On My Terms recently invited me to camp with her and her family in the Teton National Forest. I graciously accepted the offer and asked how, exactly, they were camping and what I should do to prepare.
She informed me they would be renting a cabin and a few cabin tents.
“We can have a campfire and camp grill at the cabin tents,” she informed me.
“Do the cabins have loos?” I asked.
“Yes and heat,” she replied.
Wanting heat and others to prepare my meals, I immediately got online and reserved myself a cabin with two double beds, a twin bed, a desk (for penning letters), a toilet, bathroom sink, a shower, and a heater.
At this point in the game I was traveling alone but I figured someone would eventually decide to join me on this adventure. If they didn’t, On My Terms had alluded to the fact that, should cold air ensue, she would probably be joining me in my glamping establishment.
About a week away from the departure date I received a text from Har asking if the invitation to camp was still open. It was indeed and with that a mini high school reunion was set to take place in Colter Bay Village.
After a very long drive to the forest (we were following On My Terms who appeared to be driving there via Google’s terms) we made it to the village and, eventually, retreated to our sleeping quarters.
Har and I slept quite well and were more than ready for a day of adventure. We brewed a pot of coffee, grabbed the pot and walked up to the cabin tent where On My Terms and her family were preparing breakfast.
After a lovely camp meal we decided to give a canoe a try.
On My Terms, a regular in the canoe, had hoped to be assigned to the back of the canoe but the boys at the dock would have none of that. She became the bowman, Har was directed to the stern and me to the middle.
We began rowing and within just a few minutes rowed right into a docked boat.
“Jesus Christ! Have neither of you ever rowed a boat before?” On My Terms shouted from the front.
“I’m Greek,” Har said and added, “We’re not even supposed to camp.”
“No need to get into a row over a row,” I quipped.
Due to the lack of synchrony and my strong desire to take photos, I refrained from rowing and making further comments and, instead, I focused on documenting the occasion. Besides, anyone who rows knows that, just as there can be too many cooks in the kitchen, there can be too many paddles outside of the canoe.
My decision did not go unnoticed.
“Are you even paddling?” On My Terms inquired.
“No, she isn’t,” Har quickly replied, most likely relieved to not have On My Terms questioning her work.
“I’m documenting,” I replied and snapped another photo.
This did not deter On My Terms from her self-appointed position of captain.
“Left. Right,” she barked. “Why the fuck are we not going straight?”
“Do we need to get you a shot or a cigarette?” Har inquired.
“What you need to do is to get rowing straight. I can’t believe I’m the only one in this canoe who knows how to row. I should be in the back,” she snapped and then muttered something.
“Have you ever heard of undercurrent? It’s a real thing,” I advised, then took a selfie.
After a while we were able to better coordinate our efforts and, when we weren’t contending with undercurrents and large wakes, we rowed quite well together.
Unfortunately, our lack of coordination presented again when we pulled the canoe ashore to consider new seating arrangements. On My Terms stepped out, then I stepped out at the same time Har was stepping out. Sadly, Har got dumped into the water.
“Jesus Christ, have you no canoe etiquette?” On My Terms asked me, rhetorically.
I apologized and wished I had my camera out at that moment. To have documented that would have been amazing.
After a short break we returned to the canoe and, despite initial desires, assumed our same positions.
We made it back to the dock without further incident—we did actually take a bit of a wrong turn, but that’s what being in nature is all about.
“I can’t believe we finally got our shit together just as we are returning the canoe,” On My Terms stated.
“Rowing with new partners is like sex with a new partner,” I said. “The first few times are a little awkward. Once you get to know each other, and can better coordinate your moves, it ends.”
And with that, we returned to a task that, for the most part, does not require coordination or a long-term commitment: drinking by the campfire.