Jenna Bush Hager’s daredevil mom took her RAFTING down Grand Canyon

Jenna Bush Hager has revealed her mother Laura has something of a wild side, while recalling how the former First Lady organized a daredevil rafting expedition down the Grand Canyon for her milestone 60th birthday – and even enjoyed letting loose with bottles of tequila.

The Today host, 41, who is the daughter of former President George W Bush, opened up about the fearless trip to the Arizona river valley during Thursday’s episode of the NBC program while discussing adventures with her co-host Hoda Kotb, 59.

Lifting the lid on the best adventure she ever took, Bush Hager said that her mother Laura, now 76, and her friends explore a different national park each year – and for the 2008 getaway, it was a vacation to the Grand Canyon.

‘They took their daughters for the first time when they turned 60 this was almost 15 years ago,’ Bush Hager said. ‘But we spent the night in a tent.

Jenna Bush Hager revealed that her mom Laura Bush organized a daredevil rafting expedition down the Grand Canyon

Laura, pictured with her daughter in 2016, put together the action-packed trip to celebrate her 60th birthday in 2008

‘The first night there was a sandstorm, so she had to wear goggles, so nothing got in her contacts and we were passing back tequila bottles.’

‘They had done the trip before when they turned 40,’ she continued. ‘That same group, the same people we were spending the night in the stars. It was a whole week.’

Bush Hager, her mom, and her friends spent their trip walking and hiking every day, as well as rafting and kayaking – all while her dad was running the White House.

An impressed Kotb responded: ‘For your mom to make that kind of plan is really cool I think sometimes we have to be reminded that we can do incredibly cool and hard things.

‘People are like, “be careful, look out for that, what might go wrong?” A million things may go wrong. They might go wrong.’

Nature lover Laura is an avid hiker often documents her long walks on her Instagram page.

Whitewater rafting through rapids on Colorado River is a popular activity amongst tourists

The former First Lady hiked the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with her childhood friends

The group also visited the Sierras of Yosemite National Park in California in 2016

In 2016, she and her childhood friends ventured to the high Sierras of Yosemite National Park in California.

The following year, they paid a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains along the Tennessee–North Carolina border.

Sharing a photo of the group together at the time, she said: ‘Hiking with my childhood friends in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a beautiful place to celebrate the Centennial of the @nationalparkservice.’

Earlier this year, Bush Hager opened up about valuable lessons she learned from mother, who passed down her love of reading and ‘gently guided’ her when she was growing up.

‘Everybody knows my mom’s name is Laura Bush,’ she said, during a special Mother’s Day episode of the Today show.

‘She was the First Lady of our country, but better known to my sister, Barbara, and me as our mom, our mama.

Laura invited her twin daughters Bush Hager and Barbara to the wild Grand Canyon trip while former President George W Bush stayed home

Bush Hager and her Today show co-host Hoda Kotb discussed great adventures on Thursday's show

‘My mom is otherworldly calm, and, believe me, we tested it,’ Jenna joked, recalling how her mother instilled a love of reading in her and her sister.

‘She is an avid reader and introduced Barbara and I to the wonderful feeling of falling in love with books,’ she explained. ‘She is also fiercely loyal and very protective.’

However, while Bush Hager regularly praises her mother, she doesn’t shy away from sharing some more cringe-worthy anecdotes about both of her parents. 

Earlier this year, she revealed a ‘gross’ comment her mother made about her bed sheets before her wedding night, while opening up about her views on whether it’s OK to ‘kiss and tell’. 

‘I try not to. But I’ve been married to one person for a long time, so I don’t kiss and tell about that relationship,’ Bush Hager said of the concept, as an image from her wedding to Henry Hager was flashed up on the screen. 

The appearance of the photo prompted her to take a stroll down memory lane, with Bush Hager recalling how her mother mortified her and her twin sister, Barbara Bush, with a sexual innuendo the morning of her wedding.

‘My sister and I spent the night the night before [my husband and I] got married, and my mom came in [singing], “You’re getting married! Let’s go change the sheets!” And Barbara goes, “Eww gross, mom! This isn’t The Other Boleyn Girl!”‘ she recalled.

‘I won’t even say what she said after that,’ she added, laughing. 


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