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Glacier National Park, Montana (4)

By noon I am crossing back to the US, but I don't have a road pass to enter Glacier NP, so I do my next favorite thing after hiking: writing!

The pass required to drive on the roads on Glacier NP is from six a.m. to three p.m. By five, I am ready to close up my laptop and get dinner going. I am not ready to let go of the beauty of Glacier, and I decide to have a date with nature and return to the spot where I had breakfast yesterday. I am certainly in love with this park. Cooking dinner is so relaxing, and makes simple eggs taste incredible.

I am returning to the Many Glacier area this morning, but since I don't have a pass (the pass for this section usually sells very quickly), I am on the road by five-thirty. My plan today is to hike to Iceberg Lake, but first I am having breakfast at the Many Glacier Hotel. One thing about camping on the east side is that it is kind of remote. There are two general stores, but they don't really carry healthy food. At this point, I am so low on food, that going out for breakfast and asking again for the empty cups can solve my problem. I love historical hotels! Everything about them entertainingly captures the history and my imagination.

Okay, change of plans. Iceberg Lake hike is closed due to bear activity. I so appreciate how the National Parks put wildlife ahead of human pleasure.

My next option for a hike in this area is to Bullhead Lake via Swiftcurrent Pass Trail. It is a seven-mile hike and considered a moderate hike (I will say easy). I always greet people on the trail, so here I am again with my "Good Morning" greeting to a young couple, and having an interesting conversation about how the younger generation has more courage to live outside the box. Renata and Fabio are from Salt Lake City, but originally from Brazil.

The first part of the hike is shaded until you get to Red Rock Lake. From this point, you get a fantastic view of Swiftcurrent Glacier with an extra bonus of its gentle reflection on Red Rock Lake. As you stroll along the path hugged by mountains and glaciers, it is impossible not to be grateful for Mother Nature providing a healing landscape. Further up the trail, I reach Redrock Falls, cascading their way on many levels, and playing with the rocks they pass.

By the time I get to Bullhead Lake, the sun is blasting on me, and I am not a happy camper. I am a three-season hiker. My favorite time to hike back home is after fresh snow hits the ground, covering it with pure white which contrasts the dark colors of rocks and trees. In the summer, I bike, kayak, and swim and I rarely hike. With much daylight left, I am back at Many Glacier Hotel to capture my experience in words.

Good morning, beautiful new day! I take my last drive on Going-to-the-Sun Road, and honestly, you don't need to be a hiker to have the privilege of this incredible park. This park is a must!!! Hurry up though, because unfortunately, the glaciers are melting away. I am glad my campground (Leaning Tree Cafe and Campground) was on the east side. I found the park's east side to be wilder in its beauty. I do stop for a short hike on the west side to Rocky Point to have a view of Lake McDonald.

I am heading to Kalispell to visit my friends Kat and Anthony. They moved a few years ago to Montana, and I am excited to see them both and catch up on their new life in Montana.

For the past week, I felt something was wrong with my car. Before leaving home last year, I had installed new brakes and tires. I made all necessary repairs to ensure a safe drive. I have a nagging feeling in my stomach telling me to take responsibility and check it out. I stop at Columbia Falls and check reviews in search of an honest mechanic. Being far from home and not having any service recommendations makes me uneasy. Kat's mechanic is closed today. Not having the luxury of time, I let Google Maps help me find Glenn from Muffler Alley. Glenn understands my dilemma with time and my concern for safety. He can't help me, but recommends getting at least a tire rotation. I am continuing to drive to Kalispell. Kat recommended I stop at Les Schwab. Glenn already showed me that the alignments have a problem, but a closer look shows that my lower control arm is loose and needs to be replaced.

Now you would think I'd be upset, and I can tell you the "old me" would be. Financial stress is always a struggle for me, but I am fucking proud of myself right now! I rarely use swear words, but it usually happens when I am incredibly excited or upset about an issue close to my heart.

I am relaxed, knowing that regardless of how I feel, this problem needs to be fixed. My new approach to life provides me with tools to take a stressful situation and let it be. I will find solutions. I allow life to flow like a river and for me to go for the ride. Sometimes, the ride is rocky, and sometimes, the river becomes a waterfall before it relaxes again, but it is always going forward.

It is a beautiful thing when you can get to a point where you can be so honest with yourself that you can look in the mirror and see the results of your hard work.

I have one more stop for another oil change before I arrive at Kat and Anthony's house. Having a place where I can regroup after camping days is so helpful. I do my laundry and clean my car. It's so wonderful to sit with friends and have a delicious dinner with a gorgeous view.

Now I'm sitting at Les Schwab tires, making my time valuable as I write this post before heading towards Yellowstone National Park. For the next few weeks, until I get home, I plan to wing it to find places where I will rest my head for the night. All I know for today is that I have over six hours of driving before arriving at the visitor's center at Yellowstone. It is already two in the afternoon; let's see how my day will go...

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