Spoiled Rotten on the Snake River

snake river whitewater rafting grand tetons jackson hole

I didn’t have my first taste of BBQ until my late 20s.

Throughout the next decade there would be occasions where I would offer up this curious nugget from my culinary back story to various people in mixed company. There was always a natural lead-in, I’m not that random (although at this point in this particular story that might be a tough sell). Without fail, each person would hear my BBQ tale of woe, take a look down at my belly and gaze up at my 2nd chin, and stand perplexed. There’s no understanding this kind of math.

Rendezvous introduced me to the words ‘dry rub’ some 13 years ago now. That night in Memphis on someone else’s dime ruined any chance suburban barbecue had of ever making even a half decent impression.

I’d been given license to thumb my nose at imposters. I was spoiled from the start.

My daughters never expressed an interest in whitewater rafting, not that we often found ourselves in a position or location to prompt their desire or give them such an experience.

While in Yellowstone this summer, on the morning of our penultament day in America’s first National Park, I heard rumblings of a rafting wish from the 3rd row of our borrowed Kia Sedona. Bouyed by a not insignificant content creation budget, I set out to make it so once I could get that precious cell signal back in my jittery hands.

With my smartphone humming and chubby right thumb fumbling, I misspelled my way through a Google search that landed me on the website of Teton Whitewater. Queue the harps and chorus of angels.

24 hours later, after an unfullfilling sunrise drive through Hayden Valley, we were in Jackson Hole’s surprisingly handsome Kmart buying the cheapest beach towels on offer — $4.19 each, hanging from an end cap about 4 aisles in from the sliding front door. Good deals all around.

Sunscreen was applied thoroughly in the parking lot while plastic spoons scooped up sugary cereal from individual to-go bowls.

My girls went whitewater rafting on the Snake River, in the imposing shadow of the Tetons, on Independence Day, beneath blue skies, in one of the most picturesque small towns in the country.

Few rivers will be capable of summoning scenery to match, fewer still, a backdrop to inspire an equal amount of awe.

It’s said that you never forget your first. That’s for sure true when breaking seals at a legendary rib joint and atop an epic river with a grandiose mountain range over your shoulder.

They’ve been spoiled, my girls, by the warm sun on a postcard July 4th day in Wyoming, by a raging river with a name that’s got memorable bite, and by a company, Teton Whitewater, who set the bar up into the clouds.

May my two daughters understand how good they had it and may they never settle for anything less.

*Thanks to Kia for the Sedona loaner and for funding our cross country roadtrip. This whitewater adventure wouldn’t have happened without their support. 

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