The Grand Detox
As I open my eyes and take in the orange glow of the tent canopy, it takes a moment to remember where I am. I reach for my phone, and simultaneously realize it’s buried somewhere in my dry bag, out of reach and probably dead. The night before, I sat by the fire late into the night, swapping “fishing” stories with fellow travelers and guides, and had gone to bed warm despite the sprinkling of snow falling around us. I wiggle my toes and take a moment to appreciate the toastiness of my fleece liner and sleeping bag before rolling over to unzip the “front door” of my tent. A rush of cool air sweeps in and I realize while we slept that a dusting of white capped the peaks of the Tetons and blanketed the shrubs around my tent. Grand Teton National Park is notorious for changeable weather, or is it the whole state of Wyoming? Either way, wool socks would be the standard operating procedure for the coming nights.
I pull a beanie over my ears (as much to hide the fact that I haven’t washed or combed my hair in a handful of days as to keep my ears warm), and follow my nose down the trail from my tent to the central camping area where freshly brewed coffee is summoning us all, a bit zombie-ish, from our cozy tents. The evening before, we watched as a female moose waded into the water and swam across the lake. We all cheered as she made it to the opposing bank and galloped off into the wooded terrain just out of sight. Yeah, I certainly could get used to the chill in the air if it meant I get to take in this view.
As I sit with my warm, steaming mug in-hand, I try to imprint the scene in front of me on my mind down to the last mountain peak. Life will pick back up, text messages and e-mail will come calling, and silent moments far from the sounds of traffic will be harder to come by. But right now, it is quiet, there is fresh snow on the ground, the lake is glassy in front of me and the mountains are a short paddle away. I have hot coffee and a view that makes me feel grandly small.
All of a sudden, I hear hooting and hollering behind me, and a fellow passenger with a red, already-dirty bandanna tied around his head comes skipping up the trail to my tent, quickly followed by the five other people who also woke up with the wafting smells of coffee. “See that brown blur moving up the hill? We think it’s a black bear!” We all watch while the blur takes shape—four tree-trunk size legs and a huge swinging head—and meanders along the shore 200 yards from our campsite perch. I can see in my new bandanna-clad friend’s eyes that he’s also imprinting this moment in his mind.