Jackson Hole, Wyoming Since 1967
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As the parents of two little adorable girls, Bud and I try very hard not to force the kids into liking what we like. Even though we live for the outdoors and relish sports (check out our kickball obsessions), we have always vowed to accept our kids for who they are. Easy, right? So even though my own parents had to bribe me to wear dresses, I have not batted an eye at my little girls’ near-daily fashion show of pink dresses and shiny, sparkly jewelry and seemingly endless hair combing. But there is one issue that is a deal-breaker for us, and that issue is the river. As owners of a river-rafting company, how could we manage if the loves of our lives hated rivers? So of course, our logical solution was to start taking them on the river as infants! Problem solved. Except that while my five year-old Jacie could practically live in the water, my six year-old became hesitant last summer when the Big Kahuna rained all over her. In anticipation of our annual trip down the whitewater, Hyla spent the whole winter declaring, “I am not going through the Big Kahuna without some goggles and an umbrella!” So imagine my delight when Hyla said she would join her sister and her cousin Kai for our annual family whitewater fest. We happily squeezed them in to wetsuits, tightened up their jackets and could not stop smiling as the three joined hands and walked down the ramp to start their adventure. The first twenty minutes as we went through any kind of wave, Hyla would ask with her big, blue eyes, “Was that the Big Kahuna?” But before long, she and the kids began to move up to the front of the boat, laughing and clapping as each wave soaked everybody in the boat. And when it came time for the Big Kahuna, I could not have been more proud to hear Hyla scream out, “Whitewater is AWESOME!” And you better believe I am searching for some pink, sparkly lifevests.