The last day of my vacation I experienced a tiny piece of Montana in a very big way. Marcia had planned the day hike for my last day, so I would have time to become accustomed to the altitude. I think I did pretty well, and at the end of the day was only limping a little!
It was an unseasonably hot morning, but it felt great with the low humidity and the smell of the pines. As we walked the five miles into Twin Lakes, Marcia told me the names of some of the flowers growing along the path, and I noticed some elk tracks. We crossed a fast moving stream several times, the sound and sight of it bringing memories of Colorado camping as a child. I was pleased to find that in spite of living at sea level, I was having no problem at 7000+ feet!
We arrived at the lake around 1, happy to be able to take a break and eat our lunch of rice cakes, hummus, and apples. The mosquitos were very happy to see us, too! but we warded them off with the OFF wipes Marcia had packed. I was glad she was an experienced hiker and had was well prepared. We even had bear bells, and I was not unhappy that no bears seemed to be in the vicinity.
I stuck my feet in the lake as we ate, and we could see fish swimming in the clear water. It was so lovely and peaceful. Before returning to civilization, we sat and meditated for a little while. For just a moment, I felt oneness with even the flies that buzzed gently around my head.
We took the old trail back, which was not kept up and a little more challenging, but shorter before it joined with the new. Mosquitos swarmed, water rushed, then the wind picked up a bit as it became overcast. We were quieter as we walked downhill, and I was grateful for the walking stick as weariness began to set in. We saw no creatures except for a mother grouse who kept a careful eye on us as we passed.
For about the last two miles I focused on my feet, mindfully aware of each step, grateful for my two legs, and thankful for the cool fresh air. I turned around for my last view of the beautiful mountains, and we could see the rain coming down.
I was very happy to see the jeep and set my body down! We were out on the main road before the rain came. It was a wonderful day.