Yellowstone August 2021

swmalone

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Joined
Apr 27, 2016
Messages
429
My wife and I headed to Yellowstone early Tuesday August 24th. We arrived in West Yellowstone early enough that entry into the park was no problem. Shortly after entering the park we hit a line of cars that wasn't moving and had about a 20 minute stop. Once we started moving again we passed a couple of rangers ensuring people weren't stopping on the road. The delay was for a single Bison that was a fair distance off the road. After that there were no delays as we headed up towards our hike at the Cascade Lake trailhead.

We decided to take the Virginia Cascades drive since we had driven past it multiple times but never taken it. We stopped a few times admiring the Gibbon River.

Virginia Cascades

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We stopped and walked along the Gibbon River looking for fish. We saw several small ones.

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My wife stopped and was staring into some shrubs. She called me back and pointed out a massive hornets nest. It was early and cool enough that they weren't active when we arrived. By the time we passed they were started to wake up and fly around. I decided not to poke around to much to see what kind of hornets they were. This would not be our last run in with hornets on this trip. You should be able to barely spot the hornets nest in there.

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We arrived at the trailhead that is right before the road is closed heading toward Tower Falls. I think that since the road is closed that this trailhead was seeing pretty light use.
We ate lunch and then headed out on our hike.

Some pictures of the hike to Cascade Lake.

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These two caught a fish shortly after I snapped the picture.
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After getting back to the truck we headed to Canyon Village campground to get checked in and set up. We tried out the autonomous shuttle that runs from the campground to the visitor center. They still need to work out a few bugs, that was quite a jerky ride.

We had dinner and played a couple games of Pinochle. Our campsite was quite a bit smaller than the one we had in Grant Village last year. It seemed like it was wedged between a couple other sites. The sites to either side of us were filled with multiple tents. One group was very considerate and quiet, the other group was nice enough but they played music fairly loudly right up until quiet hours and were up pretty late with lots of lights pointing everywhere.

August 25, 2021

We drove to the trailhead for Wapiti Lake. When we arrived there were only a couple of other groups and they stayed on the trail to Clear Lake. The Howard Eaton trail at this location was closed due to recent bear activity.

We hiked along the Wapiti Trail enjoying the solitude and the views.

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We were hiking in an area that was thicker with trees and I heard and saw something on the trail. I thought it was someone doing the loop in the opposite direction. Then I saw something brown and I got an adrenaline burst thinking it was a bear. Then around the corner came Benjamin the Bison (Named by my wife).

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We pushed back through the trees to give Benjamin the right of way. He kept an eye on us as he passed and we continued to back through the trees.

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There were some small thermal areas along the Wapiti section of the trail.

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We came to a meadow that had a couple of bison in it. One was on the trail that required us to bypass and reconnect. This one didn't get a name.

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Here is our lovely view of Ribbon Lake. The mosquitoes really picked up in this area, they thought my wife's elbows were particularly tasty.

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We turned and headed back along the Clear Lake trail towards the trailhead. This section of trail was substantially busier than the Wapiti Lake section.

We took the short turn off and checked out Lily Pad lake. There was a family of ducks eating in the Lily Pads.

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We enjoyed looking at the thermal features in this area, especially these bubbling mud pots.

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We continued hiking until we reached Clear Lake. The colors of the lake are quite lovely.


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We continued our hike out toward the trailhead and spotted this along the trail. It wasn't completely dried out but I'm not an expert at telling how old scat is.

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Once we got back to the trailhead we decided to drive toward Fishing Bridge. We had lunch at Nez Perce campground and stopped at the Hayden Valley overlook. Once we reached the fishing bridge we walked around a bit and then headed back. As we were driving back we saw rangers rounding up the fishermen to get them off the river by the 2pm deadline. I'm not sure if they were just warning people or if they were giving citations. We saw 5 or 6 fishermen still fishing after the 2pm cut off.

We had realized that even though we had thought we had visited Norris Geyser basin we hadn't. We headed up there and walked the trails and boardwalk. This is a great place for seeing thermal features with a nice walk.

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After this we headed back to camp for dinner and pinochle and cribbage. The camp neighbors were a little quieter this night.

August 26, 2021

We woke up ate breakfast and started breaking down camp. We left the park and started heading home. We decided to take off the highway heading toward Coffee Pot Rapids. I wanted to try a little fishing on the Henry's Fork. While I was getting ready I kept having this buzzing around me and soon realized that they were bald face hornets. I have had unpleasant experiences with those as home so I hoped that once we moved away from the truck we would be rid of them.

We walked down to the river but it appeared that the hornets either followed us or there were more down there. I will keep the pictures of my flailing around in the middle of the river to myself. The river was beautiful and other than the hornets it was very relaxing to be in the middle. I need to practice my mending and drifts. I was able to catch a couple of sardine sized trout, but that was it.

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After this we headed for home. We stopped in Idaho Falls for lunch. We at at Lucy's New York Pizza. I wish I had remembered to take a picture of the pizza we ordered. Kim and I had talked about trying to put some of our homemade sauerkraut on homemade pizza but hadn't tried it yet. We ordered the Zim which has a little sauce, fresh mozzarella, ham, pepperoni, and sauerkraut then topped with slices of fresh tomatoes. That pizza was amazing. We will definitely be adding the sauerkraut to future pizzas.

All around another successful couple of days in Yellowstone.
 

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swmalone

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Joined
Apr 27, 2016
Messages
429
missed you by a few days. I was there from September 1-16, mostly on backcountry day hikes

We are stuck going during my wife's breaks from school, otherwise I would love to be there in mid-September. I think she may have one more summer where she can take classes, but it will be a few years before we can do a September trip. Of course we also have lots of critters at home that limit our trips to just 2 or 3 nights.
 

Pringles

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Joined
Nov 23, 2015
Messages
274
Very nice pictures and narrative. Now I want to do the Wapiti Lake Trail.

I’ve met Benjamin’s friends. I do not like hiking in their area. And, I, too, take pictures of bear poop. Also wolf poop, coyote poop, unidentified poop… .

Thank you for sharing.
 

swmalone

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2016
Messages
429
Very nice pictures and narrative. Now I want to do the Wapiti Lake Trail.

I’ve met Benjamin’s friends. I do not like hiking in their area. And, I, too, take pictures of bear poop. Also wolf poop, coyote poop, unidentified poop… .

Thank you for sharing.

After hiking the little bit of the Wapiti Lake trail we want to hike more. Our main problem is that we are currently limited to primarily day hiking. If I remember correctly I think it is almost 14 miles one way to Wapiti Lake.
 

wsp_scott

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.
Joined
May 16, 2016
Messages
907
We really enjoyed Norris Basin, and I enjoyed the hike to Cascade Lake (and up to Observation Peak).

Glad we did not see any hornets on our trip :)
 
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