June 26, 2018
After a cyclone of a trip, it is hard to believe that our time together has come to a close. Two weeks seems like a long time at the start but we are pretty shocked to find out how short it really is. Returning phones to wanting eyes at the end of the trip was pretty funny to watch, but here’s some of what happened before:
Fresh from our fantastic rafting section on the Salmon, we arrived back at our original campground to wrap things up. Packing as much as possible, we set up our Mountain Hardware Shifter tents and felt just how close airport day really was. Thomas wins tent veteran of the trip, that dude is pretty good at setting those up. Like proud parents, we watched Merrill pound in stakes like a seasoned outdoorsman and Charlotte set up a ground pad like she hadn’t ever seen a mattress before. Ahead of us was one of the most anticipated activities of the trip: town day! Jack V was excited to indulge his consumer side for one more time, carefully planning out his route through downtown. Brooks made some unprecedented finds at the thrift store, getting a free canvas bag for his troubles from the cashier. I just know that Eliza found the hot new fashion of the fall there and am assuming that she will trend set for the whole country next semester. Spence, tasteful as always, found a nice Snake River fly fishing T-shirt that I can picture him wearing into his sixties. Addie got to the park just in time to enjoy a fake shootout put on by some local thespians in the town square. Lizzie found some never before seen T-shirt stores, a feat in downtown Jackson. I’m sure that the threads she copped were supreme. Jack G made some ambitious purchases at the candy store that likely fueled his epic sugar crash that occurred hours later. Later at banquet, we were all entertained by Daniel’s impressive impressions as we enjoyed some wonderful Mexican at our favorite local spot – Pica’s Mexican Taqueria.
Our final moonup, we reflected on the changes that this trip has instilled in us and how much we appreciated each other as a group. About four hours of sleep were had before we got up bright and early to hit the airport, still to dazed to process our parting.
To the kids: we are so thankful that you took a chance and came on this trip. We are so excited to see what wonderful people you become and have the utmost confidence that you can accomplish anything that you set your mind to. We say it a lot but only because we mean it – we are SO proud of you and SO lucky to have met you.
Liv and Riv
June 25, 2018
After a whirlwind 48 hours, we are incredibly grateful to be together, happy, and healthy as a group. On Friday morning we embarked on our last leg of our trip, setting sail into the rushing rapids of the Salmon River. After a quick ride from our overnight campsite, our guide Lauren dropped us at our river put-in near the very end of the road at Vinegar Creek and set us free to quench our thirst for the open water we had for so long been waiting to encounter. There we met our river guides who led us on our 70-mile journey through one of the deepest canyons in the country, surmounting even the depths of the Grand Canyon. As we bid farewell to our new friend Lauren and paddled purposefully away from the sand banks, both our heads and hearts were open to the new adventures that would await us brought on by the idyllic Idaho air.
The food was incredible. Our fantastic guides cooked up a large amount of savory tomato sauce, seasoned just enough to bring out the delicate flavor of the tomatoes. Adding meatballs, we brought the dish to new heights with lightly salted noodles cooked al dente. Our second day of rafting contained the most rapids. We were well fed in the morning, props to the bacon chef Merrill for frying up some deeelicious slices while lightly salting them. Using these calories, Jack G jumped in the water more than the family of ducks that followed us. Brooks rode the front of the raft cowboy style, plunging into the troughs of the waves only to re-emerge untouched each time. Daniel the spaniel was all over the splash fights, a menace to be reckoned with. Once again, Lizzie managed to sleep through an astounding amount of noise, putting on a chilling clinic taking a nap on the side of the raft during a rapid. My man Jack V somehow (with guide approval) swam through an entire rapid without raft assistance, making us all feel like weaklings. Tom the bomb kept us all entertained on the beach with stories and some stellar football throws. Dat gurl Eliza encouraged everybody to sleep put on the beach both nights, resulting in some pretty cute pictures. Brooks claims this was his idea but I’m not getting in the middle of that! Our second dinner of burgers fueled our desires for the last day of rafting. Addie, clad in aviators, helped to prepare an expansive spread of burger toppings for our great enjoyment. Charlotte finished off the buffet with a masterfully prepared broccoli carrot and cheese casserole. Spence rode in the front of the raft, conquering many a wave and taking the slashes to the dome for the team. Everyone wanted to send a few shoutouts to friends and family:
Eliza: Hey Fam. Moondance has been so. much. fun!!! I love our group and leaders a ton. Rafting was so cool, and the food was delicious. See y’all soon!
Lizzie: hey. This is super fun and I like my group a lot! I will see y’all in a few days
Addie: Hey mom and dad! I’m having so much fun!! I love our group and Rivers and Olivia! I’m so glad we went rafting because it was so much fun!! I can’t wait to see you soon!
Spence: Hey mom and dad! I am having an awesome time on Moondance! Everything we have been doing has been so fun and so pretty. See y’all soon! Say hi to Ellie and the dogs!
Brooks: Happy birthday dad. Rafting was fun.
