We stepped off the plane directly onto the runway in the tiny, adorable Jackson airport just after 10 p.m. Friday night. Our bags had been waiting for us for hours so we scooped them up, hugged Suzy and Sky and headed to their condo, but not before making an important stop. We pulled over in a clearing on a dark road so we could look up and see the best sky full of stars Caitlin and I had ever seen. It was incredible being able to see the Milky Way and endless constellations lighting up the dark Wyoming night*. We enjoyed the view in the chilly 40 degree Jackson air and headed home to sleep and get ready for a busy day in Jackson.
*Right away, I turned to Zack and asked, “Is there some job we can do here so we never have to leave?” That’s how incredible it was.
We started the morning with a gondola ride up the mountain of the ski resort for a yoga class led by my favorite yogi. Sky stayed at the bottom of the mountain to play disc golf while Caitlin and I rode up with Suzy and her best friend Jenny. Typically I struggle to get into a yoga class, but I love getting to take a class my sister is teaching. She puts everyone at ease, is reassuring and helpful in getting us into poses, paces the hour well and has the best music mixes*. It was a perfect soothing way to start the day. We got delicious juice after and I won a yoga mat in a raffle.
*THE BEST!! I heard multiple people ask her about her playlist after class (including me).
After yoga and a quick delicious lunch, we geared up for a day exploring Grand Teton National park. We rode around in a canoe while Suzy paddle-boarded. I attempted the SUP, but it was more of a crouch and then fall awkwardly after a minute board than stand-up board when I tried.
“…where the buffalo roam…”
Like so. Just breathe it in, y’all. #nofilter
One of my personal faves was this one of my SIL and I. Love this girl!
We’d worked up quite an appetite and went to dinner at the place we’d planned to go to the previous night, before our flight was delayed. There was an outdoor porch and we got to watch the sunset as we had a drink and burgers.
More gorgeous sunset.
We’d planned to go to a funk show after letting our stomachs settle, but only Sky had the energy to go to the show. Caitlin, Suzy and I fell asleep on the couch watching Frances Ha on Netflix.
The next morning we decided to go for a nice walk with Jenny and her two sweet dogs. They reminded me a lot of Scooby and they don’t run away if you let them off the leash, so I got to throw tennis balls for them over and over as we walked. Well, at least until I threw them into impossible to retrieve places. One went into a tree, and the other disappeared down a rock cliff. We still need to send Jenny a replacement pack.
My dad treated us to a fancy dinner at an incredible restaurant he’d eaten at last time he visited, but it was new to us. We had a couple cocktails and had a long leisurely meal capped off with this incredible s’more dessert. LOOK AT THAT S’MORE! The fanciest one you’ve ever seen.
Since parents were in town, we went out for another delicious brunch the next morning. My dad’s girlfriend Susan treated us all to brunch to thank me for getting her a discount on her new Macbook. I had the pictured waffles above with candied bacon in and all on top of them. Perfect rafting fuel. I don’t remember what I had, except that it was absolutely delicious. Everything in Wyoming was.
While the rest of our crew headed to go rafting, Caitlin saddled up to bike into town for an afternoon of shopping. Rafting is a bit too strenuous/stressful for me, so I was very pleased to get to bike around and explore on my own for five hours.
Sky let me borrow his bike, so I took the 30-ish minute ride into town from where Sky and Suzy lived to go exploring. I parked the bike at the corner of Deloney and Glenwood, which just so happened to be across from the Jackson Hole Playhouse — which I learned was the oldest building in town! I was drawn in because of the show they were putting on, “The Ballad of Cat Ballou.” This was the nickname my dad gave me growing up, so I had to snap a photo. Then it was off to “lunch” at Moo’s homemade ice creamery, and then wandering around every little jewelry and knick knack shop I could find. I purchased a LOT of local jewelry, because it was some of the most gorgeous and unique stuff I’d ever seen. It was all primarily natural stones, and I finally got a pair of real opal earrings (among other things). Then I had “snack time” at another local ice cream and dessert joint, CocoLove, and headed back home. On my way, I’d intended to get Sky’s front brake fixed (only the back worked), but the first bike shop I went to was closed. I almost gave up, but headed back into town to ensure my journey was successful. All in all, it was a really great day of chatting up the locals and scouring the shelves for unique finds!
Leading up to the trip, Suzy and Sky told us that since it was late in the season it would be super calm on the water, that we really wouldn’t get much white water. I figured it wouldn’t be much rockier than the smooth waters we canoe’d in the day before, but that was not the case.
It was super intense! You can’t even see my dad in this picture, because he fell out off his spot on the right side into the boat while going through one of several wild rapids. The trip was paced nicely with a lot of calm rowing (Sky would yell out commands like “all forward” and I’d echo it from the front) and then we’d dig in for the rapids. No one fell out of the boat, but we all got jostled around and the parents kept falling into the boat.
We made it all the way down the river without anyone falling in and just the right amount of excitement. Every time we’d make it through rough rapids we’d touch our paddles together, like above. It was a truly special day bonding with my dad and sister and their partners, but I missed Caitlin and couldn’t wait to hear about her adventures biking around town. I definitely appreciated Zack’s missing me, but I also knew I’d made the right choice when they told me about the wild waters they faced.
I hadn’t visited my sister since her freshman year of college without a wedding or special family event as an excuse and after having such a wonderful visit, we were already planning our next trip out to Jackson. We spent the last morning wondering if we’d come back to ski or take a snowmobile through Yellowstone or if we’d go camping in the summer, but with extra flight vouchers, we know we’ll be back soon.