Rafting the Yellowstone River - Day 3 Part 1

Day 3 was the 4th of July. Mom and Dad decided to treat the family to a white-water rafting excursion. We drove through Yellowstone to the North Entrance in Gardiner, Montana, had barely enough time to eat lunch and then got ready for the rapids!
Before we left we bought a water-proof box camera to take on the trip. You can tell which photos were taken with that camera and which ones were taken by the professional camera man on the side of the bluff... We loaded onto a bus and traveled a short distance to the put-in site. I've been on several rafting trips but this was the first one that I had to help carry the raft down a super-steep hill to the river... Thought I was going to biff it for awhile there.

Since there were 14 of us they split us into two rafts. I dubbed our raft the geriatric and pediatric raft. My folks didn't seem to think that was funny. :) Krysta, Paul, Jeremy, Alissa, Alison, Rusty & Tyson were on the other raft. We had some epic splash battles between our two rafts. I'm pretty sure I was on the losing side of most of those! :)

 Group shot of the 4 rafts...

 Cara and I wore splash jackets because although it is July the water was super cold. We had one for Jordyn but she refused to put it on. Our guide put her right up front between Bryan and I and when that first wave hit her square on she really wished she had that splash jacket! I felt bad that I didn't force her to wear it... She had an iron grip on my left arm and was holding onto to a strap between her legs as well.
Here she is getting the brunt of this wave!
Bryan paddling like a champ - really digging in.
In a quiet part of the river - whew!

Not sure who I'm waving to here... Everyone else seems to know who to wave at but me! 

This was a really fun trip for the family. Cara got to "ride the bull" and sit on the front of the raft while hanging on to the ropes at the front. She did a great job!

My nephew, Thomas, however mysteriously slipped off twice while riding the bull and guess who got to haul him back into the boat... twice!

I love how in every professional picture of our boat (and there were 18!) Cara has a huge cheesy grin on her face. This was her second river run - the other was on the Colorado River in Moab - and she just had a blast!
Oh, one more plug for the splash jacket - both of my parents were super sun-burned after this river run so I was very grateful to have dodged that bullet.

 When we got back on the bus after getting out of the Yellowstone River because it was July 4th the raft guides led the entire bus in singing The Star-Spangled Banner together. It gave me chills to hear it sung like that - spontaneously. Fun memories! We finished off the trip with ice cream at a local parlor. Yum!

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