steve pointed out an osprey to us, they are surprisingly large. The telephone company erects platforms on telephone poles so the ospreys can build their massive nests there. (They must be at least three feet across.) We also saw a beaver dam. They have otters, many species of fish, bald eagles, bears, and mountain lions. The whitewater rafting trip took a little more
Austin's CreativityAustin's CreativityAustin's Creativity

The stick from Monterey was transformed into a very effective bow
than two hours on the water, and about 40 minutes on the bus. I would like to do this in late May, when the water is really going (snow melt). Steve says that it only takes about 45 minutes then, and there are more rapids, and some of them are really monsters.

After getting pizza at Mountain High Pizza, we headed for Grand Teton National Park. (Only about 20 miles away from Jackson Hole.) This would be a great hiking park spring, summer or fall. We met Dennis who is a part-time staffer at the visitor center, who also happens to be a full-time RVer; like lots of others at the parks apparently. He said that there are lots of jobs out there for people who only want part-time and are “seasonal”. After this season ends (up here, roads close around November), he and his wife will head to Florida to sell pumpkins and Christmas trees (even though he says Christmas trees are too much work).

The tetons are majestic towers of rock. They are very rugged-looking, with glaciers and snow-covered areas. There are lots of trees (and also forest fires). All the rivers are running fairly fast,

The hiking trails offered spectacular views
but there hasn’t been a lot of rain this summer. Fall’s show of colors is spectacular in this area, but only lasts about two weeks. Occasionally, there is snowfall at the end of August. We saw a badger near the visitor center.

Even though Yellowstone is right next door to Grand Teton National Park, it took us almost two hours to drive from the south entrance to the west exit to reach our campground. (It is about 69 miles on winding roads with lower speed limits.) On the way, we saw 2 elk and 2 wolves. (The wolves were larger than I expected,, supposedly they can hold 20 pounds of meat in their stomachs.)

We stayed at West Yellowstone KOA Campground in Montana. It is fairly large, about 200 campsites. There are also cute little cabins (like ones at Jackson Hole KOA). They look a little like storage sheds, but with logs on the outside.

We got in late, just before 10 pm.

Additional photos below
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Austin at Jenny LakeAustin at Jenny Lake
Austin at Jenny Lake

After swimming in the Snake River and riding the rapids, Austin found Jenny Lake to be quite calm (but cold)

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