The Memorial Day weekend of May 27, 2006, Tracy and I went to Yellowstone again. The weather forecast was calling for lots of snow throughout Utah and southern Wyoming (and, yes, it was almost June), so we thought we would give Yellowstone a chance, because I was getting sick and tired of snow, and I wanted to do some backpacking.
We wanted to backpack a couple of days out to Shoshone Lake and the geyser basin near the lake, but the ranger said the snow was still too bad on that trail. And then the weather was still pretty crappy on Saturday, so we ended up doing some dayhiking on the Fairy Falls Trail on Saturday. The waterfall was nice, but Imperial Geyser was nicer. About a mile past the waterfall was the geyser, and it was really cool to watch the geyser. It was very active, and it spewed water pretty high. We had the geyser all to ourselves, and we just sat there and laughed, because it was the strangest thing to watch a perfectly calm pool of water suddenly start gurgling and then jet water out in a fury. It was humbling to think of all the geothermal activity going on underneath us. So that was really cool.
Then on Sunday we backpacked down to the Yellowstone River on the Hellroaring Trail, and camped along the Hellroaring River. We didn’t see one sign of wildlife on that entire hike, even though the opposite side of Hellroaring was like an elk killing field…there were elk carcasses and skeletons everywhere. But we didn’t even see elk or bison. I figured this area was their wintering grounds, so they had moved further south into the park for the summer. Of course, when we returned to the truck on Monday, we talked to people at the trailhead who were able to explain the mud tracks all over my truck: we had just missed a black bear crawling all over cars at the trailhead. So at least my truck got to see some wildlife! The trail was great, though…it was a really pretty hike. And we ended up seeing a small grizzly at a bear jam on our way out of the park…so that was good. I’d still like to see one on the trail…from a safe distance.
After leaving Yellowstone we drove out through the Tetons and then on back home past the Winds. I’m looking forward to hitting the Winds again as soon as the snow melts.