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Vacation, Pt. 4 (2006-06-06 - 10:26 a.m.)

I wonder if the world will end today. Probably not.

It's day five of our vacation and day three in Wyoming. I have seen and done things that I have never seen or done before.

We have been pretty close to the Grand Teton mountain range over the last day or so. Yesterday, after we all managed to wake up and have some breakfast, we set out on a scenic drive of Grand Teton National Park. It's actually relatively cheap to visit our national parks. We got a seven-day pass for both Grand Teton and Yellowstone parks for only $25.00. Not per person, either. One fee for the vehicle. So whoever we can cram into the vehicle is covered by the one fee. I think that's a pretty good value.

The scenic drive lived up to its name. It actually winds in and out of the park several times, taking you up north on a regular highway, but with breathtaking views of the entire Teton range all the way up. There are several turnoffs where you can just stop and take pictures or just bask in the glory. Being a Christian, I look at these mountains and wonder how anyone could not believe in God. But that's a whole different issue. I'm not trying to persuade any atheists today. Here is a view of part of the range from one of the turnoffs. The Snake River winds in front of it. Of course, it was impossible to get the whole range in one photo. I took several that I might be able to stitch together when I get home to my other computer.

Here is one of several spots where the runoff from the melting snow was freely flowing to the river. These spots are so serene and peaceful, even with the roar of the flowing water.

And here is a beautiful shot of Mount Moran (part of the Teton Range) looming over the Snake River. It's even more spectacular in person. I hear that in the early morning, there is a beautiful reflection of the mountain in the river. Maybe we will catch that before we have to leave.

We had to hurry through the final leg of the scenic drive because we had to catch our float trip at 5pm. So there are several spots that we will go back to later.

When the van arrived to carry us upriver to where the float trip would start, we were a little surprised to see it towing what was little more than an overgrown inflated raft. *eek!!* I wish, now, that I had taken a picture of the "boat" behind the van, but I just didn't think of that at the moment. Anyway, there were two others on our trip, making seven in the boat. Plus the guide. Eight, then. And he sat all five of us in one end with the other two in the opposite end. (!?) We inquired as to whether he really wanted to do that or not. He didn't seem worried.

We were all fitted with lifevests, and given a brief safety lecture, including what to do if we should "find ourselves outside of the boat." I liked the way she worded that. There was no mention of "falling out" at all. Oh..."she" was the van driver. Stacy. She didn't go with us, because, you know, somebody has to take the van back to the finishing point.

Joe was our guide. I want you to know, this young man was amazing. The things he had to do with those oars while we were floating...I expect it takes tremendous arm strength and stamina. Here is a picture of Joe. Sort of. I never got a shot of him while he was facing our end.

Anyway, the float trip was fascinating and great fun. And no one found themselves "outside of the boat." That's a really good thing. I don't think it was ever even close. One more picture, this is a shot of the Teton range from the boat in the middle of the Snake River. We also saw an eagle in its nest while on this trip, but I could never focus on it through the camera viewfinder. The boat tended to bob up and down quite a bit. There were also a couple of elk that we saw, and, although we saw no beavers, we saw plenty of evidence of them. Bark chewed off of the first three feet of trees, and entire trees felled.

I want to thank everyone who offered help regarding "the critter" that we were feeding in our back yard. We did some research on the "internets" and discovered that it appears to be a Wyoming Ground Squirrel. It looks a lot like a chipmunk, but has no stripes. And, yesterday morning, we saw these! Aren't they adorable?? There were at least three other in another hole, as well.

As far as Stephanie goes, she was pretty good all day yesterday, right up until time to go to sleep. The problem we are having is that she doesn't want to sleep in the bedroom because it's really dark and doesn't have a tv. But Rachel and The Boyfriend are staying up really late, watching dvds and stuff down in the living room. So this causes some anxiety in Stephanie. We aren't sure yet how to handle this, other than to just deal with it. It's only four more days. (Waaaahhhh!!) *Doesn't want to go back to Texas*

Not sure what today holds. It is totally unplanned at this point. Right now, it is 10am-ish, and only one other person (Christi) is up. She and I may run off and take in the lakes area of that scenic drive and just leave all the kids at the condo. I think they were mostly bored with the drive yesterday, anyway.

They're parasailing out our back door again. That looks like fun. Maybe 150 pounds from now, I'll try something like that.

TTFN, y'all

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