Our last morning dawns frigid. I wake up to West poking me through my fluffy sleeping bag. He wants to start packing up but it’s early, like dark outside still early, and I’m in no mood to get up and moving. Anything that would require me to leave my warm cocoon for the truly unpleasant crisp morning air is very low on my list of priorities.
I drift back to sleep and from what I can tell, so does West. A few hours later however, I awake to find that West has packed up most of our camp and has been patiently waiting for me, warm cup of tea in hand, the gleam of restlessness and eagerness to get out on the road bright in his eye.
I stagger around stiffly, shoving gear wherever it will fit in the car, some of it left loose as we will simply be opening everything back up to air out once we get back home.
The cool morning sun is just beginning to warm the earth as we leave our site for the last time this trip. A bittersweet whistfulness overcomes me as I see the campground fade into the distance in my rear view mirror, but I am too excited to be getting back to my familiar home to let it weigh too heavily on me.
After a rushed breakfast in Canmore, we hit the open road for the grueling ten and a half hour long cannonball back to Bozeman. West gallantly drives the whole way and I am very grateful as the past week of irregular sleep habits and long days on my feet catch up with me. I sleep for a large portion of the drive down to the border at Sweetgrass.
Our border crossing back into the US this time is much pleasant, the rather portly agent in the booth seeming more interested in the pastry on his desk, than the two grimy campers before him. We spend about 35 seconds talking to him before he waves us through.
The rest of the drive through rural Montana, though not exactly able to be described as breathtaking, is comforting in its familiarity. The smoke steadily worsens the closer we get to Bozeman and is a strong reminder of why the fire bans that were imposed at every single campground are so important. Nature doesn’t need any help From humanity on that front!
That moment when we crest the hill and are able to see the entire Gallatin Valley sprawling out before us is wonderful, like greeting and old friend. Pulling onto our street is a thrill, and the shower I take immediately upon getting to the house is euphoric!
This trip was one of the best we have ever taken as a couple. Our experiences with the people, our experiences in the natural splendor of Banff, and the memories we made along the way are priceless and will be cherished. We are sad to say goodby to Canada for now, but this trip only deepened our desire to return often and to explore more in the future! Until next time Canada!
Thank you to everyone who took the time to share in this year’s adventure north! We are very thankful to everyone who helped to make this trip such a success including both our families, our employers, and everyone we met along the way! I am interested in hearing from you if this blog is something you would like to see continued even when we aren’t traveling to far-flung places. I’m toying with the idea of trying to do either brief weekly updates or a monthly highlights breakdown in addition to any indepth travel blogging in the future. If you have an opinion one way for another, or any suggestions to improve the blog or topics you’d like to see covered, let me know!
– Brooke E.