Part of our motivation to take a Great American Road Trip was to explore the mind-bogglingly massive open spaces that the United States has to offer. In sheer numbers, our country has 84 million acres of protected land, 85 million miles of clean river and 4.5 million acres of ocean, lakes and reservoirs. This does not include state parks, tribal lands or otherwise designated outdoor spaces. Think about that for a minute. Because it would take a lifetime of dedicated traveling to explore that terrain and on this day, Kristin and I spent two hours floating a whole ten miles of it down the Snake River in the Grand Tetons of Wyoming.
Solitude Float Trips hosted our frozen exploration of this stunning stretch of water, and the company couldn’t have been more accommodating and friendly. We canceled day of the previous day because it was virtually snowing, and they graciously bumped our trip up without a complaint. Keeping in line with our weather woes, the next day wasn’t much better but at least it wasn’t sleeting.
(Isn’t she cute in a camo hat? Yellow shooting glasses would be more appropriate but I like the fusion.)
Walls that rise to 13,770 feet (Grand Teton) flank the river and are often shrouded in clouds and fog. We glimpsed the peaks on rare occasions and were simply floored with the grandeur. Even if you’re not a climber you get an itch to scale some mountains.
The sunlight belies the temperature gauge. It was about 45 degrees and the river was heavy. At least six states downstream were—and probably still are—being inundated by flows like this one.
The chocolate milk turns crystal clear when the rains stop coming EVERY DAY for weeks on end.
The boats used on this stretch of water were created for these rivers. They are stable, steer easily and are decidedly not designed for rapids. More like a 70’s Cadillac convertible than a Tesla roadster for cruising the byways.
The next evening we left the cozy confines of Snake River Lodge to head out to Wednesday rodeo night in Jackson, Wyoming. Purple cowboys rode pissed-off horses and attempted to dominate their bovines.
I found it interesting (and really smart) that the “youth” riders all wore helmets with face masks. Of course, real bareback riders don’t need head protection.
Personally, I’d take a stab at riding one of these bad boys but I’m nuts like that. I’d totally wear a helmet. And maybe sneak a little hipshot of bourbon to stay loose.
Clowns and cute, flannel-clad teenage riders and their dancing horses filled out the evening. I’d venture to guess we were the only tourists in these empty stands but for us, that’s just the way we like it.
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