Friday, June 6: more hiking and exploring in Yellowstone backcountry
Our first night in the backcountry was the coldest night we’d had yet. The tent finally began to warm when the sun came up. We took our time getting up and making breakfast (oatmeal), then cleaning our dishes and stringing everything back up. After a relaxing morning, we were ready to take a day hike to further explore the area.
From our campsite, we could smell sulfur from the nearby spring when the wind picked up. We decided to hike towards Wahb Spring and Death Gulch to check out the thermal activity. The trail took us back up the ridge, where we immediately encountered bison. At this point we were old pros at navigating around them, so we veered off trail at a safe distance until we were clear of them. The trail ran up and down several small hills and over bubbling creeks, then through a wooded area. As we lost our easy sight lines, we started to make more noise by shouting and clapping so we wouldn’t surprise any bears. At one point, our noisiness caused a moose to suddenly leap to his feet and take off down the mountain. Finally, we had proof that our tactics were working.
During our hike, we encountered lots of downed, burned trees from the last great fire in the 1980’s. Lots of new growth was springing up as well. After a few miles, we turned back to head to camp. On our way, we got a good view of Mt. Norris.
Back at camp, we had lunch and watched more deer cross the river. Our timing ended up being perfect because as we were putting away our supplies, a heavy rain rolled in. We spent the next few hours chilling out in the tent reading (me with my Kindle, Kurt with our Glacier guidebooks). The weather cleared up in time for dinner, so we sat by the campfire and split a bag of beef stroganoff, my personal favorite dehydrated meal. As dusk settled, deer continued to cross at the river and climb the ridge near our site, giving us a perfect view for wildlife watching.
On our second night, we were better prepared for the cold. We zipped our sleeping bags together and piled on the layers. This time, we stayed much warmer and got a better night’s sleep. However, we woke up the next morning to quite a surprise…
Wildlife sightings: moose, bison, mule deer