Yellowstone Lake - A Two Week Paddle Trip - July 28, 2019

scatman

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This report is on a two-week canoe trip on Yellowstone Lake with my daughter, Katie, that began on 7/28/19 and ended on 8/10/19. The paddle trip started at the boat dock at Grant Village and ended on the sunny beach of Sedge Bay two weeks later where my wife generously agreed to come pick us up.

The two-week trip consisted of ten paddle days along with five-day hikes. Originally, I had requested campsites, and number of nights at the same campsite, that would accommodate the day hikes, so that we wouldn’t have to paddle and do a day hike all in the same day. Unfortunately, on our second day, we had to do both. It was no big deal, but certainly wasn’t optimal from my perspective.

Another issue that arose when I received the unofficial permit, was that I didn’t get all the campsites along the lake that I requested. I had originally spaced the campsites out fairly evenly in terms of mileage, so that we would be paddling seven to eight miles a day. Unfortunately, again, since the Park Service didn’t grant our original request for campsites, we had a few longer paddle days and a few really short ones.

And now, a bit about the lake: The NPS website says that Yellowstone Lake at 7,733 feet is the largest, high elevation lake in North America. The lake is approximately 20 miles long and 14 miles wide with 141 miles of shoreline. Water temperature of the lake averages around 41°F, so swimming is not recommended. According to the NPS, Yellowstone Lake also holds the largest population of wild cutthroat trout, though the illegal introduction of non-native lake trout is threatening that population. My thoughts on the lake were that it seemed and acted like a large lake. Normally, the lake is relatively calm in the morning hours, with increasing choppiness as one heads into late morning and early afternoon. Later in the afternoon, the lake would see its first whitecaps and would stay agitated until seven or eight in the evening. Of course some days didn’t follow this pattern at all. On one day, the lake remained relatively calm all day while another was very choppy from the get go. But generally speaking, morning is when you wanted to be paddling. Also of note, the lake can change conditions very quickly – from calm to choppy to whitecaps in what seemed like a heartbeat. Due to the potential sudden changes in conditions, we tended to paddle close to the shoreline in case we needed to beach the canoe at a moment’s notice. The Yellowstone Lake’s shoreline varied along our route, from nice sandy beaches to rocky ones. At times, there were long stretches of cliffs, narrow beaches with downfall and driftwood that would keep one from landing there if lake conditions turned rough.

Now some thoughts on this write-up: This will be a long report. I decided to write just one trip report, broken up into days. I took over 1800 pictures on this trip, and going through them all and deciding what to use in this report was time consuming. Also, I found that a majority of my shots from the canoe didn’t translate well to final images. The shots seemed more impressive while out on the lake than on my laptop screen for some reason. I didn’t take many pictures when the lake became choppy as I had to concentrate on paddling and coordinating Katie’s paddling with my own. So in this report, you’ll get quite a few shoreline shots and pictures of my daughter’s back since she was manning the front of the canoe the entire trip.

Well, I hope it doesn’t end up being too long for most of you and now let’s get this thing started.

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Trip Overview Map
Yellow Triangles - Campsites we had reserved along the lake
Green Triangles - Other campsites along the lake
Brown Lines - Day hikes

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Overview Imagery


Day 1 - West Thumb Boat Dock to campsite 7L1 (7.5 miles) - We stayed at Grant Village Campground our first night in the Park and I had brought a second tent to use just for car camping so that I wouldn’t have to pack and unpack our dry bags that were heading into the backcountry with us. This turned out to be a mistake as it poured rain on us through the night and the tent was soaking wet come morning time. We then had to take the time to dry the tent off since it was going to be put back in my car for the two weeks we were on the lake. This caused us to get a later start than what we had originally hoped for. After driving down to the boat docks, unloading the canoe and our gear, we finally set off at 10:00 am. The lake was already a wee bit choppy when we pushed off, but the conditions remained manageable for the first hour. After that, the lake gradually grew rougher, the wind picked way up and eventually we had to beach the canoe and wait for calmer conditions to prevail. So we ended up landing just north of the Solution Creek outlet and waited seven hours for the lake to reach a state where we felt comfortable paddling again. This occurred just after 6:30 in the evening, and we were back paddling towards campsite 7L1. We arrived at camp, just before eight o’clock and were pleasantly surprised to have seven deer (including two fawns) keep us company as we unloaded the canoe and set up camp. As the sun set and we retired to our tent, we heard an elk bugle off in the direction of our next night’s campsite. We ended up hearing elk bugling everyday of our trip. It was good to be back in Yellowstone.