Jack G: Hello earthlings, first off, I want to thank you guys for the ability to visit such an amazing place. I miss you guys a lot and don’t want to leave. Love y’all
Jack V: We are having a good time. Rafting was pretty fun and really pretty. See you in a few days.
Thomas: Sup fam, camp is so much fun and can’t wait to see you! Happy Father’s Day and bday dad! I got some cool shirts at Walmart and candy! Tomorrow we’re going to be walking around town!. Love y’all
Charlotte: Hi mom and dad. I am having so much fun! Rafting was amazing! I am glad I stayed but I am ready to get home to you and the dogs. I love you so much.
Merrill: Hey mom and dad! I am so glad I stayed in Wyoming and Idaho. Rafting was so much fun! My friends are awesome, and we have grown into a family. Miss you and can’t wait to see you!
Daniel: I’m having a great time here and can’t wait to see you guys.
Look for a final trip update after we send your kiddos on their journeys back home!
Riv & Liv
June 20, 2018
Good day from the land of the pines! After some much-needed basketball and showers at the Teton Recreation Center, we returned to our campground in Jackson with a bit more skill when it came to setting up tents. We have spent the last two days climbing with the well-known Exum Mountain Guides of Jenny Lake, ascending cliffs as far as our hearts and ropes would let us. What we found in the beautiful Cascade Canyon can barely be put into words. Rappelling off of ledges (secured by two ropes and the assurances of our guides) it was possible to see into the very heart of what makes Jackson Hole so special. At this, essentially the halfway point in our trip, we would like to hand out some awards:
Biggest smile – Emma, for keeping us all positive in the rainy interlude yesterday
Chillest chiller – Brooks consistently is hanging and reminding us all to take it easy
Cheese chopper supreme – Charlotte, your efforts really made the quesadillas tonight
Best laugh – Jack G: no explanation needed
Realist rappeler – We could barely get Addie off that thing
Slickest slider – what genius taught Daniel how to water slide?
Moose whisperer – What were you saying to those moose Merrill?
Spider monkey – Modern belaying methods can barely keep up with Tom’s expertise
YGG (You Go Girl) Award – Lizzie, conquering rock walls for women everywhere
Vlogger extraordinaire – Eliza, like and subscribe below the video!
Solid as a rock – We have yet to see anything phase Spence
Burger Boss – Jack V slow cooked to perfection
Yesterday after climbing and a quick stop the laundromat, we took advantage of the mystical mountain weather and headed up the Bridger Gondola in Teton Village to catch a look at the famous ski run Corbet’s Couloir. Also visible was a majestic view of the Teton Valley in all its splendor. As the clouds parted, we saw the mighty Grand Teton peer at us as if it had something on the tip of its tongue, just to fade back into the mists.
After Teton Village, we sat around the fire pit and cooked up some expertly seasoned burgers with the help of Jack V. Our dinner was interrupted by three visitors: a mother moose and her two recently born babies! Observing the wildlife from a safe distance, we snapped a few pictures and watched as they peacefully grazed on the willows surrounding our campground.
Our day of climbing today was followed up by some fuego quesadillas that Spence cranked out with unrivaled efficiency and expertise. Jack G laid down the butter while Spence executed the flips.
Our thirst for extreme times has barely been slaked. Tomorrow, we bid a temporary goodbye to the Tetons and head to Idaho to raft the mighty Salmon River. Camping on the beaches and floating in luxury, we are on a mission to do as many swims as possible and cast a few lines into some eddies.
See you on the flip side!
Liv & Riv
June 18, 2018
We speak to you from the land of plentiful fun and abundant joy, the Wind River Range. Fresh from an exhilarating experience at the Jackson Hole Rodeo where Thomas represented his home state of South Carolina by snatching a football tossed by a rodeo clown, we headed into the biggest wild. Our hearts are full of the many experiences and trials that we have brilliantly championed in the past few days.
Hiking two miles into Sedgwick Meadows with our bearded and extremely capable companion/guide Jayce, we discovered breathtaking views and fertile pastures. Exploring rarely used mountain passes at elevations of over ten thousand feet, our group was short of breath but full of good spirits. Shout-out to Lizzie for taking an expert micro nap on a slab of granite during our lunch break, way to maximize! Our group was entertained by Jack G while Jack V trailblazed with our stellar guide.
After our ten-mile day hike to unprecedented elevation and views, Charlotte, Brooks, and Merrill went for a refreshing polar plunge in a pleasant pastoral creek within walking distance of our camp. It was frigid but fantastic! Addie saved the day during the second dinner by making a water run for the group. At night, Emma’s smiles lit up the inside of our tarp, and Eliza cheered us up by pity laughing at Rivers’ terrible jokes. Spence showed us how a true angler pursues his quarry in the stream, casting elegantly through the winds that give the range its name. Daniel was unfazed by the local mosquitoes, barely even noticing their efforts.
We now set our eyes upon a new adventure, making our way to the Teton National Park to rock climb and rapture in beauty. Everyone sends a shout-out to their dads for a happy Father’s Day!!
Keep a lookout for our next trip update!
Liv & Riv