Our vacation this summer taught me a lot about gratitude. My husband wanted to take a train trip for his birthday. Always up for adventure, I was quickly all aboard! We decided on Montana – an overnight trip. Our plan was to spend at least a week hiking in Glacier National Park. We were excited for the adventure to begin. And so it did.

Turns out that riding in a train overnight is not as romantic as it sounds. The trip during the day, watching and enjoying the scenery was great, but when we switched to our sleepette room things were not nearly as fun.

The bunk beds go down promptly at 9:00 pm, whether you were ready for bed or not. Since Ken is a bit claustrophobic, I was literally stuffed and strapped into the top bunk. There was no headroom, no windows, and constant noise blasting through the night. In the morning at 6:30 am (my Fit Bit indicated 3 hours of sleep), our car hostess banged on the door that our stop (Whitefish, Montana) was coming up. We hurried to get packed up and ready to go. In the confusion, Ken left behind his shaving kit – full of his favorite toiletries and his multiple heart medicines.

Things got worse before they got better — we picked up our car in the wrong place, and I lost my visa during our first meal out. It was quite a bumpy start.

Trying To Have Fun

When we finally made it to our hotel, the attendant asked us if we were having a good day. Ken promptly answered, “We’re really trying to”, and we truly were. We reminded ourselves, with gratitude, how lucky we are to have modern medicine and technology that allowed us to order my husband’s prescriptions and have them delivered the same day. We were also able to cancel the credit card before anyone could use it. We also thoroughly enjoyed the absolutely beautiful vistas, thanking God that we live in such a beautiful country.

Gratitude for Friends

The next day we visited our good friends and their new coffee shop, Blodgett Creamery and Coffee Saloon in Poulson. We also journeyed to the Bison Range where I took approximately 1,000 identical pictures of bison and antelope roaming around.

The next day was going to be the start of some serious hiking, but then, the weather decided to change.

It wasn’t on our schedule, but for the next three days instead of hiking, we read, took naps, walked around the town of Whitefish in the rain, watched movies, and sought out great local restaurants savoring Huckleberry pie and Huckleberry drinks. We celebrated, with gratitude, Kenny’s birthday, and our 41st anniversary, Huckleberry style.

Gratitude for Unintended Rest

We made the best of the situation, discovering the unintended rest to be an unintended blessing. Our hiking trip turned into a welcome time of rest and relaxation.

The sun eventually reappeared, the “Going-to-the-Sun” road opened, and we took in the amazing views on our way to a day of hiking.

Glacier national park west side
Glacier National Park – West side
Glacier National Park east side
Glacier National Park East side

Hiking with Bears

Hiking in bear country is a bit unnerving. We didn’t have to use our Bear spray, but we saw and heard about lots of bears. As we would start a trail, others coming back would share their bear sightings. Each hike quickly became much shorter than planned.

After 10 days of hiking and a lot of adventure, we got back on the train. I saddled up in my top bunk and we made our way home, grateful for the beautiful, unexpected adventure we had together.

Good bye Huckleberry everything. Good bye Bears.

Beers or Bears sign

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Betty Lochner is a human resources consultant, business coach, and expert in workplace communications. She is the author of two books on communication, and a newly published journal, Intentional Gratitude.