Greetings from Gardiner, Montana!
We’ve had some amazing days since our last update. After our Gros Ventre backpacking section we had a leisurely morning which included a delicious chocolate chip pancake breakfast. Once we finished our meal we packed up and made our way to Yellowstone National Park for our sea kayaking section. We spent the afternoon at our Grant Village campsite playing games and doing an activity to determine what type of leadership style everyone has. For dinner we enjoyed some delicious pasta with the Wilderness Ventures kayak specialist, George. George became part of the family for our 3 days of backcountry kayaking on Yellowstone Lake.
During our first morning of kayaking we learned about proper paddling techniques, all of the gear, and how to pack the boats. Then it was time to hit the water! Duff was a natural when it came to paddling, he was able to use his previous experience from Maine to help out the group. The paddle to our campsite was about 7 miles, and on the way out we stopped for lunch and a quick nap on a small gravel island, then headed to the campsite for a classic mac and cheese dinner. The second day we went for a day paddle and experienced some strong winds. Erica and Anna, who were paddling partners, did a very impressive job working as a team and persevering. During our paddle we saw a number of bald eagles, and we also had a deer living in our campsite that we called “Fox”. On the last day of sea kayaking, we hit the showers and did some laundry after completing a very early morning. Several people in the group decided to sample the local huckleberry ice cream.
After eating the delicious treats, we made our way up to Montana to try out zip lining and whitewater rafting. This was one of the group’s favorite days so far. We started the day with zip lining, which included 4 zip lines, a sky bridge, and a belay off the course. The longest zip line was over 1000 feet long, and we reached speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Ben had a huge grin on his face the whole time. Throughout the course the guides gave us a number of different poses to try while zipping, including the cannonball, superman, lemon, and Spider-Man. Ben was excited to give them all a shot, but his personal favorite by far was the lemon. Olivia really enjoyed the trust fall, which involved starting the zip backwards. Erica tried the Spider-Man during the final belay off the course, which involved hanging upside down while being lowered.
After zip lining we had lunch at a local park and then it was time for rafting. The rafting involved class 2 and 3 rapids in the Yellowstone river, and it took about an hour and a half to complete the 8-mile trip. This was Emily’s first time whitewater rafting and she absolutely loved it. Emily was a bit hesitant about getting out of the boat to swim since the water was a bit chilly, but once she got in she had a blast swimming around with the rest of the group. Anna decided to seize the opportunity to “ride the bull” which involved sitting on the front of the raft through some large rapids. She was laughing the whole time as the waves crashed over the front of the boat, drenching her. To end the rafting trip the guides flipped over one of the larger boats, turning it into a makeshift slip-n-slide, which the group loved. It was an awesome day, but we’re all excited for a goodnight’s rest.
Tomorrow we will spend the day sight seeing in Yellowstone before heading back to Jackson for our second backpacking trip. We will let you know how it goes.
Adventure is out there!