Discussion in 'Adventures By Disney' started by BluesTraveler, Aug 2, 2017.
Make that don't miss anything huckleberry. I hope you got to try some ice cream
Incredible scenery and great pictures, Thanks for sharing.
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I am loving your report. 5 years ago we did our own trip to this area. Two days in Jackson and then 5 at a dude ranch that is near Brooks Lake lodge. We went over to the Brooks Lake Lodge and did hiking or fishing one afternoon for an activity. It is such a beautiful area. We did not go to Yellowstone at all so that may be a reason to go back with ABD.
Loving your report! We are booked on this ABD next August when our girls will be 11 and 13. Thanks for sharing!
Oh yes! But between you and me, the ice cream couldn't compare to the margarita!
At Brooks Lake Lodge there are a number of activities, and you choose one in the morning and one in the afternoon (of course, you are not required to choose an activity). The activities are hiking, canoeing, archery, horseback riding, and fly fishing. There is also a small but lovely spa. You sign up the night before for your activities, and BLL staff then accompany you and help with everything.
One of my initial questions was whether we would have to stay with our kids the whole time or if we could separate for activities (in other words, was I going to be doing archery for 2 days straight?!?!). And the answer is sort of yes. Each kid needs an adult (not an ABD guide or BLL staff) who is responsible for them at each activity. But our group ended up being so tight-knit by this point that we were all trading kids. So, for example, another family took one of my boys to do archery, and I took another girl to do horseback riding. I don't think this would be the case with all kids or all groups.
On hiking: there are several different hikes. The hardest is up Brooks Mountain, and our group was gunning for the challenge. Of the 30 of us, 17 of us wanted to do it. If you want to do this hike (do it! do it!) you need to know ahead of time and let the guides know, because it's the one BLL activity that takes some planning ahead by their staff.
Back to the day:
Breakfast is at 8:00 (though coffee is set out earlier, and we also had a coffee pot in our room) and was pretty good. It's a buffet every day. Most activities start at 9:30, but for those of us hiking Brooks Mountain, we needed to leave at 8:30 because it's about a 4.5 - 5 hour outing (including driving to the trail head). I left my 9 year old behind to go horseback riding, because it really would have been too hard for him. Our 12 year old did it and he did fine - he and the other 2 boys (ages 13 and 15) led the entire time. BLL sent 4 guides with us, all with backpacks of water so you didn't have to carry your own backpack although most people did have a small pack with them (packing tip - I think that's worth bringing). I also recommend that you grab some snacks from the Disney snack box, because you will need to replenish your blood sugar during the climb!
The hike was great. DH and I have done some hard hikes, but this was the hardest I have ever done. It was stunningly gorgeous. It is 5 miles round trip, and took our group 3 hours and 45 minutes. Of course, a big group like ours will take longer than a smaller group, so do keep that in mind. The BLL guides were amazing. They had one assigned just to keep up with the boys at the front and keep them from wandering off. They had another assigned to be the very last person, so no one got inadvertently left behind. And the other two just bounced around offering water and encouragement. I really can't say enough good things about the BLL staff. Here are some pictures from the hike.
We hiked so high there was snow and the kids threw snowballs
The view from the top:
Looking down onto Brooks Lake Lodge:
And for perspective, this is a picture of Brooks Mountain, taken from Brooks Lake Lodge property. Of course we hiked up the otherside, but got to that very top. You can see how high it is. Elevation is 11,000 feet. I don't think any of us had a problem with the altitude by that point.
After the hike we returned to BLL for an excellent buffet lunch with sandwiches, homemade chips, soup, salad...delicious.
That afternoon I had the foresight to book myself a massage as my afternoon activity. Spa services are an extra charge, and there's pretty wide availability. I am not exaggerating, it was the best massage I've ever had, and I've had my fair share. She was excellent, and exactly what my tired legs needed!
DH went fly fishing, and the boys did archery.
