In 2012, a hang-glider pilot set the world record for distance while hovering above Texas soil for a thrilling 473 miles. Though newcomers won't be able to hit that range, they can still enjoy some of the same breathtaking sights with a discovery flight experience at Cowboy Up Hang Gliding. Cowboy Up Hang Gliding has been in business since 2003 years with over 3,000 tandem flights. There, USHPA-certified instructors fly along and help guide guests as they glide through the air. Flights can reach up to three soaring heights, from 2,000 feet to a heady one mile above ground. Though memories of this experience are usually very strong, staff can also take HD photos of the flight so guests can explain the thrill to friends and family or one day prove to their grandkids that they really did fly uphill to school every day. Take-offs and landings are on wheels so this low-impact activity involves no running or jumping and can be exhilarating for anyone, regardless of physical condition.
Throngs of excited runners crouch along the starting line, all dressed in pristine white T-shirts. As the Color in Motion 5K begins, the sea of bodies sets off along the course, where handfuls of purple-, blue-, and yellow-colored powder start flying in from the sidelines. The safe concoction of cornstarch and dye sprinkles onto faces, shirts, shorts, and skin, dressing runners in a technicolor haze. Teams or individuals make their way through the 5K course, and finish the race wearing a pallet of washable and biodegradable paint. Each race partners and benefits local charities, with racers running individually, in teams, or sponsored by their favorite Crayola color.
Surrounded by towering, tree-studded rock walls, Teton Whitewater LLC’s rafts soar over the crests and plunge into the troughs of Snake River’s whitewaters. Teton Whitewater’s guides specialize in navigating Jackson Hole’s swift, winding channels, equipping adventurers to safely paddle the 8-mile course. For those who seek a more sedate rafting trip, guides helm scenic floats, which afford opportunities to point out wildlife, spotlight the region’s natural history, and wink at passing tugboat captains.
The PineCone Playhouse is a project of Western Heritage Arts Center, Inc. We provide fantastic live entertainment year round in beautiful West Yellowstone. Each summer and fall we put on three musicals or plays, each with professional casts from around the country.
We spoke with KC Bess?operations manager and river guide for Mad River Boat Trips?about what to expect on your trip and why you want to get splashed.
On the Snake River
"It's a great river for your first trip," says KC. The relatively high volume of water and the lack of rocks mean that the runs are straightforward?and exciting. Tall, clean waves are common, and the rapids are "kind of like riding a roller coaster while getting buckets of water dumped on you."
On braving whitewater rapids
If passengers are a bit apprehensive about the rapids, KC suggests sitting near the guide at the back of the raft, where the ride is a bit more gentle. Once people are comfortable, he usually encourages them to move up a bit ? where they can enjoy the thrill of hitting the waves. "Sit up front. Go all the way and have fun with your first time," he says. "It's worth it."
Every trip is different, but KC always likes getting out onto the water, experiencing how intricately connected the natural world is. "It's fascinating how it all works together," he says. He keeps an eye out for ospreys, eagerly explaining how the birds are the perfect hunters: hovering above the river, plunging five feet beneath the water, and then emerging with a fish dangling between their talons.
On bringing the whole family
Most of the whitewater trips are suitable for children as young as 6, and KC loves when parents bring kids along. Younger passengers tend to relish the adventure almost more than the adults; but, more importantly, KC sees whitewater runs as an immersive way to introduce children to the natural world. "Kids don't get that kind of experience very often," he says.
For five decades, the professional guides of Sands Whitewater & Scenic River Trips have been navigating every turn, rapid, and rock of the Snake River, always with their full attention on the safety, comfort, and enjoyment of their customers. Along the winding waterway, they guide groups during curated trips that range from three-hour jaunts suited for everyone ages 6 and older to overnight adventures rafting down the river, sleeping in teepees, and howling at the moon. More scenic floats take a slower pace down the river, exposing Teton views and glimpses of local wildlife.