Yellowstone - June 05'

Jan 23, 2012
Since the banner at the top has been calling for some old trip reports. I figured I'd throw one in from 2005. I apologize ahead of time for the font issues.

In June of 2005 a few buddies and I went on our yearly pilgrimage to Yellowstone. This time we had decided to turn it into a Yellowstone/Jackson Hole double header. For this trip we opted to stay in West Yellowstone and not camp in the park. Following our tradition we stayed at the Pony Express Motel. I mentioned this in a previous report from 06'. If you’re a must have pool/hot tub guy or gal then you could stay at the neighbor motel the Brandin Iron Inn it’s affiliated with the Pony Express. The Pony Express looks like a dive on the outside but it's clean, inexpensive for West Yellowstone and it's a block from the bar (for the drinkers on here) & what I think is the best pizza in town. The Wild West Pizzeria & Saloon. They renovated this place a few years back and it's very nice now for West Yellowstone standards anyway. It has pool tables and video poker (gambling is legal in Montana) and wouldn’t you know it greeting you behind the bar a big poster of Johnny Cash flipping the bird. The plan was to leave Salt Lake around 4:30 a.m. On our way up we took a side trip through Grace Idaho to visit the grave of our good friend who had passed away a few years prior from injuries sustained in a fall while hiking. We arrived in West Yellowstone around noon. Since check-in wasn't until 3 p.m., we decided to head north and see Earthquake Lake.

For those that don't know in 1959 a 7.4 earthquake shook the area and caused a whole mountain side to slide into the Madison River blocking its flow. It had so much force that it went halfway up the other side of the canyon. It quake also created huge cracks and other landslides, some of which carried cabins into Hebgen Lake. This lake is a decent sized lake about 10 miles out of West Yellowstone. There is a visitor center at the slide site that tells about the quake and has a working seismograph in it. You can’t help but wonder what it must have looked like when it happened. Then again it was at night, so maybe just have felt the power of it.

A cabin that was destroyed by the quake.

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Earthquake Lake
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You can see the landslide in the background
On top of the slide
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After we went to Earthquake Lake we went back to town, checked in and headed into the park to do some drive by tourism for a few hours. The next day we had planned on hiking into 3 locations the first was Grizzly Lake. On our way to the trailhead we took some random shots.

Gibbon Falls
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Roaring Mountain
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After these quick pics we arrived at the trailhead. We had always wondered why they called it Grizzly Lake, but the name intrigued us so we thought we’d check it out.
You first have to cross this meadow then up the hill behind me.
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A view from the trail
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Upon cresting the hill we found the answer to maybe why they call it Grizzly Lake. There was a grizzly track that was a few days old and a piece of hair. It gave us the chills even though it was old.

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Shortly after we spotted the track we arrived at Grizzly Lake. As you can see this area was hit hard by the fires of 1988.
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Grizzly Lake with Mt. Holmes in the background.
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On our way back to the trailhead we spotted many small frogs all around us in the meadow. I snapped a photo, but it didn’t turn out. :(

Our second hike of the day was a short hike to Trout Lake in the Lamar Valley area. On the way there we stopped a few times for some photos.

A runoff swollen Lamar River
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As we entered the valley we saw this big bull and these pronghorn.

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A view of the valley
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The trail to Trout Lake is a 1.2 mile round trip hike up a fairly steep hill to the lake.
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A look at the Absarokas from the trail
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After we finished our short hike it was on to our third hike of the day Hellroaring Creek. On the way there we spotted what we thought was a wolf, but to our disappointment it was a coyote.
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To reach Hellroaring Creek you follow the Yellowstone River Trail. The trail immediately goes down hill all the way to a suspension bridge that crosses the Yellowstone river. It’s a pretty cool feeling standing on it when the river is in runoff mode. Unfortunately I didn’t get a pic of it. After the bridge it’s pretty flat until you reach Hellroaring Creek.
A view of the Yellowstone River from the trail.
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A view of the sage brush flats
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Hellroaring Creek
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After our hike it was getting pretty late in the day so we hauled ass back to West Yellowstone for some relaxation, pizza and beer.

The next morning we decided to drive around and look for animals and sight see instead of going on any major hikes. We started on the west side of the park and headed north to Mammoth to see the mammoth terraces. In 2011, when I last went, the terraces were all but dried up.

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After Mammoth we headed towards the Tower area and we saw this black bear, the only bear on this trip
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After about 30 min of taking pics we headed over Dunraven Pass to Canyon. We stopped for lunch, a beer and we checked out area.
The Yellowstone River
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The Falls
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We then headed south to the Mud Volcano and Lake areas
Mud Volcano
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A pelican on the Yellowstone River
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The outlet of Yellowstone Lake with Mt. Sheridan in the background
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At this point it was past midday so we headed towards Old Faithful and the other geyser basin areas. We first visited the Old Faithful area because one of my buddies had never been before.

A colorful pool
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A unique puzzle type formation
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Castle Geyser (not erupting)
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Old Faithful
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After this we headed to Biscuit Basin and walked to Mystic Falls
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A marmot taking in the warmth of the sun by the falls
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After we saw the falls we noticed some movement and spotted this coyote next to the creek
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A few Bison hanging out next to the trail by the trailhead
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After another long day of animal spotting and sight seeing we went back to town and closed the bar down that night. The next morning we headed out to Jackson Hole. One of the things I love about Yellowstone is the geothermal activity. The steam plumes that the thermal features create on cold calm mornings are an awesome sight.

This was one of the more tame mornings
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We quickly pressed on towards Jackson and the Tetons. Before we got to town we headed over to Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park to burn some time
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On the way down we had debated whether we wanted to take the shuttle boat across or hike the 3 miles or so around. We chose the boat option. When we got to the other side it was up the trail to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point.

A "little" photo op first
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Hidden Falls
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A view from the point
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After we got done and rode the boat back we went to check in and then out to get some food. The choice that night was the Gun Barrel Steak House. They make an excellent bison sirloin. Then of course off to a bar we went. The rest of our time in Jackson was spent playing mini golf, alpine sliding, seeing the town and just relaxing and enjoying our vacation. All while fitting in a couple visits to the Snake River Brewing Company for some tasty beverages and snack food. We had an awesome trip even though it was a little lite on the hiking this go around. The good thing is you can never go wrong spending fun filled quality time with friends.

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Aug 9, 2007
Sweet! Quake Lake is cool. Crazy to think an earthquake could just wipe out a whole campground and all those people just like that. Wild...

BTW, you may have already, but if not, you can dismiss the message about posting up some trip reports by hovering over it and clicking the 'X' in the right corner.
Jan 23, 2012
Sweet! Quake Lake is cool. Crazy to think an earthquake could just wipe out a whole campground and all those people just like that. Wild....
I've been there 3 times and it's still hard to imagine that there's people under all that.
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