That afternoon around 5pm folks gathered on the lawn. BLL sets out afternoon tea at 4:30 with cheese, crackers, cookies, fruit, hot tea, and lemonade. It's so lovely. Adults got their drinks, and we sat in the sun and watched while the guides organized games for the kids. It was heavenly.
Dinner is served at 6:30 (?I think), and after dinner the guides took the kids to watch a movie. Adults lingered in the lobby/bar area, and did some stargazing. One of the dads in our group was really knowledgeable about astronomy, and fascinating to listen to. The movie wrapped up just before 10 and we all stumbled into bed. It was a great, great day.
It is a great trip. At the end of my post I'll do a little list of packing suggestions.
I wouldn't know as I don't drink. I love Montana Lemon-aid from City Brew ( Let's not tell the husband how much I go there shall we) and am very happy there is one less than 3 miles from me-15 minutes to make a round trip to get my coffee drinks and a MT Lemon-aid.
Thanks so much for all of your tips. We just got back from this trip and had an amazing time. My two daughter's 6 and 7 had a blast. We loved the trip and the guides and would definitely recommend this one! one of the best trips we have ever taken.
happy to answer any other questions people have.
one other thing i thought i would mention- Brooks lake lodge is at higher elevation than Jackson Hole. It was about 10 degrees colder there than in Jackson. We spent the majority of our trip in pants and everyone in our group was mentioning how they over packed on shorts and under packed on pants. so i recommend a good mix!
Day 6 and wrap up
Our final day! DH and I had not quite gotten our fill of hiking, so we signed up for another hike in the morning, to Jade Lake. Absolutely gorgeous. We did a nice long loop so it ended up being 6 miles and not nearly as difficult as the previous day. Our boys did archery in the morning. After lunch I went horseback riding while DH and our boys went fly fishing. It was another active but relaxing gorgeous day.
The late afternoon was a repeat of yesterday - tea time, drinks on the lawn while the kids played, and then our farewell dinner. I won't give away too much about the farewell dinner but it was just great. Everyone exchanged e-mail addresses, and off to bed about 10pm.
The drive back to the airport is about 90 minutes, and Disney requests that you make your flight for after 12noon. The bus departed about 9:30am, with bag pull at 8:30, which was great because we had plenty of time in the morning to get packed up before breakfast.
This trip was absolutely wonderful. Tons of time outdoors, lots of activity and 'doing,' stunning scenery. We lucked out with 2 amazing guides and an incredible group of people, but this seems like the kind of trip that could bring out the best in people. The trip is well organized, the pacing is great, and it checks all the boxes. It takes what would be a family trip, and turns it into a family vacation. I am so glad we did it!
Layers, layers, layers. It goes from chilly at night/early morning, to warm once you're moving, to cool again. I tend to run cold, so my daily outfit was hiking pants, short sleeved dri-fit top, long sleeved dri-fit top, vest, and a fleece if I needed it. My kids who rarely feel the cold didn't need anything more than shorts and a sweatshirt. DH was more often in shorts with long sleeved top.
Real hiking shoes and proper hiking socks (not cotton!)
Sunscreen, including chapstick with spf in it.
Good moisturizer if you are used to more humidity
Keens or similar shoes
Jeans if you plan to ride horses
Small backpack to be your day bag or hiking bag
Cash for the guides
@lpm23 , I am so glad you enjoyed!! Please feel free to chime in with your impressions or tips as well.
Thank you for sharing this trip report.
Great report! It was interesting to see how similar and different your trip was to ours. We had a lot of different activities in Jackson, but sounds like the rest of the trip was very similar. We loved BLL. Sounds like the long hike was great--our group didn't get to do it due to rain and the resulting mud on the trails. But I got to do the trail ride and fly fishing.
Oh and I agree that it was uncomfortable having other non-ABD guests on the rafting portion of the trip. They kept explaining the Disney guest vs. non-Disney guest instructions. We had to wear helmets, they didn't; we didn't have to pay for the wetsuit and they did, etc.
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