Mirror Plateau via Pelican Valley and Pelican Creek, July / August 2023

BobFink

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Mirror Plateau via Pelican Valley and Pelican Creek

I should start out by saying this route was inspired by a Scatman Trip Report.
Thanks to Scatman and Backcountry Post.

I had a great Yellowstone Lottery spot last year and had planned a Lamar River Loop from Pelican Valley going onto the Mirror Plateau from the North and exiting to the south along Pelican Creek and then out to Joseph Coat Springs and returning to the Pelican TH. However, I was fortunate to be selected for a remote hawk migration monitoring position for Hawk Watch International. This changed the itinerary to an out and back via Pelican Creek to the Opal Campsite. I spent 3 days on the Mirror Plateau, one night at Opal Creek and 2 nights at Pelican Creek. I took different routes between 5P7 and 3O1on this out and back, allowing different perspectives on the Mirror Plateau. Much of the walking was on buffalo trails or routes. The only challenging zone were the dead-fall on the SW side of Mirror Lake. I particularly liked our return route, traveling down the Mirror Fork and up Timothy Creek to cross back to Pelican Creek.

I was fortunate to get a close wolf view in Pelican Valley.

Side trips to Fern Lake, Peak 9199 and the boiling mud pots just off the Pelican Creek Trail.

While at Pelican Creek Camp we did an out and back to peak 9199, south of camp and just west of the Raven Creek Headwaters. Great views of Yellowstone Lake and the zone in between. A large elk herd was just south of the peak.

This is a great meadow route as meadows could be used exclusively to link 5P7 and 3O1.

Lone Wolf in Pelican Valley
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IMG_4405.jpegView up Pelican Creek
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Resident bison of Pelican Creek 5P7.
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Elk remains found in meadow SE of 5P7.
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View from 9199 Peak. Yellowstone lake is visible. A herd of elk can be seen in foreground.
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View towards 5P7 from 9199.
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Tent location at 5P7.
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Mirror Lake, reference point for Scatman.

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View looking North from Mirror Plateau.
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View looking north from Opal Creek, 3O1.
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Same view graced by a bison.
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View towards Mirror Fork drainage.
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Swainson Hawk, darp morph, between Mirror and Timothy drainage.
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Heading towards Timothy Creek.
 

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Very cool to see a wolf like that. Did you hear any wolves?
I really like the bison in Site 5P7.
 
Great to see the Mirror Plateau and Mirror Lake again @BobFink.

Your bison shot at 5P7 is wonderful, along with your shot heading towards Timothy Creek, and I like your shots from Peak 9199. What were conditions like south along that ridge towards Pelican Cone from 9199? Would you say a ridge hike from 9199 to Pelican Cone is reasonably doable? Or are there too many sticks on the ground?

I'm surprised that you didn't run into any bears on this one.

Thanks for sharing.
 
What were conditions like south along that ridge towards Pelican Cone from 9199? Would you say a ridge hike from 9199 to Pelican Cone is reasonably doable? Or are there too many sticks on the ground?
I did it a few years ago as part of a day hike - wouldn't necessarily recommend it to all, but the @scatman should have no problem.
 
Did you start from campsite 5P7 on your day hike, or did you start at a more distant location?
From the Pelican Valley TH near Indian Pond - went up Pelican Creek. Revisiting my track, I actually missed 9199 by a bit (but pretty close), as my target was 9222 and then south to Pelican Cone. Long day - longer than planned - and finished in the dark.

I was really hoping to see some bears, but no such luck - though once the sun abandoned me, I was kind of OK w/ it. (In fact, in my 3 trips through the Pelican Valley region I've never seen one bear... much to my chagrin.)
 
Dont even think of it
From the Pelican Valley TH near Indian Pond - went up Pelican Creek. Revisiting my track, I actually missed 9199 by a bit (but pretty close), as my target was 9222 and then south to Pelican Cone. Long day - longer than planned - and finished in the dark.

I was really hoping to see some bears, but no such luck - though once the sun abandoned me, I was kind of OK w/ it. (In fact, in my 3 trips through the Pelican Valley region I've never seen one bear... much to my chagrin.)

Dont even think of it for a dayhike Scat....not gonna happen with me. We did from Mist crk pass to the TH......extremely long
 
Very cool to see a wolf like that. Did you hear any wolves?
I really like the bison in Site 5P7.
We heard wolves a few times briefly in the middle of the night. As it was an out and back, we stayed at 5P7 twice. The second night we were there a bison scraped a tree a few feet from the photo for a good ten minutes, tearing off the bark and causing significant damage.
 

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From the Pelican Valley TH near Indian Pond - went up Pelican Creek. Revisiting my track, I actually missed 9199 by a bit (but pretty close), as my target was 9222 and then south to Pelican Cone. Long day - longer than planned - and finished in the dark.

I was really hoping to see some bears, but no such luck - though once the sun abandoned me, I was kind of OK w/ it. (In fact, in my 3 trips through the Pelican Valley region I've never seen one bear... much to my chagrin.)
We did 9199 as an out and back from 5P7.
 
Great to see the Mirror Plateau and Mirror Lake again @BobFink.

Your bison shot at 5P7 is wonderful, along with your shot heading towards Timothy Creek, and I like your shots from Peak 9199. What were conditions like south along that ridge towards Pelican Cone from 9199? Would you say a ridge hike from 9199 to Pelican Cone is reasonably doable? Or are there too many sticks on the ground?

I'm surprised that you didn't run into any bears on this one.

Thanks for sharing.
 
First time I have been through Pelican Area without seeing fresh bear tracks from their night time travels.

There definitely looked like easy routes between 9199 and Pelican Cone. We found the ridge lines were free of downed trees in this area.

All the drainages had well won bison trails that were well packed and smooth.
I would like to hike Raven Creek to Pelican or Timothy in the future.
 
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