I decided to head up to America's wild west for the 4th of July because what better way to celebrate our nations birthday than with the Snake, dutch ovens, the Tetons, and a whole slew of strangers. Despite John being gone, taming the Mexican desert, I still managed to have one of the better 4th's to date (should I feel bad saying that?). Regardless, it was. There is no doubt that Jackson continues to be one of America's favorite gems. Every view deserves a photograph, at the same time, photographs should be outlawed since they could and will never capture the majestic sights. However, here are some lame attempts...
A friend of a friend....of a friend let all 16 of us crash on his floor and this is what we had to wake up to every morning.
Saturday we ran the river and Michelle and I took the duckie down and well, we owned it. PS, it was 65 degrees outside and the river was 45 degrees and 5 layers of waterproof clothing was just enough to keep me warm. Thanks friends with gear.
On Sunday we headed up to Teton national park for some hiking, swimming, and a 2.5 hour long conversation on what it means to be American - don't be fooled into thinking this conversation had any depth, it was essentially a list of things America can claim, like potato salad, demolition derbies, and beach volleyball.
Next we were peer-pressured into swimming to an island in a very cold lake and little heat from the sun. I was surprised to discover that peer-pressure still works - I always thought it was just a middle school thing, but not so. After running a few stairs to get our core temperature up, we made it to the island, only to realize that it was still cold and we still had to swim back. The only thing that kept us from sinking was shouting "hot springs" since that was next on the agenda. Please note that I am a complete cold water wussy so I was feeling pretty tough after the conquered swim, however John would have been mortified at my form.
On our way to the hot spring, we ran into a Swede who was traveling the country solo - we asked him what he loved about America since it was her day and he replied "the curly fries?" It was a good answer so we let him tag along.
The hot spring rocked the party. At one point, we were all sitting on a log and then spontaneously started singing the Star Spangled Banner which ended with us standing and saluting. We dedicated it to the Swede and then in true American fashion, patted ourselves on the back for being so great.
For the festivities, we headed to the park where the rest of the state gathered and made some of the best dutch oven dinner and dessert I've ever had.
The firework show started off a little eh but quickly became a huge wow. It was especially exciting because you could see where the fireworks were set up and shot from. And then when you could feel the ash falling onto your face, it made it really great.
Monday we ran the river again and then headed home. I love the 4th of July. I love a day where you can just love where you come from - no questions asked. We have our faults, we've made some big mistakes in the past, we are probably making some big mistakes now, but I see the good out weighing the bad and I hold a lot of gratitude in the fact that I was born in America the Beautiful.