June 25, 2019
The past four days have been spent backpacking through the Wind River Range with some truly unique weather! Upon leaving our beloved Stan the Van at the trailhead, we hiked a couple of miles through snowfall until we reached our base camp for the trip. Christian was the pack mule and helped out by carrying a pack as big as him! We reached the site and began to unload. Making PB & J’s in the snow was a first for everyone, so we were already off to a memorable trip. The rest of the day alternated between snow and sunshine as we set up camp. Our guide, Connor, showed us how he hunts for hidden Native American arrowheads around our area so we got a history lesson as well! The weather kept us from any serious exploring, so we played cards as our cook crew set up the kitchen for chicken fajitas. Ben, Sophie, and Lucy created another outstanding meal, even more impressive while done in the snow! Following dinner, we learned how to wrap our supplies into a “bear ball” using a tarp to keep them safe. Evelyn and Anna did a textbook bear ball but drew some laughs when they tried moving it since it was twice their size. Ben and Evelyn gathered us for our evening Moonup. The snow had stopped by this time, allowing us to enjoy the calm of the Wind River Range. Ben and Evelyn led an awesome Moonup and elected Christian and Naya as LOD’s for the following day’s activities. Everyone quickly ran to their tents to bundle up in their sleeping bags for a warm night’s sleep. We woke up the next morning surprised to see nothing but sunshine and blue skies! With good weather came good breakfast! Naya, Claire, and Lucy woke everyone up to the smell of chocolate chip pancakes and hot chocolate. Christian and Naya chose a challenging hike to the Crow’s Nest on Independence Mountain for the day’s adventure.
We all packed a lunch and set off. The weather remained clear until about halfway through our hike when it started slightly snowing. Luckily, we were hiking through a wooded area so we were unaffected. We had split up our supplies so that one pack was being carried between three people each, with split carrying time. Props to Jack who somehow managed to convince Reed and Charlie to carry their group’s pack the entire way. Jack returned the favor by providing more laughs with surprise snowball attacks. Upon reaching the peak, we were silenced by the awesome view and the promise of well-deserved food. While eating lunch, we enjoyed the view and laughed about the image of Charlie catching a snowball to the face. After lunch, the weather began to turn r so we decided to head back to our site. With Connor and our LOD’s leading the way, we made our way back to camp. Starving from our day long hike, our cook crew began making our dinner for the evening. Evelyn, Anna, and Ben prepared enough Mac N Cheese to feed a small army, and we dug in. The post dinner dish cleaning by the river led to a sunset photo shoot as we tried to perfect the group pyramid formation. Big shoutout to the guys on bottom who stayed strong! Our following Moonup was meaningful and reflective, as we had spent most of the day admiring our beautiful surroundings. Later that night, the girls planned an all-time prank on the guys. Our incredible guide, Connor, could produce a pretty convincing mountain lion growl. While the guys climbed into their tent for the night, Connor snuck around and made it seem like a mountain lion was on the loose for some food. Needless to say, the guys were more than convinced and the girls enjoyed the prank of all pranks. Eventually, everyone quieted down and we crashed for our hike out the next day. Quickly waking up and packing our stuff, we made quick progress back to Stan the Van. Hobson drove as everyone enjoyed a brief nap during the car ride. We arrived at Pinedale, WY to a wonderful surprise… SHOWERS! Freshly showered and revived, we made our way to a local burger joint where we enjoyed some awesome food. We are on our way to Jackson for our last night together, but excited to return to our first campsite! Everyone is having a blast and looking forward to seeing their families soon!
June 21, 2019
Checking in from McCall, Idaho! We just finished our MASSIVE ice cream cones from Ice Cream Alley and we’re on our way to the Wind River Range for some epic backpacking! The past four days have been spent rafting/swimming in the beautiful Salmon, lounging on riverside beaches, and dining on amazing food. Our river guides (Drew, Preston, and Jasper) were super fun and educated us on the rich history of the Salmon River. Claire showed everyone how to properly “ride the bull” on the raft by sitting on the very front of the raft during some of the more memorable rapids. We took turns jumping off the raft and swimming during the calmer sections. The first day of rafting ended on a small beach where we helped unload our fully stocked kitchen. Landon directed the unloading almost every day, practically organizing camp by himself on the last day.
