1,800 miles of solo, soul searching, self-learning adventure
As you know, I took a really long trip by myself. My goal was the Integrative Oncology conference in Banff, but I figured, "hey, why not go hiking and camping with the bears in Glacier National Park (GNP) on the way?", so I did. All 1,800 miles, 4 nights of camping and hiking, one integrative oncology conference, a bear, a moose, some goats, lots of new friends, lots of gluten-free sandwiches, a few less showers than normal and more.
It was the kind of trip I needed badly. A trip that started off with some anxiety (hey, i'm human, have cancer, just had liver surgery and hadn't done anything like it in a while) but the more I did the better I felt. I ended up feeling great. Very positive, full of energy, having learned a ton, and LOVING Glacier and the Canadian Rockies.
The first night I stayed in a nice AirBNB in Coeur D'Alene Idaho. Not much to report other than a very pretty lake.
Then I made it to GNP. I glamped the first night right outside of GNP and West Glacier, the second night I camped in a place called Apgar which is in the southwestern side of the park. The nicest feature in the area is Lake MacDonald, a beautiful lake surrounded by big mountains with amazing colored stones and clear water. The campsite was nice, had a fire pit, a picnic table and a pad for my tent. Most importantly, the bathrooms were very clean and there were showers!
I then drove the Going to the Sun road, a very famous feature of GNP. The road was a WPA project (I think) and hugs mountain sides while cutting through the heart of the park. It was a truly spectacular yet hairy drive! I did a hike from Logans Pass on the drive (also the top of the continental divide) called Hidden Lake which is the first photo. It was harder than advertised but, like everywhere in GNP, the views were spectacular!
Got to my new campground and home for 2 nights, Many Glacier campground. Great site but no showers. At least the bathrooms were spotless! It was my launch pad for my next days hike to Iceberg Lake. I hiked by myself in one direction (don't worry, I spoke to myself outloud for 2.5 hours to let the bears know I was there) and met some people and hiked with them on the way back. Dawn and Cassandra, Sisters from NH and Spokane. Dawn has cancer too and also had a recent liver surgery. There was some serious bad-assery going on! Oh, and a black bear wandered through our campsite (only got a photo of its butt) and I saw a moose!
From there, I drove to Banff for my conference (see other post) and home.
It was an amazing trip and one I really needed. I learned a ton about myself (who I am, what I care about and what I am capable of)
The ultimate ICDI - I proved to myself that I Could Do It (after a few days at the beginning when I had a lot of anxiety and was questioning if the trip was a mistake)
I added a guiding principle. I now have 4 that I use as lenses to make decisions about how I want to live my life and where I want to spend my time
Support My Friends and Family (they are going through their own shit and need support too)
Help Others Heal
Help Others Who Help Others Heal
I am capable of so much and can figure things out. Fear is normal but I can overcome a lot of it
Trying something new, no matter how small, will always be important for me and my mental health
I like being alone. I meet people, I process stuff, I realize stuff, and, although I sometimes get bored, its good for me
Planning trips or activities keeps me motivated and interested. Having something to look forward to is a key to my health!
Thanks for taking my trip with me by reading my articles. I honestly can't tell you how happy I am that I was able to do all of what I just did and I can't thank Krista, Romy, Eddie, Mom, Lisa my friends and family for urging me on and supporting me. Not sure I can top this trip, but my next challenge is to figure out how and plan something else amazing!