Casting: Dad, Son, Mad River Van Driver, father and daughter from Ohio
Music (only in the van): Creedence Clearwater, Pink Floyd
First activity in the morning, white river rafting on the Mad River. As usual we leave the hotel as last (every other car has already left), this time we add a peculiarity: the company organizing the activity called us yesterday to give us the last instructions, among which also the suggested dress code: swimwear, tee shirt and flip flops (this is our coldest day and the sky is a full grey). Nobody else is walking around like us but the reaction of the others is nearly like in New York, almost total indifference.
At the place, we luckily ask for two light wet suits, so that we can continue our adventure without feeling like in winter.
We smoothly start it, no problem with my arm (evidently rowing never exposes it to the wrong position), along the way we see three bold eagles and various osprays, after the Rapid City safari, we look at them with a critical eye, like if they were stuffed bodies glued to the trees to please of the tourists (“lugeri” the name I learned in Triest comes immediately to my mind). Our cynicism this time was excessive, they were real and alive, they just had a successful hunt, they had so much overeaten that they were standing on the tree branches without moving because of the belly overload (think about a classic wedding).
In the evening of the last day in Jackson Hole, for the first time during this trip I have the feeling we spent two days in the wrong place. Driving to this part of the USA for a non-American means visiting experiencing this nature and enjoying the spectacular views, after two days spent here, Jackson looks to me as the service center to the surrounding excursions, the logistical base out of which the management of the tourist industry is operated. The base for a tourist coming here to enjoy the place looks much more like the existing villages at the base of the Tetons, without missing any advantage of the town, even the problem of parking doesn’t seem to exist here.
Our restaurant experience in town is limited to the Million Cowboy one (food is good, service also, but not as great as the Saloon in Buffalo), the bar sharing the entrance with it looks less welcoming, more on the style of some self-proclaimed “trendy” places polluting any part of the world where you meet the crowd wanting to see and to be seen (If you love mountains that does not seem the place).
The restaurant experience improves a lot with tonight’s dinner at “22”, a younger restaurant where you enter and pass the wine cellar before getting to your table, you have a flavor of the menu already at the entrance, where cheeses are displayed and you read on the walls the list cured meats, home-made mozzarella and burrata are real, soft and tasty, you pass the cellar and face a board telling you about the local version of tapas, then you reach your seats.
Here we had been sitting next to a father and daughter from Ohio (she had been working in the area for the last two years), we received a confirmation of our first impression: the place to go and stay if you come here to visit and enjoy the offer of the place is the area around Teton Village (if I had to repeat this trip for any reason, I would for sure avoid Jackson).
End of the dinner comes with one more generational gap update from Niki: at our table (a shared table, like in all bistrot in Paris) nobody had the smart phone on the table, Niki informed me that the smartphone on the table is normally associated with 21st century people, not with the older ones like him, we socialized left and right at our table as a consequence.