Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Scenic River Float-Grand Tetons

 
You know how you have great memories from your childhood and then when you try to re-live them they just don't measure up? Well, that's the exact opposite of what happened last weekend. Seriously, my husband has been talking about his rafting and canoe trips down the snake river for as long as I've known him. So when we had the chance to visit the Tetons, he suggested we take a rafting trip together. A white-water rafting trip is on my bucket list, but since our youngest has just turned 4; we thought a calmer trip would be safer.



We found Lewis and Clark River Expeditions, who offered "Scenic Floats" down the Snake River, and even advertised being a family friendly adventure company. SOLD! I called to book our trip, and they couldn't have been friendlier. He didn't even make fun of me when I butchered the name of our campground- haha. We were SO excited to take the kids on a rafting trip.

So, after our morning bike ride, we headed down to Jackson Hole, Wyoming (just a few minutes from our Gros Ventre Campground.)

We arrived early, and of course made time for a little sightseeing and some photo ops.



 And then...it was time!! We all got suited up in our life-jackets, and boarded the shuttle to ride to the river. We had only been driving for a few minutes, when our driver noticed a huge crowd on the side of the road. He said it was probably for a moose. A MOOSE!!! I was so excited, but trying to play it cool. I absolutely love seeing animals in the wild, and had been really hoping for a moose-sighting on our trip. The AWESOME driver asked casually if anyone wanted to stop to see it. Me (and thankfully one other guy) said sure! The driver pulled over to a safe spot and the girls and I hopped out with my camera. I had forgotten to bring my zoom lens out, but who cared. It was a MOOSE. So amazing to see this guy in the wild. It was amazing, and even more special to share with my girls.


 I know the driver probably sees moose all of the time, and it was no big deal to him. So, I was especially appreciative that he took the time to pull over for all of us tourists. It was one of the highlights of my trip.

When we arrived at the river, the staff got the raft ready, and we excitedly waited and looked around.


 
The guide (and the rest of the passengers) were kind enough to offer us the front of the raft. That was very special for the kids, as they could peek their heads over the front of the boat and watch the water and the wildlife.

As we took off, the guide explained that due to the heat (ha-it was about 75-80 and BEAUTIFUL for us!) we probably wouldn't see much wildlife except for eagles. Eagles?!! I didn't even know we'd see them. Now, I was even more excited!
 They all seemed to be enjoying the ride as well!
 Our little adventurers laughed and squealed as we went over any type of (semi) rapids or waves. It was really fun. I can't wait until they are old enough for white-water rafting. We will definitely be back! And we'll definitely use Lewis & Clark again. They were so nice and knowledgeable and really family-friendly. We loved them! So glad we found such a good company on our first try.
 The kids were more excited about rafting, then wildlife, but who cares?! We all had a blast!

Soon, our guide pointed out a Bald Eagle in the tree. WOW!! What a beautiful bird. I could not believe we were seeing one in real life. It was amazing.
 We got to see this mama (or dad) eagle above their nest!
Then we saw a marmot (like a beaver) on the rocks. Little guy wouldn't turn to face us, so I got a back shot.
 
This Crane looked like he was posing for us.
 The most stunning part of the trip was floating along the river while Bald Eagles soared above us. We must have seen at least ten birds on the trip. It was amazing!
 Once I knew what to look for, I could easily spot the bright white head and tail feathers even from a great distance.
 As you can see from all of my photos, I simply couldn't get enough of these magnificent birds.
 They were truly beauty in action, and it was really touching to see them flying above us.
 Being out here, water rushing beneath me, huge sky above me, mountains all around me, and seeing these eagles flying above, I can see why they were chosen as our national bird. They are really majestic.



 Here's another nest, high up in the trees.



 I was so focused on this bird, above it's nest, that I didn't even notice it's (probable) mate catching a fish below it.
 When the guide pointed it out, I had just enough time to snap this blurry picture of it in the water below. What an amazing day. This really truly was one of the best days of my life. I can't recommend this experience enough. What a thrill.

And so happy to enjoy this special day with my loves. My heart is full. 
 


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