“Is that a wolf, or a wolf in sheep’s clothing?”
Vacations ending are like going to the Christmas tree lot on the corner at 10 PM on Christmas Eve. Yep, on Christmas Eve at 10 pm, you are excited that Christmas is coming, but the only thing left on the lot is a scraggly, bedraggled, branchless tree that can only support one ornament! You are excited to go home, see your fur babies, and sleep in your own bed. But then, of course, you are disappointed to leave the wonderful areas you have visited. Like Charlie Brown’s Christmas, at first we were disappointed to have to leave. But that eventually turned into excitement once we got home and snuggled with our fur babies. (Or in this case, watching them ignore us because they were mad we left!) The disappointment of leaving was because Glacier, Banff, and Jasper were magical places that we felt blessed to visit.
The last full day in Canada saw us doing some more hiking. We had some wonderful luck and were able to see a wolf in the wild! What a treat. The trail at Old Fort Point was a long meandering trail that took us along the sides of hills and through some open areas. We met some very nice local Canadians who were gracious and pointed us in the right direction as we had meandered onto an unofficial trail. We had a great time chatting with them. Along the trail we walked along a high cliff edge that overlooked the Athabasca River which was flowing fast and high and almost a creamy coffee color. The river is fed by melting glaciers which gives it a unique color. These glaciers are rapidly disappearing as the globe warms. We next had a nice relaxing lunch. Then, another hike in the afternoon at Maligne Canyon rounded out the end of a perfect day. The weather was perfect – nice and cool, the trails were less traveled, and Kathy was feeling no pain in her foot. We thoroughly enjoyed the day and capped it off with a great dinner.
The next day dawned early and we started on our way back to Missoula. The drive itself was not without its highlights. We stopped on the Iceland Parkway to hike up to the Columbia Glacier, a hike that Kathy had skipped on the way in. It was beautiful and unique to see the glacier up close and Kathy was glad that we had time to stop and that Dave was onboard with another trip up the hill to see some snow. The drive home saw us catch glimpses of a bald eagle, black bear, and a family of turkeys crossing the road. We stopped in Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho, for the night and enjoyed a lovely dinner and a really great breakfast the next morning. The last day saw us driving towards Missoula and we had the opportunity to stop at Kootenani Wildlife Refuge. We found a trail to hike and hoped to see a bear so that Dave could use his bear spray. No such luck! Dave didn’t get to see a cougar, bobcat, or use his bear spray. Oh well, no vacation can be perfect.
The next morning dawned early, like really early, like 04:30 in the morning early! Soon we were on our way to the airport. The trip home was like another “Christmas in August” present. We were scheduled for three flights with three potential issues. Fortunately, only one flight was delayed, and it was the last one so we didn’t miss any of our connections. No domino effect, except a little less time playing with our fur babies. Home saw us greet our kittens, settle into bed, and begin planning for our next adventure. “Christmas” morning came early with a meow, nudge, annoying playing with paper, and a demand to be fed. What a great trip!!!