Hello, I'm glad you're here, and hope you enjoy your visit. It has been said that "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." This blog is about me, my adventures, silly moments, and keeping in touch with you. Life is exciting and so full of possibilities, so let's enjoy the journey together.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wildless Life and Breathtaking Scenery: Trek through Yellowstone part 2


We had arrived at the trailhead, we were parked, had our packs, eaten our last urbanized meal and were ready at last to begin our journey that I have waited roughly 7 years to do


We were excited and ready to go. . . or at least I was, and it appeared that the optimism I was feeling was universal. . . 
okay, maybe it was only me . . .


 These two don't look as energetic as I remember feeling

I was excited and at the moment
that's all that mattered

Changes of Scenery:

This was one of the things we learned about Yellowstone, the scenery, vegetation, and terrain changes so quickly!   I found it fascinating at how quickly the landscape around us changed!


We were fresh and feeling like we were ready to conquer the wilderness.  The weather was near perfect and we finally on our way into the wilderness

with thoughts of lions, and tigers, and bears. . . Oh My! 

Actually we were more concerned about wolf, bears, and moose,
but they don’t exactly fit into the rhyme very well.
We had come to a spot on the trail where we found our first bear scat

in case you are unaware,
“scat” is the polite word for animal poop

We found plenty of real life proof of wildlife in addition to their digestive processes
But just in case, we tested out the can of bear spray on a nearby tree

. . . my-oh-my!

That stuff is wicked!  

I know you are dying to hear the story so here it is. . .

I’m not sure how the men I was with knew it was bear poop,

but they were both convinced that’s what it was and I had nothing for a reference so I went with their assessment.

the conversation quickly turned to bears and what to do if we met one.  We had a can of bear spray. . . because 

  • a.  It’s a good idea to have
  • b. it’s required to have before you start your hike
  • c.  It’s a good idea to have bear spray handy in case you need it. 

Anyway, none of us had ever had reason to use bear spray before and we were a bit curious what it was like and how it worked. 

So the Genius decided to spray a bit onto a nearby tree.  There was the slightest breeze so he aimed in a direction that the breeze would take any unpleasant side effects away from us. It came out like a messy can of BRIGHT Orange paint in a powerful misty/stream like pattern. . . as in construction worker clothing orange. . .  I was getting my camera out, when almost instantly the genius (who was standing closest to the spray) got all watery eyed, covered his face and ran, superman who was standing about three feet down wind from the genius almost instantly had the same response, me?  I was at least 5-6 feet from both of them and all of a sudden my throat tightened up and got scratchy, my eyes got all watery, and I could barely see! and I too ran off shielding my face hacking and coughing. . .

 So now you can imagine the obvious. . . no picture. 

Just so you know,
the effects of that stuff lasted
for at least 10-15 minutes.

Rumor has it that it won’t do much for a bear except give you a few minutes to high-tail it out of there and manage to get a bear really mad. . . as in raging ticked off mad at you, which is why we brought a secondary method to deal with an angry raging bear in case we found our lives in danger.

There were plenty of tracks and scat. . .

we found multiple tracks of . . .

bear DSC06252_thumb[6]

Bear Tracks

bear claws DSC06238_thumb[8]

Evidence of bears clawing around for something. . .

wolf tracksDSC06163_thumb[6]

There were several wolf tracks

Moose Tracks DSC06164_thumb[9]

and even Moose Tracks


Superman called these the waffle-stomper tracks

. . . I’m boring and simply called them people tracks.

In the end, to our disappointment, we didn’t see one live animal beyond a typical squirrel during our week inside Yellowstone.


sheesh, we didn’t even see a fish!
It was highly fortunate we didn’t plan dinner upon our fishing success!

we learned later that the fish in this lake swim deep so you need a canoe and sinkers in order to catch anything. . . hind sight and talking to those who have figured things out before is always handy.

But I digress. . .

and I now return to scenery observations:
The first thing I noticed is the absolute beauty of the place we were in.

From Lush vegetation and shade to

grassy plains and flat easy trails.

The realization that we were basically alone was profound, and I felt amazingly small and insignificant, but it was so incredibly peaceful,

. . . I was having fun!
actually . . . I was having a blast! 

