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October 13, 2009

My Breast Cancer Awareness Grand Teton Subaru 2010 Outback Eco Adventure

LeaveNoTraceCar I was invited to attend the first-ever Subaru Responsible Recreation Excursion September 21 - 24, 2009. Upon my arrival at the Jackson Hole Wyoming airport I was greeted by a staff member holding a Subaru sign and guided to a new 2010 Subaru Outback for a scenic drive to Colter Bay Village Campground in the Teton National Park. I was so excited to be doing a media camping trip, awestruck yet again by the largeness and majesty of this magical place.

"Grand Teton" means "large teat" in French, named by either French-Canadian or Iroquois members of an expedition led by Donald McKenzie of the North West Company.  It was a reminder to me that October was coming soon and a good time to donate some attention to Breast Cancer Awareness month. My niece and two of my key employees are survivors so I am reminding my women readers to get that preventative breast maintenance done, GET a mammogram every year. Good preventative breast maintenance does make a difference, an estimated 192,370 U.S. women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and the declines of mortality rates are thought to be due to improvements in treatment as well as early detection.

After my arrival and introductions to the Subaru PR team and the awesome folks from Leave No Trace, I was escorted to my North Face igloo tent, my sleeping quarters for the next two nights. The fall and turning of the leaves of scenic Grand Teton National Park temperatures were a chilly 26 degrees that night but we kept warm with a fireside dinner, a fireside presentation by Leave No Trace, popcorn, snacks, and a movie under the stars that first night.

Now I am an avid camper and see myself as pretty fearless even under strong bear warnings. We were all given "bear spray" and it was suggested we keep it with us especially at night! The group was a pretty inexperienced at camping except the Leave No Trace folks, so the scary bear stuff made everyone a bit edgy, even me! I had a recent bear close encounter at Mount Whitney; to be honest I did not want a repeat on this camping excursion. I brought ZERO anything that had a scent in my bag, even bought unscented everything and was grateful there were no bear sightings during the trip.

Roadsubaruscariest Day two began with breakfast, our woman chef cooked up a storm and kept our appetites under control and delighted us with delicious and unexpected cuisine on a camp-out. They depicted we would hone our driving skills during a scenic drive to the top of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort - home to majestic views and excellent winter skiing. We signed waivers and all, BUT what the plan turned out to be was a nearly off-road trek up a steep, NARROW, rocky, rutted service road just barely wider than the 2010 Subaru Outback. My co-driver was Jason Oliver Nixon; Global Lifestyle Editor of Delta Sky Magazine an interesting well traveled soulful guy who, as it turned out, had nerves of steel to boot. I want to state the 2010 Subaru Outback stuck to that road like glue and was very impressive as it felt so stable, in control of the conditions, and relatively comfortable on that rough road.

My frayed nerves were the only casualty that day as the steep drop offs really tweaked me. My co-driver Jason kept me calm and talked me down that mountain, thanks Jason! Subaru is the only company that features Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive as standard equipment on every vehicle in its product line. Our “scenic drive to the top of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort" really put it to the test and the 2010 Outback passed with flying colors.

The 2010 Subaru Outback comes standard with stability and traction control, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, front side airbags and side curtain airbags that offer additional head protection for front and rear occupants. Intelligent dual-stage deployment front air bags use sensors to detect the presence and weight of a front passenger and also the driver's distance from the steering wheel. The system determines front air bag deployment strength for optimal occupant protection. I am really glad we did not put that feature to the test but good to know how safe I really was. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the Outback scored the top rating of "Good" in both frontal-offset and side-impact tests. An increase in ground clearance (to 8.7 inches) has improved the 2010 Outback's ability to make its way through a rutted roads undamaged and provides a significant improvement in rear seat space (4 additional inches of legroom) and cargo capacity and has adjustable roof rails that easily swing inward to serve double-duty as cross rails.

Subaru_Grand_Tetons_2009 On the way back to camp, we stopped for an interpretive walk at the historic site of Menor's Ferry. Our guide discussed the conservation efforts that started at this location in the early 1920's as well as current sustainability efforts within Grand Teton National Park and we took a ferry ride across the snake river. There were yellow jackets everywhere and one bit me and I thought "No big deal," as I brushed it off and we headed back to camp around 5 pm to rest up before our drive over to Jackson Lake to watch the sun set over the mountains with a champagne toast. Michael A. Butler, Special Projects Editor
Better Homes & Gardens and I took some amazing shots of that sunset. They brought in a most enjoyable campfire entertainer that night after dinner who belted out some wonderful ballads and blues tunes as we made s'mores and enjoyed the campfire that final night camping out under the stars. I went to bed early feeling very tired, happy and overwhelmed by the spectacular beauty of the Grand Tetons surrounding me.

Leave No Trace was founded on strong principles eco-friendly ethics and I applaud Subaru for their partnership with this wonderful non-profit to encourage stewardship of nature by Subaru owners who have a higher likelihood of use of natural spaces and places. Leave No Trace also has a wonderful teen program that works to meet the needs of educators with outdoor ethics curriculum for teens. This curriculum is also a resource for teens to teach their peers and learn more about the Leave No Trace program. The program can be used in conjunction with other environmental curriculum in both a classroom and outdoor setting.

On my third day I missed out on the service project we would be working on in coordination with Grand Teton National Park and Colter Bay Village campground to improve natural wildlife migration paths within the Park. My yellow jacket bite turned into a medium-to-large-sized allergic reaction (man! those Wyoming yellow jackets can pack a punch), so I rested that last day at the luxurious and world renowned Amangani Resort and enjoyed a dinner to celebrate our time and share stories together over a hearty dinner of Bison and blueberries.

Go here to view my entire Grand Teton Subaru 2010 Outback Eco Adventure photo album on Flickr.

Jody-devere_president_askpatty Jody DeVere
President and CEO

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