Another great day on this trip. After spending some downtime at the campground this morning, we headed north to Big Sky, Montana and Geyser’s Whitewater. Our surprise for the kids was a half-day scenic rafting trip down the Gallatin River. We arrived for our afternoon trip at 1pm. After filling out forms, we were led to an assembly line for getting equipped – splash jackets, life jackets, helmets, and finally, river socks. Boy were we a sight to see. Annie ended up having to buy some water shoes because she couldn’t bring herself to put her feet in the ones provided by the outfitter.
The air was just in the high sixties today, and the water much colder than that. This river is almost entirely snow melt, and it doesn’t ever get warm. That’s what our guide, Jaye, was telling us. She’s a local person, who teaches 1st grade during the school year, and guides whitewater rafting trips in the summer. She is a real BMW (otherwise known as Bad Mountain Woman). Interestingly, her husband is a smoke jumper which is a forest firefighter who parachutes into remote areas to fight forest fires. She was great with the kids.
The trip was about 12 miles long and 2 ½ hours. There were some waves to splash us, and we had to paddle just a little. When that water hit, it was numbing! Christopher dropped his paddle into the water twice and luckily a girl, named Jozlynn, Miranda’s age who was with us caught it both times. Jaye threatened to throw him overboard if he kept doing that! The scenery was gorgeous as you can imagine. Travelling with our raft group was a group of people who were kayaking. They looked like they were having a ball in the mild whitewater, but they must have been cold. Of course, they were wearing wetsuits while we had our shorts and the splash jackets.
Toward the end of the trip, we went through two different sections of rapids for which Makayla and Christopher rode right up in the front of the raft. They caught most of the water right in the face. Right at the end, the kids could get “dipped” in the water if they wanted. Marissa and Makayla did. Jaye would hold onto them while they dropped into the water up to their stomachs and then she’d pull them right back out. The girls were freezing after this but we got out of the water and into the waiting buses about five minutes later. Chris helped load the rafts onto the trailers while Annie and the kids warmed up in the sun outside the bus.
We had brought extra clothes with us, so after the 10 minute bus ride back to the outfitter, we had the kids change. They also gave out hot chocolate for those that wanted it.
All in all, we think the kids really enjoyed the adventure. We think the older ones are probably ready and able to tackle a much rougher whitewater trip if we ever decided to do it.
On the way back to the camp site, we stopped for dinner. The first place we went didn’t allow kids under 12. Strange since almost every family here probably has kids that age. Anyway, we found another place where the food was great.
Annie and the kids closed out the night by doing a little souvenir shopping at the camp store where they offered 10% off to anyone wearing pajamas to the store after 8pm. Chris decided to sit this one out but gave strict instructions to Miranda on some sites he wanted her to pick up.
Tomorrow, we close out our stay at Yellowstone by touring the upper loop road and possibly a special dinner. The Sunday it’s off toward home.
Miranda’s thought of the day: “Today was so much fun, the rafting was great and wet…and I loved our rafting guide, Jaye!! I hope we can do it again sometime.”