Shoshone Geyser Basin, Yellowstone, 2022

Pringles

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2015
Messages
334
Day 1, 2 and 3.

Years ago, I started hiking with a group out of Indiana, the Hoosier Bacckpackers. After moving to the Yellowstone area, I decided to offer to organize a hike in Yellowstone. That was the year of Covid. I tried again last year, but people still didn’t want to travel. So I tried again this year. Bingo. I had four Hoosiers who joined me on a hike to the Shoshone Geyser Basin.

As we entered the park, there was a traffic jam. It turned out to be two grizzlies—a sow and year old cub. One Hoosier indicated that in all his trips to hike out west, he’d never seen a bear. Well, he can check that off the list. I always think that’s a good way to remind people to hang their food right away.
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We picked up our permit at the backcountry office, and drove to the Lonestar Trailhead. Today’s destination was the first campsite past Lonestar Geyser. We parked and made our last minute adjustments, and then were off down the mostly flat trail. It wasn’t really even a trail. It was an old road. A few years ago I did this hike with a different group, and one older member of the group remembered driving down the road with his family, when he was a kid. In fact, he wanted to do the hike to the geyser basin because he was afraid that in a few years, he wouldn’t be able to make it any more. The first few miles of the trail are open to bicycles, and I think I may come back with my bike.

On that day, we spread out, and hiked to the geyser area at our own paces.

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We got there, and picked logs to sit on, to wait for the geyser to go off. We had to wait quite a while, but our campsite was close, so it really didn’t matter.

Lonestar goes off about every three hours. Like most geysers, it sputters for a while, then it erupts. The first eruption is maybe 20 feet high, and fairly impressive. Then it steams, and sputters to a stop. Then, maybe half an hour later, the main eruption goes off. The second eruption is maybe 40 feet high, and sounds quite loud. This goes off for maybe 20 minutes, and finally, it steams for a bit, and then stops. We watched the whole process.

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After the show, we packed up and hiked toward the campsite. Once we left the Lonestar area, the trail was really a trail. We crossed a little bridge that went over the outflow from the geyser, and walked through young pines to a trail intersection. There, we turned toward Shoshone Lake, and hiked a short distance to our campsite. It’s a stock campsite, but I think it’s limited to llamas for stock. We hung our food, then went looking for campsites. We set up in a big fairly open area, but with a few trees to provide some shelter. Then, we explored the area around camp. There was a little trail that led to this nice view, with the Firehole River, and thermal features.

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I had told the others that we’d be able to hear Lonestar go off in the night. If you hear a jet, but it doesn’t move across the sky, and it lasts a long time, that’s Lonestar. I don’t know about the others, but I heard it go off a couple of times during the night.

In the morning, I woke early, about 5:30, and decided that I could make some coffee, and drink it slooooowly, and enjoy it. So I headed toward the camp kitchen. As I got close, I heard a loud CRACK. I moved to see what had caused the noise, and saw a black bear looking at me, It was maybe 25 yards away, and just looking. I reached into my pocket to grab my phone, to get a picture (it was perfect, a bear just posing, looking right at me), but the phone wasn’t on. So I turned it on, and as I did it, I thought that possibly I should be paying attention to the bear instead of fussing with the phone. I grabbed my bear spray as I looked up. The great photo opportunity was gone. The bear had come a step or two closer and was eating grubs or ants of something, from a log. I started yelling, “Hey bear!” I also took a picture or two. Actually, I think there were four or five. At least one was quite fuzzy. Being a little too close to a bear will do that to your usually steady hand. The bear looked up at me when I started yelling, but went back to eating. He’d take a step or two closer or to the side, to change the dining opportunities, but did nothing threatening. I kept yelling, and he’d look at me, but he didn’t leave. Finally, apparently the restaurant was seen as too loud, and he ambled off.

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At that point, I knew I needed to let the others in the group know that if they were moving around, they needed to have bear spray. So I went back to the tent nearest me, and there was no one there. I guess I could hope that she had her bear spray. There was no movement from the other tents, so I headed back to the kitchen area. Shortly after, Dave arrived and asked if there had been a bear, or if I was just trying to scare off any bear that might have been in the area. “Nope. There was a bear. Do you have your bear spray?” He turned around went back to grab his bear spray.

The bear was a hot topic around the camp kitchen, at least for me. It was a full sized bear. I’m guessing it was either a young male, or more likely, a female with no cubs this year.

After eating, we packed our bags, and hiked about 6-7 miles to our site on Shoshone Lake. During the first segment of the hike, we passed some thermal features.

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Then we came to an area that was under construction. I’m sure it’ll be great when it’s done. At the moment, it’s rather soggy going for hikers.

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There were some meadows and creeks along the way, including two streams to cross. Some people balanced their way across logs, others picked their way on rocks. Two of us chose to slosh across. It was a hot day, and it really was pretty refreshing.
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I had warned people that the side trail to the campsite was about half a mile long. I had to tell myself that a number of times as I walked it. I really wanted to be at camp. Soon enough, I made it.

The side is on the edge of Shoshone Lake, and quite beautiful.

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Members of the group took the opportunity to swim, or at least cool off in the lake.
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The next morning, we prepared for a day hike to the geyser basin.

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The geyser basin is the third largest geyser basin in the world (according to one of my books). We had to hike back up that side trail, then about half a mile to the turn off for the basin, and then into the basin.

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We probably spent two or three hours there.


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I like the pretty colored thermal features best.

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After we had gone through the thermal area, we turned around and retraced our steps. We headed back to the campsite. We spent our time at the gravel beach below the camp kitchen.

This is the view back toward the canoe landing of the geyser basin.

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There was a resident in the roots of one of the trees.

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The evening meal on our last night at the Shoshone Lake camp.

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Absarokanaut

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Sep 17, 2014
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660
I will never forget summer camp canoe trip from Lewis to Shoshone Lake in 1975. Diving off the cliffs in the channel and lounging in the hot mudpots and rinsing off in the creek were lots of fun. Thanks for a great report and trip down memory lane.
 

Pringles

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2015
Messages
334
Thank you. I think the Hoosiers enjoyed something that was so different from their usual hike. I enjoyed showing off some of Yellowstone... and getting back to the geyser basin.
 

Pringles

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2015
Messages
334
Thank you John and Scatman. Bears… no idea. They are my favorite, though, and may choose to show up at just the right time. I was in Yellowstone yesterday and saw three wolves (from the road), but no bears. I’ll post pictures later.
 
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