The sunny dry weather continued for the next 2 days. The trees are showing off their autumn colours. Mostly yellow from all the cottonwood trees. But also forest fires revealed the many colours of the undergrowth. Most of the campsites along the road in the park are already closed. In fact the “Going to the sun” highway will close down on 1/10 from the steep and narrow west side and on 8/10 from the east side. Campers large than 7 m long and 3 m high are not even allowed to cross the 2020m high pass. Because of the nice weather it was busy everywhere and the campsites are full. You wonder why they did not keep some sites open a bit longer.
On arrival we went first to St Mary campground (the only one open at this Eastern entrance to the park) and was lucky to get one of the two last sites available. The next day we drove back out of the park and turned north towards the many glaciers area. At the lake there is the very Many Glacier hotel which was closed. The huge parking lot was mostly empty suggesting that it is a lot busier in the summer season. We made a very relaxed stroll around the Swiftcurrent lake. The trail is suitable for wheel chairs users, so Rudy also enjoyed more of the scenery then during climbing. We went back to St. Mary’s campground for lunch and booked us into one of the few remaining unoccupied sites. We were just in time. In the afternoon we drove partly up the “Going to the Sun” highway to do some of the short walks on the side of the road towards small waterfalls dropping over the rocks into the turquoise St Mary lake. This time it was a longer walk and not wheel chair friendly. But the views are awesome. In the evening we sat around the campfire at our neighbours site. Nick is travelling around the US visiting his old home areas. He is in-between jobs and, after spending years in many different countries around the world, wants to settle down in Arizona where he (also) grew up. It was good to exchange stories about the different countries we both had visited over the past 40 years.
Today we left the campsite late to finally drive over the Logan pass (2020 m). Both on the way up and down we made several stops to enjoy and photograph the impressive landscape with deep green and yellow valleys and mountains with (small) glaciers. Before we left the park there is a nice walk through a large grove of very old Red Cedar trees. We could not pass it by without walking the boardwalk through the park. Apparently the cedar is the slowest growing of the large trees. Because of the regular forest fires it therefore has the least chance of growing above the fire level which usually goes through the lower branches. The other trees there are the black cottonwood and western hemlock pines.
Now that we have more days to visit the USA, we can do it in a relax manner. The next attraction will be Yellowstone. Some fellow travellers gave us advise on which scenic roads to take to get there. Already this afternoon we started travelling further south-east along the secondary roads. We found an excellent campsite under large pine trees at the Swan river. It is a site from the State Forest department. These sites are far less busy than the ones in the National Parks and almost just as good.