Sara’s Western Adventures

by Sara                                                                (click any photo to see a larger version)

This summer my second oldest cousin, Chris, got married in Colorado. Our family decided to arrive there early to hang out with some other cousins, aunts and uncles in Fort Collins, CO before heading down to Boulder for the wedding. Afterwards, my dad and I went to spend a few days with my brother and cousin in Jackson, Wyoming where they live in the Tetons.

unnamed-19Day 1: By the time we arrived in Denver we had already been traveling for 6.5 hours and still had another hour and a half drive to get to Fort Collins. Our rental car was a huge suburban that had so many blind spots it was like driving with only your windshield, however, the largeness of it did come in handy. We made the last leap to Fort Collins and, because of the time change, had plenty of time to do some activities before dinner. We went for an easy bike ride around Fort Collins, and travelled through the CSU campus (not Cambridge Sports Union!). We arrived back at the house and all of us helped make dinner, which was absolutely delicious, pizza and a kale salad that I have to say was even better than our famous JNT salads. Sorry!

Day 2: After breakfast we headed up to the mountains and went on a beautiful hike that looks over a huge reservoir. The Rockies are strange mountains. The land is almost completely flat and then it goes straight up. They don’t have the same kind of foothills that we do…or maybe its just the lack of trees(there are so few!!!!). We decided to go white water rafting on the Poder River, which is near the house. My brother Kody and cousin Kate, who are both raft guides, guided the boat wonderfully and we were able to surf a couple waves for a short while, although not as well as those who were in white water kayaks. That night we had another great meal, my aunt Karen is a really good cook, which was to celebrate my Grandma’s 90th birthday which was a while ago, my cousin Kate’s 25 birthday and my upcoming 16th birthday.

unnamed-8Day 3: We woke up early this morning and got ready for a day of white water rafting and packing our stuff back up. We had a good trip down with many splash fights, as if we weren’t already wet enough! When we got to the take out we had to put our minds to use to figure out how to get all the stuff back up the river in only three cars. This is where the giant suburban came in handy:)

Day 4: In the morning we woke up fairly early, had breakfast, and decided to walk around the University of Colorado Boulder (CU not UC!). When they got back we went and walked around town and then got ready for the wedding! It was a beautiful ceremony in a gorgeous spot and my cousin Chris and his wife Erin looked so happy.

unnamed-3Day 5: Today Kody, my cousin Leah, Dad, and I started heading to Jackson. After a very very long drive (we started at ninish and we didn’t get to Jackson until 12 hours later) we finally saw the Tetons. They were gorgeous! Did I mention that they were still covered in SNOW!!! Sadly we didn’t go skiing:( Anyways, we pretty much headed straight to our hotel and fell right asleep…after seeing a ton of buffalo!

Day 6: Today was my birthday so I decided that my dad and I should do a mountain bike ride. We got bikes and headed to the trails. Our bike was absolutely gorgeous and was really fun and totally exhausting. We rode up a mountain and then back down. Five hours later we arrived back in town and got a big cone of ice cream. We biked around town and then went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

unnamed-18Day 7:In the morning we went for a great hike up Philips Ridge which we rode our bikes on the next day. We were only able to hike for a couple hours because we had to get back to town to go on one of Kody’s white water rafting trips down the Snake River. It was pretty funny to watch him work, although it makes me wonder why he doesn’t talk as much to us as he does his clients…:) It was a fun trip and on the flat stretches we got to play a couple games that involved falling/being pushed into the water before we got onto the big waves. If ever you are on a rafting trip and everyone in your boat including your guide falls out that is called a dump truck and if everyone but your guide falls out that is called a bus stop…just in case you’re interested in the raft guide lingo.

Day 8: Today we woke up early and went into Wilson, the town next to Jackson, and rented a full suspension bike for me to ride up Teton Pass and down Phillips Ridge. It was an awesome and very hard ride. The uphill took us about 2 and a half hours and the downhill took about an hour and a half. Riding a full suspension bike is like riding a pogo stick…fun but I definitely prefer my hardtail! When we finished the ride we headed back to the hotel and almost literally passed out. After about 15 minutes, however, we woke ourselves up to go for round 2 with my brother. We went back over to where we biked the other day, except did a much shorter loop that was about an hour. It was a fun but very hard day.

unnamed-11Day 9: This is our last full day in Jackson and we made the best of it. Upon Kody’s advice we hiked up Death Canyon which was really cool, we were almost level with snow, but it was on the other side of the canyon:( It was a pretty hike, looking down on a large lake and we were able to see a lot of wildlife…don’t forget bear spray though!

unnamed-1We saw lots of marmots, ground squirrels, and a mule deer hanging out in the trees eating breakfast, he was totally chill with us being there!

After our hike we went to pick up Kody who had rented a raft so we could go back down the Snake once more, this time on a private tour. It was a cool ride and at the end I got to ride the bull(sitting on the bow of the boat and trying not to fall into the water as we go through rapids). When we reached the bottom of the stretch we quickly packed up and headed way up river to do a more scenic route with Leah and one of her roommates. We got to see the buffalo again and in Leah’s case have them cross right in front of her car! We saw some elk and a bunch of canadian geese along the way. All in all, it was a good way to end the trip. Looking forward to being back in the East tomorrow!!

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