A number of years ago, I fell in love with the idea of a backcountry canoe trip in the Tetons but we’ve just never made the time for it. I swore this would be the year. Lucky for me, Colton, Miara, and Marcus were all up for coming along with us (Ben is never phased by my disorganization) despite the fact that I had only scant evidence that the trip would be successful at all. At the point of departure, I had no permits, no reservations, no maps.
Our first night, arriving near midnight, we drove out onto Forest Service land and pitched the tents under a rainstorm of stars that nearly froze me in my tracks. At that point, I didn’t care if the whole trip fell apart. I was so happy to be outside among the natural order of things, nothing else mattered.
Thankfully, the following morning was last-minute trip nirvana. We snagged the back-country camping permits and the boats with no trouble and Dornans even managed to produce a trailer hitch in response to the one we’d forgotten. By 10:30, we were gliding across the unforgettable String Lake with the Tetons mirrored in the water beneath us. Weekend perfection.
Once we’d found our site on Leigh Lake and made camp, the rest of the day was a aimless combination of paddling aimlessly around the stunning scenery, traipsing through the forest in search of a waterfall, an unbelievably cold swim in the glacier fed lake, and mulling around the fire with tinfoil dinners and a book of poetry. Days like that, combined with people that I love, make for some of the happiest moments in recent memory.
The next mornings return trip was bright and sunny and Saturday. The lakes were full of kayaks and swimmers, quintessential summer. It was like we’d been transported right back to Sweden amid the tall pines and happy outdoorsy families.
A weekend full of wilderness was just what I needed.