As we plodded forward and deeper into our hike across the plains a few trees would begin to pop up in the distance. 


there would be a small tree randomly breaking
up the vast prairie we had been in for the past 2-3 hours


Then within a few yards we would be hiking through groves of trees and 
ENTIRELY different vegetation!

huckleberry-bush---internet_thumb2 Thimbleberries-2_thumb2

In the heavy forested areas in the higher altitude with huckleberries, one of the most delicious fruits you can find, and Thimbleberries, while not quite as tasty as the huckleberries, as they have a very seedy texture, they still make an exceptionally tasty treat.  This is where we thought we would cross paths with a bear, as Huckleberries are one of their favorites too. . . and while we found plenty of skat (ie: bear poop)

as I mentioned earlier, we didn’t see any bears.

or moose

or deer

or wolves

not even a buffalo

not a big anything

Allow me to clarify. . . It’s not that I wanted to meet any of the above listed wild animals face to face on the trail, but was hopeful to see one in the distance. . .

“in the distance” is defined as one that would be close enough for a photo shoot. . . I would like to note that I was specifically hoping for a black bear. . .
I think they are the cutest. . . and they don’t seem as intimidating 

That would have been cool 

We found a few other types of berries that we were not sure about so we didn’t try those, but they sure looked pretty and enticing.

Some sections were lush and green with varieties of grasses, ferns huckleberries, thimbleberries, fern type plants and . . . 


the secondary reason I choose this route was the waterfalls

I LOVE waterfalls and find their power beautiful, Inspiring, majestic, as they command respect.


As we traveled through the high country hiking past majestic waterfalls,
from the prairies and grassland,

the vegetation again changed to a lush green  with small streams


  to wide meandering rivers


which quickly changed to rushing torrents.

Keep in mind, we basically followed the same River, known as the Bechler River for our entire hike, up over the Continental Divide at which point flowed down the other side, and on the other side was known as the Shoshone Creek and drained into the Shoshone Lake.


We traveled over the swampy grassland, where the genius soaked his shoes and socks with the muddy muck of the high prairie, but onward we forged.  We didn’t have much of an option, this was on our Long 10 mile day, and we didn’t have time to linger to dry out muddy soggy shoes and socks.


Then we would walk through the parries with it’s multiple streams and low current rivers


This is Shoshone Lake!

We camped on the shores of this beautiful place for two nights


From trees and forests emerged the barren landscape of the geyser basin.


There isn’t much to support life in these sections,

it is hot, steamy, stinky, and fascinating all in one sentence.


Where pretty much nothing but organisms grow and thrive. 


Again, notice how quickly the landscape changes!
Seriously within a few feet it’s a entirely different world.
This was one of our favorite side trips.  In fact this is the main reason I picked this hike. . .

. . . Mister Bubbles

Because of my attempt to keep my posts shorter, so my friends don't get bored reading to much at one time, my tale about "Mr. Bubbles" will have to wait to be told for another day . . .

But, honestly, it's worth waiting for, as it was a highlight of our trip!

I hope you've enjoyed your visit
and come back in a couple of days!



Monday, March 27, 2017

Dreams Do Come True. . . Our Backpacking Trip Through Yellowstone National Park- Part 1

Due to Superman's surgery in January we have elected, not by choice, but rather by doctors instructions to replace cycling this summer with something different and

                 This is an adventure I’ll never forget. . .


                   But first a little bit of history:

281 wet is good_thumb

The Genius, the Daughter, and the Musician and their friend were all very active as young adults and one of the things they did a ton of was backpacking. 

I always thought it would be fun to join them but I was in pretty bad shape, as a result of an auto accident, not only was I severely out of shape, but I was also very overweight, in addition to the fact that I was lacking in gear.  I had spent plenty of my salary making sure the Kids had the good gear and supplies and it paid off, but there hadn’t been a real need to worry about me.  In most cases, good equipment equates to a good experience, and for us this rule was no exception. 

