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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!



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