While I wallowed at the hotel room, Mom and Meemaw drove to the south side of the park and hiked to Running Eagle Falls. It was an easy-to-moderate trail, and Meemaw has always been in excellent shape.
So imagine Mom's surprise, and concern, when Meemaw started lagging behind and appearing short of breath.
Although Meemaw insisted vehemently that she was fine, Mom thought the problem might be that her backpack was too heavy, so she offered (several times) to carry it for her. Each time, her offer was rebuffed with increasing zeal.
They kept hiking.
Exasperated, Mom finally wrested the backpack from Meemaw.
She was shocked to discover that it weighed at least ten pounds.
It was full of rocks.
Rocks that Meemaw wanted to take home to Alabama as souvenirs of our trip.
I don't remember what they did with the rocks, but since taking specimens from national parks is illegal, and even if it weren't, there was a weight limit on our train luggage, I'm pretty sure Meemaw was forced to abandon her cargo.
Before you start feeling too sorry for Meemaw, though, I should tell you she already has an extensive collection of rocks from places she's traveled over the years. A lot of them are from the summer she, Mom, and my Aunt Angela spent in Colorado while Pappaw took a training course there. Others are from South Alabama, where she and Pappaw met. And every once in a while when I'm at their house, she'll take me aside and slip me a (reasonably small) rock, whispering, "This one's from Montana."