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Day 1 Map Overview

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Ready for an adventure. At the Grant Village boat docks

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Getting choppy in the channel

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Forced to beach

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Rough seas

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A deer came to visit us as we waited for the lake to calm down

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View along the shore looking north

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Wildflowers (Lanceleaf Stonecrop) up on the bluff

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The wait for calmer water continues

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Heading towards campsite 7L1

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We made it! :thumbsup:

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View from 7L1




Day 2 - Campsite 7L1 to campsite 7L2 (1.4 miles) + Day Hike to Delusion Lake (3.0 miles RT) - Day two turned out to be one of our extremely short days on the paddle side of things, but that left us time to complete a day hike to the east shore of Delusion Lake. We made quick work of paddling to campsite 7L2, and after setting up camp we headed off to Delusion Lake. I’d hiked to west end of Delusion Lake back in 2015, but this time I wanted to visit the eastern shore of the lake to see what it was like. The route to Delusion was through old burn so it was slow going at times with a lot of downfall to negotiate. On our way to the lake, we ran into two elk who had to have been wondering what we were doing back in there. Once at the lake, we had excellent views of Flat Mountain and Mount Sheridan to the south and southeast. We proceeded to eat our lunch and enjoy the view before heading back to camp. We got back to our tent just in time as it began to rain. This campsite was another good place for deer to graze and we saw four of them (two of which were fawns).

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Day 2 Map Overview

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Our tent

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Canoe loaded and ready to go

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Campsite 7L2

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Lots of driftwood on the beach

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Tent location at 7L2 - kind of exposed

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The way to Delusion Lake

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Starting out to Delusion Lake

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Plenty of fallen snags to step over

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The way ahead. Now this is hiking! :)

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Eastern shore of Delusion Lake

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Flat Mountain - viewed from Delusion Lake

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Mount Sheridan - viewed from Delusion Lake


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Chillin' at Delusion

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Returning to camp

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Lots of food for two weeks - bear pole at campsite 7L2

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Official trip permit




Day 3 - Campsite 7L2 to campsite 7L9 (15.3 miles) - Before our trip started, I knew this would be one of our most challenging paddle days. Not only was the mileage the most we would encounter on our trip, but the waves and wind would be working against us too. Campsite 7L9 is located on the south shore of Flat Mountain Arm and we would have to paddle down the entire length of the northern shore of the arm and then head back east along the southern shore to our campsite. The lake was just too unpredictable on this day to paddle straight across the arm to reach our camp. While we saw at least one Bald Eagle on every day we paddled, this day was our most productive as we spotted seven of them in trees or shrubs along the shore.

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Day 3 Map Overview

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A deer at 7L2

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A break at campsite 7L6. Flat Mountain (our destination for the day) in the distance

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Entering Flat Mountain Arm

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Looking west at the end of Flat Mountain Arm

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Katie is out of gas when we arrived at 7L9


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Campsite 7L9

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A nice tent spot on the beach




Day 4 – Day Hike along Flat Mountain Arm Creek (6 miles RT) - This day hike required a two mile paddle back west along the southern shore of Flat Mountain Arm for approximately two miles to the meadows along Flat Mountain Arm Creek. Once we began our hike, we ran into signs that were posted that warned us that the Interagency Grizzly Bear Team were trapping Grizzly Bears in the area and to be sure and obey all closure and warning signs. We eventually ran into the closure signs and could make out a culvert trap up in the trees. I was awfully tempted to go check it out, but my daughter sent me on a guilt trip which dampened my curiosity.

We continued along the creek and through the meadows. We encountered many marshy areas along our route and wet feet were the norm for the day. The wildflowers were in full bloom through the meadows and we stopped and had lunch amongst them. After lunch, we continued on until we reached the end of the meadows, where we turned around and headed back the way we had come. It was still tempting on our way back to check out that culvert trap, but I resisted. Once we reached the canoe, we paddled back to camp for dinner. At night, we heard wolves howling which we thoroughly enjoyed.

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Day 4 Map Overview

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We made it to the western shore of Flat Mountain Arm

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And what do we have here? Interesting.

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Even more interesting :thinking:

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Hard to make it out, but there is a culvert trap in the trees

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Heading through marshy meadows along Flat Mountain Arm Creek

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Katie saved our bacon by finding my GPS unit. Damn kilt false pocket! :D

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What I call Flat Mountain Arm Creek

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More downfall to contend with

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Beautiful meadows

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Meadows along the creek

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More meadows with the northern ridge of Flat Mountain in the distance

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Scat yoga :)

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BCP greeting

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Approaching our turn around point at the end of the meadows. Mosquitoes were hellacious here

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Flat Mountain


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A frog

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Ready for a good night's sleep



Day 5 - Campsite 7L9 to campsite 7M9 (10.4 miles) - Not too bad of a paddle day on day five. The lake remained calm up until about two o’clock in the afternoon and we made good time as we left Flat Mountain Arm and turned down into the South Arm of Yellowstone Lake.

