This is Day 6 of my Adventures by Disney – Wyoming, Quest for the West trip report for the adventure we took July 19-25, 2023. Our traveling family was Doobie, 52, Rebekah, 50 and Gideon, 14. If you missed prior installments, click here for the list.
Day 6 – our last full day of this Adventure and our last full day at the Brooks Lake Lodge. We started with breakfast in the dining room.
As I mentioned yesterday, the big morning activity today was a hike to the top of Brooks Mountain. Everyone doing that hike (the vast majority of our group) had to get out at 8:30 a.m. instead of the normal 9:00 a.m.. They would take a ride to the starting point before embarking on their big climb. My family chose to skip the big hike, but we still wanted to include it in this trip report, so here are some pictures taken by the Guides of those who did.
As for us, Rebekah and Gideon opted to do horseback riding for their morning activity. Unfortunately for me, I am over the 250-pound weight limit. But I did go with them to their orientation and watch them get settled on Dracula and Blue Duck. Taw gave them a few tips (it was just the two of them), and off they went.
While they were gone, I sat outside playing fetch with one of the dogs and otherwise doing a lot of nothing. I did notice one of the other non-hikers taking the morning off and reading in the sitting room. She looked very happy.
Sooner than expected, I noticed Gideon and Rebekah heading back in. I met them on their way back to the lodge and Rebekah said everything was fine, but since it was just the two of them, they’d had enough and asked if they could turn back early. While walking back to the lodge we saw Adventure Guide Dusty. I had previously told Dusty how much Gideon liked canoeing and how I wasn’t a fan, and he said he’d love to take Gideon canoeing. So I asked him if now was okay and he said of course. The two of them went out for about an hour, and between the canoeing itself and talking Disney with Dusty (a long time Cast Member in Disney World entertainment), Gideon said it was the highlight of his entire trip.
As expected, the hikers were not back in time for lunch, but that didn’t stop the rest of us. I got the amazing grilled cheese again but, this time got the fries on the side — which, as Gideon told me, were wonderful. I also ordered the salad which had peaches, tomatoes and goat cheese. That salad was the absolute best thing I ate the entire trip. It was a simple dish, but incredibly good. I wish I had realized it was that good at our first lunch, but better late than never.
Around 2 p.m., the hiking crew returned! It was great hearing their stories of how challenging it was (many called it the toughest hike they’d ever done), the beautiful views, the exhaustion and their sense of accomplishment. I barely knew most of these people yet I was so proud of them.
Gideon and I had planned to try fly fishing for our afternoon activity, but it had started to rain and we were both pretty tired anyway, so hanging around the lodge seemed like a better idea. To be honest, sitting here writing this, I kind of regret not doing it, but I also really loved our relaxation time at the lodge. Tough choices have to be made sometimes. Instead, we took the opportunity to do a little more archery. Following that, both Rebekah and Gideon decided to spend some time in the hot tub along with a few others who were still recovering from the hike.
Time to eat again! The special treat in today’s afternoon tea was chewie, gooey, white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. So good! But we had another treat in store, too. Adventures by Disney had arranged for us to have a complimentary bourbon tasting along with accompanying foods. I’m not a drinker and there were quite a few non-drinkers in our group, but we were encouraged to come anyway to learn a little bit and to taste the accompaniments — and I’m so glad I did. The tasting was fun and I did have a sip of each one. The taste of the four of them ranged (to this non-drinker) from “ok” to “I did NOT like that”, but I’m glad I tried them and glad I learned. I also really, really enjoyed the food that came with it. The tasting was conducted by the general manager of the Brooks Lake Lodge, a solminer who was a wealth of bourbon knowledge. It was a real treat.
By the time the tasting was over, there was only an hour until dinner (amazing how much food you can eat, even when it’s only available at set times). Gideon and I discovered the dart board we had somehow walked by countless times without noticing. We enjoyed a few rounds of that. And, of course, a few more rounds of shuffleboard. Then a little bit of relaxation time before dinner.
Adventure Guides Dusty and Kacey were dressed ranch-appropriate and were happy to announce another surprise – tonight’s dinner would include wine for those who wanted it. The vegetarian option tonight was brick cauliflower, which I always like but the Brooks Lake Lodge version was next level. Gideon had elk for the first time and absolutely loved it and still talks about it. A perfect final dinner.
Then we were told to go out to the bar area for dessert, a take on s’mores. After enjoying the s’mores, we were invited back into the dining room where it had been totally rearranged into theater style seating with a TV at the front. I’ve been a Disney fan for nearly 30 years, how did I not realize there would be a “grand finale”? But I hadn’t thought about it and the whole thing was a surprise to me. Dusty started to get into it when he was interrupted by the General Manager beckoning us to come outside. There, near the horses, was a young moose. Finally – we got to see a moose on this trip. It’s as if it was planned by Disney (it wasn’t, but it couldn’t have been planned any better).
Once back inside it was time for the program to begin. First, we were reminded that on the first day of this trip we were asked what we were most looking forward to. Now, we were asked to go around the room, repeat what we said on day one, and say what we enjoyed the most. And just thinking about it again now, I’m getting emotional. Almost everyone, in addition to the activities they loved, talked about the friendships they made and the time they spent with the other members of the group — I mean, family. Many of us shed tears while talking about it. I’m an extrovert and I love meeting new people, but I was not prepared for how spending six days with these 25 people would make me feel. It was such a special time.
Following that, we were shown a slideshow Dusty and Kacey had put together of our trip and those who weren’t crying already certainly were by the end of that. After all that emotion and knowing this was pretty much it for the trip, all that was left was …. Poker!
This time, Lou was the first person eliminated. The winner was the quiet one in the corner, the one who meekly asked on the first night if she could play. The shark in disguise – Linda. Congratulations.
Tomorrow, Day 7, time to go home. And I’ll include some overall thoughts on Adventures by Disney – Wyoming.