This summer I was determined to find interesting and "off the beaten path" things to experience. We had an awesome time last summer hiking and kayaking with our friends John and Carol Herr ( who are having a grand time in northeastern Canada this summer, head over there and check it out!), but we didn't really delve into the area's more calm activities. There is so much here to see and do if you look for it.
One of the things we didn't do last year was attend the weekly lectures sponsored by the University of Wyoming and the National Park Services. Thursday nights, for 10 weeks, the AMK Ranch is host to a different guest lecturer on a topic related to our area. The first lecture was June 18, and the subject was "Altruism in Mountain Lions". For a donation of $5.00/person, you are able to have dinner (hamburger or hot dog cookout) and attend the lecture. Four of us, (me, Al, Steve and Teresa), decided to see what it was like, and headed off to the AMK Ranch after we were finished with work.
It was a beautiful afternoon, and the picnic area was right on the shores of Jackson Lake. The burgers were really good, supplied by a local meat company. It was very crowded, though, and we were glad we got there early, although we did end up sitting in the overflow room for the lecture. Luckily, they had anticipated a large crowd, and had set up a video feed to a TV so we could still see the speaker. The lecture itself was very interesting. Through the use of modern technology in the form of webcams and tracking devices, researchers have been able to do much more in-depth studies of mountain lions in the wild, and have pretty much dispelled the common theory that mountain lions are isolated, solitary animals. A description of the lecture can be found here. We had hoped to go to the lecture the following week, which was about the fish hatcheries management in the West, but that leads me into a side story about our refrigerator!
Some of you may remember last summer our Norcold 1210 stopped cooling. Nothing was ever found wrong with it. We had replaced the thermistor, but that didn't work. What did end up working was leaving it turned off for 48 hours and restarting it. This is known in the RV world as "burping" the fridge. It worked fine again until the end of December, a week before we finished up at Amazon. Once again, after being off for at least 48 hours, it started cooling again. Meanwhile, you're tripping over coolers on the floor holding all our food! Of course it was working fine when we took it in to Lazydays for other warranty work, so they weren't able to fix anything...it wasn't broken! I have noticed that it tends to frost up a lot faster than our Dometic fridge that we had in the Cougar. I thought maybe it was getting too much of a frost build-up, so I decided to do some preventive care and defrost the fridge before it stopped cooling. I imagine you can guess that after I had it defrosted, it refused to cool! So we turned it off and left it for two days, and this time, it still didn't work. We called the mobile tech and he had us turn it off for the weekend. In the meantime, we called Norcold, and they won't even discuss the issue with you, they will only talk to a certified technician. Well, after the weekend, we turned it on, and it did get cold.....for less than 24 hours, when it stopped cooling again. So the tech stopped on Wednesday night, got some numbers he needed and called Norcold in the morning. Of course, before Norcold would approve anything, there were several "tests" the tech needed to do, so he came back on Thursday night to do them. We missed the lecture, but it all turned out ok, because as he delved into the guts of the fridge, he figured out that it had been installed incorrectly. There's something called a baffle inside, and it was way too big, preventing good airflow from occurring. He also cleaned out the burner (which I'm pretty sure was supposed to have been done on that bogus service package we had Lazydays do, and apparently THAT wasn't done either!) and showed Al how to do that and a few other things himself for the future. So, knock on wood, we have a good running refrigerator once again!
Something new and different this year in the area is a "horse whispering" demonstration. It occurs weekly, on Tuesdays, at the ranch across the street from us, The Diamond Cross Ranch. As employees of Lutons we are able to watch, and we went over on their second session. It was extremely interesting.
This is Grant on his horse Freckles. The brown colt in the background is two years old, and had been in an abusive situation.
Grant would quietly explain to us his methods, and stressed how important it was to gain the colt's trust.
By the end of the session, the colt was following Grant around the corral.
Grant got further along than he thought he would, with the colt allowing Grant to rest his body weight on the colt's back.
Grant is hoping at the next session he will be able to get a saddle on the colt. That should be very interesting to watch! We've had several guests go over to watch the demonstrations, and they have all declared it to be a highlight of their trip.
Another of the perks we enjoy as employees here is comp'ed float and rapid trips on the Snake River. Last year we never seemed to get out there and do it, so this year we picked a day where the weather looked good and booked a white water rafting trip with Dave Hanson in Jackson. The rapids are pretty good this year, with the water running high due to all the rain we had in May and early June. They had room for us on the 12:45 trip June 22, so off we went to town! We ended up on a pretty large raft, but there were only 8 of us on it, as a family of four never showed up. It was about a 45 minute drive south of Jackson to reach the put-in spot. There's only the one area of the Snake River here that gets the rapids enough to do the white water rafting, and it is an extremely popular activity in Jackson, with several different companies running boats. It wasn't too crowded, though, as it was still early in the season. (It is MUCH more crowded here now, with the holiday upon us and schools all out for the summer). We had a great time, mostly easy floating and some smaller rapids to get us primed for the big event called The Lunch Counter. I did spring and purchase pictures from the photography crew, so I would have something to show....after drowning my camera this winter I wasn't about to risk it again!
Here we are, about to enter the Class III rapids. Of course, Al is right up front as a lead paddler. I elected to stay in the back :-). If you can see the two little heads in the middle of the front, they were brothers who had been fairly apprehensive about the whole thing, and gradually got brave enough to get up front and they had a blast!
Yes, we had an absolutely awesome time. I think the pictures make it look worse than it was, but it was so fast that I really don't know! We did get very wet, it seemed as if waves were dumping in all around us. It really did get the old adrenaline going, and I'm very glad we did it.
We've been pretty busy working at the ranch, and everyone seems to be settling into the routine. I am really enjoying working in the office and meeting our guests that come in from all over the country, as well as some international visitors. Oddly enough, we have a bit of a slow break in the next couple of days, but it doesn't last long and then we are solidly booked for about 6-7 weeks. September is also shaping up as a pretty busy month, so we should be able to keep ourselves quite occupied for some time. It has also been unseasonable hot the past week, so we are looking forward to the heat breaking tomorrow and getting back into the low 70's. In the meantime, I will try to find more interesting adventures to write about. It shouldn't be too hard, this is such a great area! Have a wonderful holiday, wherever anyone is today :-).