After checking in at the KAO campground in St. Mary with one of the most unfriendly ladies behind the desk ever we set up our tent. “Hmmm Holland... is that somewhere in Germany?” She asked. “Euh, no, World War II ended up the good way lady!” 🤨
Anyway, we sit in front of our tent and discussing the rest of our route through The States. A man with a dog passes by and starts a chat with us. He explains, he wants to go hiking tomorrow to a glacier in the National Park but he doesn’t wanna go up just by himself and is looking for company. He invites us to go with him. He has a car so moving around on the mountain roads is no problem at all. We agree.
When he’s nearly leaving, he introduces hisself as Ray from South Africa.
Ray and his wife Jacqui and two little daughters came to the US on greencards to immigrate from South Africa to the United States. But before they really are going to settle here somewhere they bought a big camper van to live in for a while and they’re now driving around the states for more then a year already seeing the country and make a decision were to settle. We make an arrangement with Ray to be at their RV by nine in the morning to go out for some hiking.

Our campground in St. Mary.

When we arrive at their RV the next morning we meet Jacqui and also the two daughters Mila and Sophia.
They stay around the RV today for the first day of homeschooling for this season. Ray packs his backpack and we’re off to the visitor center for some hiking information in the area. We decide to go out for a hike to Grinnell Glacier. The car takes us there in a 30min drive. The 8,5km hike is quite nice with great views over lakes and valleys. It goes quite steep up. The total elevation is 550m up.
Ray is pretty fit for someone who drives the whole country in a big RV, at some parts we can hardly keep up with him. We’re cyclists, not mountain goats 😲

Start Hiking...

Mirror mirror on the wall...

In a far distance you can see the Grinnell Glacier, our destination today.

Ray...

Lower Grinnell Lake

Steep stairs up

Lower Grinnell Lake

On the edge

At the top of the trail we’re sitting along the Grinnell Glacier lake. Pretty awesome for a lunch.
Ray hiked in the same area yesterday with his family but not up to the glacier. He tells he wants to run down to watch for a doll his daughter left behind along one of the lakes. When Arjan hears this story he remembers a doll laying along the first lake we saw down in the valley. Ray regrets he didn’t tell this story earlier.
Anyway Ray still runs the whole 8,5km and 550m down to find that doll for his daughter.
We hike the trail down to meet him again at the car. Glacier NP is really an awesome area for hiking.

Grinnell Glacier

Upper Grinnell Lake

No, that's not us 😉

Climbing up and down

When we meet Ray again he gladly found back the little doll.
On the way back to the campground he invites us to have dinner together with the whole family. The night together was great with good conversations and the Thai food they cooked was awesome. Even Arjan did eat salmon and liked it.

Dinner in the RV

Ray, Jacqui, Sophia and Mila ready for taking off again.

Bye bye... save travels guys!!!

The next day we move just a few kilometers to another campground inside the Glacier National Park. We are early so now there is a free spot for us. The weather is great and we take the free shuttle bus to the Logan Pass, deep inside the park. Normally the shuttle bus does the whole park but because the wildfires half the park is closed down. From the pass we hike to Hidden Lake and from the viewing point over there we see the wildfires burning in a distance.

Classy Transport

Hiking to Hidden Lake

Pink mountain flowers

Another trail visitor

Wildfires in a distance. Hidden lake in the front.

At the end of the day we take the shuttle back to the campground.
The nights over here are dark because there is hardly any lightning in the area from cities or so. Tonight the sky is clear and the moon is not there. Thats why the nightly sky is filled with millions of stars and the Milky Way can be seen clearly tonight. Amazing ✨✨

Amazing nights

The next morning we wake up while the sky is still clear, not with stars but with clear blue and sun.
We take it easy today, pack up and go to the visitor center for the last time to check our email and social media stuff. After that we do some last grocery shopping and hit the road again, this time to Yellowstone National Park about 700km from here.

Packing up again to hit the long road to Yellowstone NP.