Life will not always flow as we wish. Unfortunately, Sandra's cold turns out to be pneumonia. We were able to squeeze a drive around Invermere and drove up to Panorama ski resort. The drive up the mountain goes along the beautiful Toby Creek. The Purcell Mountain range is home to Toby Glacier, which melts and creates Toby Creek. Here I am again, fascinated by this beautiful muddy color. Yes, I know, how can I put in one sentence beautiful and muddy? This color is so interesting, and there are times that the flow of water reveals a harsh taupe color, and a wave later, a stunning taupe with a rich sage undertone. It's just gorgeous!
Invermere is a small town snuggled between the Purcell and Rocky Mountains. It is the hub of Columbia Valley and Windermere Lake, which becomes the world's longest skating path in the winter. Now that would be a fun reason to come back! The cozy downtown is truly a sweet place to walk around.
With all the mountains around, there are traces of fires, and several times I see helicopters with buckets dangling in the air rushing to put out another flaming forest. Yesterday morning the skies were clear, and the view of the vast mountains around is a pure delight with my morning coffee. Now the smoke is so thick that the mountains and part of the lake have totally vanished. There are ashes on Sandra's patio furniture, and the air has a hint of a burning smell. I feel lucky that I have a place indoors to cool down.
I am taking the time to regroup; it has been over six weeks since I had "a home" to rest. I am adjusting my list of hikes at Glacier National Park, leaving only one challenging hike that I have a hard time letting go of (Grinnell Glacier Trail). I am adding a few more moderate hikes and ensuring my gain elevation is reasonable. I need to read about Waterton National Park since it will now be my last stop in Canada.
Did you ever experience a drum circle? This evening I had the tremendous privilege of joining the local Invermere drum circle. The years I spent drumming my mom's pots and pans paid off! It was an exciting feeling, which was nutrition for the soul and body!
I will miss my time with Sandra. Even though my visit didn't turn out to be as we had planned, we still enjoyed each other's company. I know we are both going to make an effort to meet again.
I constructed my route home, and I am excited about my decisions. I just wish I had more time. I have three weeks to drive about 2,500 miles; I know it will be tight.
What is my route back home? From Glacier NP, I will be going south to Yellowstone NP and Grand Teton NP, then start going east to Mount Rushmore NP, Badland NP, and Chicago, where I will visit Susan, who I met in Quartzsite, Arizona and then again in Joshua Tree NP. From Chicago, I have about thirteen hours back home. I have a feeling at that point, I will keep my foot on my gas peddle. As much as I don't want to end this amazing year, I do miss my friends.
For now, the road is my home!