The first night, Naya and the guides cooked us restaurant worthy burgers while we swam and relaxed on the beach. Sophie surprised herself by learning how to throw a perfect football spiral (NFL here we come!) as we played in the river. The first night our LODs voted to sleep on the beach under the stars so we fell asleep to a couple of shooting stars! We woke up early to the smell of breakfast on the beach as we packed our gear in anticipation for the day. We began by riding the biggest rapids of our journey, affectionately named “Ruby Rapids”. Evelyn and Lucy proved their worth on the river as they led the paddling through huge waves! We were quickly soaked and loving it. Stopping at a large field for lunch led to a legendary game of ultimate frisbee between the guides and our group. Charlie and Ben helped us out by making some ESPN highlight catches. We continued to our next beach for dinner where we had beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and canyon walls. Chicken fajitas led to full stomachs and a renewed sense of energy. After learning we didn’t know how to swing dance, Hobson taught everyone a couple of moves and we eventually found our groove on the beach! Christian turned out to be a natural, while Reed and Anna struggled to find their rhythm, but finally figured out how to do the pretzel (The hardest move!) Everyone was exhausted from the day’s activities as we quickly fell asleep on the beach… with MORE SHOOTING STARS!!
The following day had calmer waters, so we enjoyed more swimming and even got to captain the rafts! Needless to say, we went in some circles before catching the hang of directing the rafts. We floated to our last beach of the trip, which proved to be the most beautiful and our favorite. An awesome view of the mountains led to a terrific last night. We all sat by the fire for our last riverside Moonup and enjoyed laughing at the funnier moments of the trip. We talked late into the night as we enjoyed the serenity of the river nearby. Another night sleeping under the night sky led to more shooting stars! Waking up the next morning was bittersweet as we knew our river journey was closing, but we had shared so many amazing memories and laughs. We enjoyed a few last rapids as we floated to our exit point.
We thanked our guides and loaded into Stan the Van for our long ride back to Wyoming. Jack cracked us up by loudly mooing each time we passed a group of cows, which of course led to the whole car mimicking animal noises with each passing. The car ride went quicker than expected, with plenty of card games and singing. As we neared Grow Ranch for our hiking section, we got excited thinking about catching trout in the wind River Range! We stopped to get fishing licenses and then continued to the ranch. Everyone was excited for a change of pace and a break from the sun! We will be back in tents as we hike through the River Range with our guide, Connor. A colder change in temperature will lead to warmer clothing but more awesome views! Super pumped for more adventure and more memories to come!
Hobson and Anna
June 15, 2019
Our last few days in Jackson and the Grand Teton National Park have been nothing short of spectacular! After meeting everyone in the Jackson Hole Airport, we were off on our Big and Wild adventure! Naturally, our first stop was the Jackson Rodeo where we saw Sophie, Landon, and Naya wrangle and chase many sheep in front of the entire rodeo.
After a night of sleeping under the stars, we woke up bright and early and headed into the National Park. We met up with our awesome climbing guides and took a boat ride across beautiful Jenny Lake. We practiced our fundamentals with Benja the guide (Right on!), until it was time for lunch. A quick hike led us to Hidden Falls where we caught a slight spray from the waterfall as we ate our lunch. An all-out game of ultimate frisbee kicked up after our return to camp, with Claire catching SIX end zone passes! Reed filled our post game appetite by grilling a legendary amount of hot dogs for everyone.
After dinner we decided to go on an adventure to find the fabled Wedding Tree vista outside the small town of Kelly, Wyoming. Our first failed attempt led us to a beautiful field where we played tag and watched the sunset (No complaints!). We immediately hit the hay after a long day back at the campsite. We woke up well rested and prepared for a heavy day of climbing. We met our guides and hiked into an area known as Boulder City. We watched Christian conquer his fear of heights as he repelled down one of the biggest climbs! Anna proved her mountain goat skills as she posted the fastest times of the day. We broke for lunch as our LODS (Leaders of the Day) planned out the rest of our day. Jack and Evelyn explained the plan they had created and then we continued climbing. Ben and Charlie got accolades for their knot tying and belaying skills as they helped the guides set up more difficult climbs.
After an exhilarating day of climbing, our LODS decided it was time to cool off. Jack and Evelyn bravely led the charge into a refreshingly cold lake near the guide’s base. We finished cooling off and decided it was time for dinner. Lucy and Sophie prepared our best dinner yet chicken fajitas! Everyone had seconds and some even had thirds! After dinner we finally had a successful trip to the Wedding Tree! We ate some watermelon at the top of the hike to the tree and enjoyed a legendary view of the Tetons at sunset. Following Moonup, we all went to bed in preparation for our drive to Idaho for our rafting!! Until next time!!
June 12, 2019
Howdy Big Wild Families!
The group has landed safely in Jackson and are on the way to their first night’s campsite! They are so excited to begin their adventures!