This evening, we go down to the river to light another fire and start our dinner. We’ve got a little more food to burn—it’s time for everything to go that we’re not going to eat.

I suggest we do another “Eve” impersonation and I volunteer to go up first and set up the shower. I love taking a shower out in the wilderness! I trust that no one will interrupt me but we’ve had unexpected visitors before so I don’t dawdle.

Photo of a solar water bag.

Solar power heats the water up nicely for a warm shower.

The water comes out of the spigot nice and hot. I know I can drench myself and not worry too much about conserving water for Gini. The bag is full and there is plenty. I shampoo and scrub down. The cleanest I’ve felt since we got here. Another wonderful experience before we leave.

It’s Gini’s turn to go up and I take my glass of wine, a book, and pot holders down to the beach. I tend to the fire and roll the foil-wrapped potatoes across the grate, keeping hot coals underneath.

It’s a gift to have a quiet moment alone on the river during our last evening. I try to read but my eyes and spirit keep getting pulled back to my surroundings—the river, the vistas, the willows that lean sideways with “brother wind.” Birds are part of the song as are the persistent flies. I look for the eagle but I am content with the changing sunlight and shadows. I see a dragonfly! A new creature to list in my journal.

The flowing colors on the river’s surface inspire me. Again I think that I may want to pursue something with these colorful reflections above and below the water’s surface. I can feel a creative spark starting to build and form but at this point it’s still just that—a spark.

Photo of the Flathead River in the Great Bear Wilderness.

More beauty in the water and the reflections.


Photo of a pastel painting by Francesca Droll.

©Francesca Droll, 12″ x 9″, pastel. A study of the scene in the photo above. One of my exploratory paintings that didn’t make it into the Hockaday exhibit. Not every study turns into a painting.

Dinner is progressing. Gini has carmelized our leftover baked onions to go with our sausages and potatoes. We have carrots as an appetizer plus more snacks than we usually do—eat up that food!

Preparing dinner has been a big job almost every night. I’m thinking simpler meals next time but the dinners are always delicious and one has to weigh the pros and cons of time and effort devoted to meal preparation.

We know we have a lot of packing ahead of us so we leave the burned out fire and head up to the cabin to begin. It’s been a great trip, we feel empowered by our perseverance in primitive surroundings and our dedication to art making. It’s exhilarating!

Now comes the push that won’t stop for almost 24 hours. Hopefully that will include some sleep!  We go to it and work on our own stuff. Piles are diminished and finally disappear. In their place are large bags stuffed full. The coolers are the only empty things. Gini eliminates a box of art supplies and we pack the coolers with all manner of things—water shoes, canvases, food & water containers, and clothes.

Photo of packing camping gear.

Packing it up!

On to bed with the hope that we get a good night’s rest for a change. We have a long hike tomorrow but we feel so much stronger than when we arrived. All this primitive living has been good in building strong and healthy bodies.

Photo of the Flathead River.

As twilight falls, I’m happy that we have had such a wonderful experience out here. Let’s hope it continues tomorrow.


Animals we saw today:
Snowshoe Hare
Mergansers with fewer chicks
Resident Chipmunk
Resident mouse

Flowers: the same as every day before but drier and drier
Harebell (Bellflower)
Aspen Daisy
Nodding Onion
Sulphur Flower
Indian Paint Brush
Sandwort (we think)