Day Two, 2:21 a.m.

 


 

Late-night trips to the bathroom take on a whole new dimension when you're carrying a can of bear spray. Gripping this favorite new accessory in my right hand and sporting my newly acquired headlamp, I crooned "The Bear Went Over the Mountain" as I walked to alert any large mammals that might be lingering nearby. Two of them heard me – journalists, not bears – and they gratefully scooted out of their tents to join the chilly march to the facilities.

 

Back in my toasty cocoon, I slept soundly and woke to the sound of tent zippers opening and birds chirping. And Claudia – she is the culinary goddess Subaru brought along to ensure our bellies were filled with enough divine campout cuisine to survive the elements. (Think warm Gorgonzola and pears for starters.)

 

Our itinerary for the day included a walkaround tour of the new Subaru Outback and a scenic drive up to the nearby Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. While I looked forward to putting the legendary Subaru All-Wheel Drive capability to the test, my very real fear of heights began to gnaw at my newfound "mountain mama" bravado.

 

Our caravan of Subaru vehicles followed a loose stone and dirt road that wound around the mountain through stunning Douglas firs and blue sagebrush. Almost as if on cue, a majestic family of mule deer appeared on an outcrop. As the incline grew steeper and the road more narrow, my sweaty palms gripped the wheel, and I fought off a potentially embarrassing panic attack.

 

Lucky for me, the Subaru remained steadfast and true, gripping the rocky terrain like glue and giving my confidence the boost it so desperately needed. The ease with which the Subaru handled that rough trek up the mountain dashed away all fear, and, right there in that driver's seat, a backcountry adventurer was born. I drove a little faster, engaged tighter turns, and threw in some hard stops to test the anti-lock brakes. You name it, and I tried it. The Outback never let me down.

 

Up top at 10,450 feet, the views of the magnificent Grand Teton mountain range were a testament to the power and complexity of nature.

 

The trip down with my delightful co-driver, Subaru Corporate Communications Manager Heather Ward, was just as impressive as the ride up.

 

To wind down after an exciting day, we gathered to watch the sun set over Jackson Lake. Quiet conversation set the mood for one of the best night's sleep I've ever known.

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