Today started well, and finished even better! For a start, we woke not to the sound of rain pattering into the roof, but to the sound of the river rushing past, a couple of metres from our open van windows. The day improved further with hot tea and freshly cooked banana pancakes a la Chris, and we packed up and headed west on Highway 1 towards Glacier National Park.
With Bill at the wheel and Chris in his mobile office we bombed along the Transcanadian Highway, passing and being passed by enormous trucks, motor homes of all shapes and sizes and motorbikes / motor trikes towing trailers.
Despite the low grey clouds, the scenery was spectacular - high snow capped mountains, vast areas of forest and rushing blue glacial rivers.
After a brief stop got fuel in Golden, we drove on to the Glacier National Park information centre and to the Illecillewaet campsite. Despite brightening skies the rain continued to drizzle, but that did it deter us, and neither did the bear warnings. Many of the paths had reports of bear sightings meaning that hikers could only walk in groups of 4 or more.
Luckily the Abbot Ridge and Lake Marion paths had no such reports and so we were able to set off with minimal concerns (although we still carried best spray and marched along shouting 'Hey Bear!' at regular intervals!
Chris set out in running gear to reach the summit of Abbot Ridge (20km round trip) and we set off walking for Lake Marion (10km round trip).
The weather was alternated between mist / drizzle and heavy rain but came up trumps when we arrived at the lake and followed the path to the viewpoint when the clouds parted, the sun shone and the most beautiful rainbow appeared, stretching across Rogers Pass and the beautiful forested slopes and snow capped mountains below us. We ate our picnic, chatted to a passing German couple and soaked up the spectacular scenery.
Chris, meanwhile had reached the summit of Abbot Ridge 500 metres vertically above us, and like us was enjoying a brief respite from wintery precipitation as he ate his lunch and watched the rainbows below.
We then both set off down hill and arrived with moments of each other back at the car park.
Wet and muddy we scrambled into the van and set off for this evening's destination at Heather Mountain Lodge, half way between Golden and Revelstoke.
What a lovely place! We checked into our room - mountain views, comfy beds, bath, Nespresso coffee machine... And settled into our new comfortable surroundings as the afternoon sun illuminated the mountains around us.
Next stop the hot tub overlooking the garden and mountains, and then the remarkable barrel - shaped sauna. A cold shower, more hot tub and some massage and we all felt rejuvenated!
Back in our room, we reviewed today's photographs of each other's exploits and then Chris got back to work, ready for his meeting in Vancouver on Friday.
Dinner was served in the amazing high ceilinged lodge - baked Brie in filo pastry, wild mushroom and bacon chowder, tomato and juniper soup, followed by game burger (elk venison and duck!) and game chicken with spinach - as usual all excellent!
We had coffee upstairs in the lovely lounge, with squishy leather sofas and log fire, making plans for the next few days, before turning in, to savour the delights of comfortable beds, clean sheets and pillowcases and a bath!!