When the Genius and the Daughter left on their missions in June of 2007 we had a deal:

I would work hard and be ready to go on a backpacking trip after they were home in the summer of 2009. . .  I did my part, got in shape, purchased gear, backpack, sleeping bag, air mattress, stove, utensils along with a few miscellaneous items like a backpacking pillow . . . 

Then the great day finally came and they were home!  the Daughter arrived home 6 months earlier than he did and had already moved away for school, had a job, and her own agenda that didn’t include a week long backpacking trip. . .  Sadly, the Genius came home with a bad knee and totally out of Shape.

Alas, I found myself solo, 
and my backpacking adventure never happened.

Fast forward 8 full years, I retained all my gear and my dream of using it out in the middle of the wilderness somewhere.

Now I’m married to Superman, who loves to backpack and finally we planned a trip, well actually I planned our excursion, after much consulting with Google, picking something interesting then finally, with the approval of Superman and the Genius, we were going to backpack through the heart of Yellowstone National Park!

This would be a one way trip meaning we would park just South of Old Faithful, drive out of the park to the Bechler Ranger Station and trek through Yellowstone, a trip that would end up being 38 miles over the course of a week.

The one way trip wasn’t a big deal because the Genius was going to be in Wyoming the previous week, so he would already be in the area with his truck.

I personally wasn’t in as good of shape as I was back in 2009, but good enough, that I felt confident that this would be a fantastic experience!  I was super stoked.
There are SEVERAL things I learned about organizing a trip of this nature.

First you must PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!

Getting permits takes time, and you MUST have a permit to backpack in Yellowstone . . . or any other National Park . . .
We submitted our permit REQUEST in the first week of February, but wouldn’t find out we were granted a permit until


We were somewhat anxious to get our permit confirmation and begin to prepare in earnest

Secondly,  to plan a trip like this, you not only need a map, but you need a map of where all the campsites are in relation to the trail map that are marked as little triangles, but not numbered . . .  

I dug around on line to find this information and finally succeeded, sort of.   It was not straight forward. . . but close enough to get the planning done.

I still wonder why they have to make it so difficult, but that’s what they have done, so we accepted it, figured it out, and forged ahead.


As we studied the map we realized that we would be going uphill more than down, which we were fine with because while it takes more effort to walk . . . or in our case hike up hill. 

it’s actually much more taxing on the toes,


and other joints

to take the downhill route..

Third,  In our planning we calculated each day with 6-7 miles the first three days then the 4th day, would be a long 9 mile day, simply because there were NO campgrounds between these two points. As we discussed this we determined that it wasn't much of a concern knowing the next two days were super short 3.5 miles and then 4 miles.  In fact we felt we may decide to combine the last two days and get out a day early.

Over the course of a week this route would give us a total of approximately 35 miles, 


We met up with the Genius early Monday morning, August 8, 2016 in Jackson Hole, WY had a quick breakfast of egg/ham/&cheese burritos, that had been prepared before leaving meaning fast, easy and virtually no clean up, and began our journey into Yellowstone National Park to drop off the Genius’s Truck and then we would drive down and around through the West Entrance to the Bechler canyon Ranger Station and Bechler Trail-head.

This is where we encountered our first BIG mistake.  By going through the Jackson entrance, we had to pay a park entrance fee to BOTH the Teton National Park AND again to get into Yellowstone
. . . YIKES, that sucked!
instead of $30 to get in it was now $50.00 just to park a car for a week

. . . just a bit steep on the parking fee I’d say


The drive into Bechler was beautiful!  

My mounting excitement paralleled that beauty

The downside was that we were greeted by 11 miles of dirt road that was rutted and wash-boarded making the drive excessively rattly, noisy, and dusty making the pace painfully slow  . . .

seriously, we were bouncing all over the road!


Upon our arrival, we were excited and ready to go

. . . or at least I was,

and it appeared that the optimism I was feeling was universal.

 As I have been working on this post for the past few weeks it has gotten so long that I have decided to break it up into several posts. . . but it should all be worth it in the end.
So for the next few weeks I will post about every three days as I share with you about my first backpacking trip!
Thanks for stopping in, and for the record, we had a blast!

Hopefully you will come back to hear more of our week in Yellowstone and my perspective of my first ever backpacking adventure.

See you in a couple of days!