The last time I saw the Tetons was fifteen years ago when I drove through Teton National Park on the way to a friend’s wedding.
I was traveling with my ex-boyfriend Mike Malone. This was the trip where I found out for myself that it is not easy to suffocate a perfectly healthy person with a pillow.
And I really tried but he just keep living.
Although we were broken up at the time, we were still really great friends … except for the part where his breathing was really annoying me and I tried to kill him.
We didn’t stop in Teton but I was gobsmacked at the beauty and told myself that I would have to come back when I had more time.
I like getting people together because I feel like most things are more fun when they are shared. I’ve been floating the idea of a longer camping trip out to Teton for a while. A lot of people are quick to say they want to go camping but only a select few actually do it.
I knew I had to camp with Alana and Ben ever since my first camping trip with them. I was surprised when they jumped at the opportunity to go to Yellowstone/Teton with us, especially since they have a two year-old and I have annoying kids.
Alana is the most unflappable person I know. I am irritated by stuff while she is simply amused. I chalk it up to her growing up on a commune, you have to be really understanding of quirks to live with a bunch of people, which explains why she has so much patience for me … and why camping with a toddler doesn’t strike fear into her heart.
It helps that her daughter is a super mellow kid and a great sleeper.
We started planning this trip almost a year ago and it was obvious that one week wasn’t enough to see Teton and Yellowstone so we decided to shelve going to Yellowstone for another time.
I did a ton of planning up front with long calls to the Teton visitor bureau (they are super helpful BTW). I made reservations, plotted our map and planned our itinerary. I felt prepared as fuck.
Then – exactly one week before we were to leave – I was hiking with the kids and Red when she invited us to go camping with her family. I was totally in! I checked my calendar and (gulp) realized that we couldn’t go camping with her on Sunday/Monday because we were leaving for Teton on Tuesday.
Commence panicked emails to Alana and MPT, who also was going on the trip. How did this sneak up on me? Alana and I convo’ed about meal planning and provisioning while MPT pledged her financial support.
Given that I am a complete control freak about food, I was happy to be somewhat in charge.
As it turned out, we were hopelessly over provisioned for our trip given how well stocked the Colter Bay general store was.
If we end up in Teton again (and I certainly intend to) I’ll show up with almost no food. There’s simply no reason to fiddle with coolers and ice, etc., when you can pop into Jackson Lodge for huckleberry pancakes and coffee with a billion dollar view.
I also overestimated how much gear we’d need. I brought a dozen games (we played one and it wasn’t one I brought) a hammock to nap in (I never napped) and three books (hahaha).
The kids were most interested in doing stuff like jumping over puddles, toasting marshmallows and seeing how many kids they could get into the hammock.
The MVPs were our $15 tent that Loony picked up at a garage sale, a $10 inflatable solar lantern, and the Biolite solar charger and lights. The Biolite also was my most frustrating purchase.
It’s big selling point is that it doesn’t take batteries as it is charged by a solar panel. Imagine my confusion when three AAA batteries fell out of the packaging. I looked the thing over with a fine tooth comb, read all the instructions, watched the user video, visited the on-line FAQ and Googled “Biolite Satelite Batteries Why”
I swallowed my pride and wrote to customer support.
Something in me dies when I ask for help and I know the answer is probably very simple. (I have died a thousand deaths with Nina alone) but at least in this case I was vindicated. I haven’t become a doddering old coot. At least not this time.