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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. . .


                                                                   ever!


                   But first a little bit of history:


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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.

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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

Mid-April. 

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.

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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,

knees

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, 

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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

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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!


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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.


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 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!




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