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I’m not exactly an outdoor-y person. I like warm weather destinations, cruise ship, palm trees, and sandy beaches. In late May I was confirmed for the Adventures by Disney “Quest for the West” Wyoming vacation. I’d be going to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and embarking on visits to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, as well as a fancy sporting ranch in the mountains. Included in this Adventure was a white water rafting trip on the Snake River. My previous raft trips included the lazy rivers at Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach at Disney World on plastic innertubes in the summer, and the last time I saw mountains was when I left California in 1990 when I lived about an hour from Yosemite (and never visited.) So to say I was an unlikely candidate for this trip, and it was TOTALLY out of my comfort zone, would be accurate.
With some anxiety I bought some more jeans and nice hiking boots, and I dug out the warm clothes. It has been unseasonably cold in Wyoming and highs were maybe in the 60’s if the sun came out, and down into the 30’s at night. I was preparing for cold weather, in mid June. Got a late start to the airport as I had to finish up some stuff at home, but finally got there. This was my first time traveling on American Airlines, and I went from Indianapolis to Dallas. In Dallas I couldn’t find a schedule board and asked a guy at a desk for my terminal–he sent me to D. Didn’t seem right so I called up the flight on my phone (which in hindsight I should have done when I was sitting on the runway) and learned I had to go to Terminal C. More riding on the train. Finally I found my flight and boarded pretty quickly. This was a 757, and it had been a long time since I was on such a nice big plane. We even had a move – The Tourist – which I watched. (It was OK, and I’m glad I didn’t pay to go see it when it came out.)
The flight from DFW was 2 hours and 40 minutes, and it was pretty windy on our approach to JAC. The only thing I had been thinking about was the TV show I watched a few weeks earlier on the world’s Top Ten Most Dangerous Runways–and Jackson Hole was on that list because the runway is short, and surrounded by mountains. Well, one just has to have faith in the flight crew and trust that they’re going to do their job. Obviously things went well, because I’m writing this blog. There’s no jetway at JAC; they roll stairs up to the door and you walk down to the tarmac. I hadn’t been on tarmac since I left the USAF in 1990, and it was sort of strange in this post 9/11 world.
It took a while for the two guys to get our bags off the plane, and after about half an hour I got into my van with my driver (surfer/ski dude) and he took me to the hotel. Upon arrival I texted my roommate, Marisa (I knew her from other Disney events) and as I was checking in my Adventure Guide, Michael, came out to meet me. My luggage was immediately whisked away (even though I was panicking about my laptop, that never leaves my side when I travel) and he took me to our first night dinner. I got there late–but there were people later than me because of flight delays–had some dinner and then went to the room. We’re in the Wort Hotel, which is a historic hotel in Jackson, WY. Its really quite lovely even with its western and lodge-y theme. Went to bed around 11pm as we had an early wake up for breakfast. On the agenda for Thursday was a visit to the Jackson Hole Theatre, and white water rafting (and it was going to be cold!)