Around 2:00 pm the wind picked up and the lake became extremely rough with some three-foot waves washing against the shore. I was glad we didn’t have to deal with it and hoped it would calm down by the next morning.

Periodically throughout the day we could hear the prehistoric calls of Sandhill Cranes that sounded as if they were reasonably close though we could never see them.

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Day 5 Map Overview

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Like glass on Flat Mountain Arm

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Bald Eagle - We had lots of these encounters

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Another Bald Eagle

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Now that boy can handle a paddle. :)

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Campsite 7M9

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Time to unload the canoe

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The Promontory to the east across the South Arm of Yellowstone Lake

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Looking north, straight up the South Arm

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The lake isn't a happy camper


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I'm really hoping this calms down soon

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Dinner at 7M9




Day 6 - Campsite 7M9 to campsite 5L5 (14.5 miles) - Another worrisome day for me as we had two long paddle days back-to-back (our only one of the trip) and I wasn’t sure if Katie would hold out, but it turned out I was worried for nothing as she did splendidly. Day’s six paddle would take us to the southern end of the South Arm and past Pearle Island which has a patrol cabin located on it. We’d then turn north along the Promontory until we reached camp. We paddled by many loons on this day and they let us know of their displeasure of us as we passed by them.

Since the Promontory burned a few years back, the Park Service has installed bear boxes at the affected campsites since the bear poles had burned up.

As we arrived at our campsite, we quickly noticed that there were only two trees that offered us shade of any kind of relief from the sun. So, we ended up setting up our tent by one and we used the other to shade our lounge chairs throughout the day.

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Day 6 Map Overview

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Sunrise on the South Arm of Yellowstone Lake

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Yellowstone Lake shoreline

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Park Service canoes

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Mount Schurz and Mount Humphreys

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Peale Island - if you look closely, you can see the patrol cabin on the right side of the image

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Loons with Mount Sheridan in the distance

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Beautiful paddle day. Heading north along the west side of the Promontory

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Campsite 5L5

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Campsite 5L5 on the Promontory as viewed from the food area

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Another beach location for our tent

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The Ghost Forest - view to the east from our tent

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Shoreline along the Promontory


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Interesting patterns on the burnt trees in the area

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Sunset on the Promontory



Day 7 - Day Hike to Alder Lake (3.0 miles RT) - While today’s hike was short, it was difficult. Off-trailing through what I was now referring to as “The Ghost Forest”, the hike started out rather nicely, but quickly turned into extremely slow progress due to all the downfall. Eventually, we broke out of the trees into a small meadow with Alder Lake to the south of us. As we made our way to the lake, we disturbed a couple of Sandhill Cranes that took off as we approached.

On our way back from the lake, I decided to head to the outlet of Alder Lake instead of gong back the way we had come. This turned out to be a mistake, and it took us twice as long to get back to camp and I was worn out when we arrived.

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Day 7 Map Overview

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Flat Moutain to the west, looking across the South Arm

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Bear box and eating area at campsite 5L5

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Heading into the Ghost Forest on our way to Alder Lake

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Our route to the lake

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Testing out my balancing skills. They aren't any good. :)

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Alder Lake through the snags

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Katie, making her way through the meadow north of Alder Lake

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Alder Lake

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Alder Lake

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Paintbrush and Fireweed at the lake

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Heading back to camp by a different route. The outlet of Alder Lake

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Oh, for the love of Pete.

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At last something manageable

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A shot for the next BCP Calendar. Anybody in the area may want to wait a few weeks before drinking the
lake water in this vicinity. :D




Day 8 - Campsite 5L5 to campsite 6A2 (13.5 miles) - Day eight’s paddle would take us north along the west side of the Promontory, around the northern point of the Promontory, and then back down the east side on the Southeast Arm of Yellowstone Lake. Going around the northern point of the Promontory was tricky, but once past that all we had to deal with was a slight headwind. We paddled past Mollies Island in the southeast corner of the Southeast Arm where pelicans nest. After setting up camp at site 6A2, we hiked about .5 miles to the Trail Creek Trail and back.

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Day 8 Overview Map

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The Promontory

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Canadian Geese on the shore

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The Promontory

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Another image of the Promontory

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The Promontory (east side)

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A look north across Yellowstone Lake

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Can you make out Molly Islands? There is a colony of nesting Pelicans on these islands. You're not allowed
to paddle within a half mile of the islands.

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Campsite 6A2

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A look across the Southeast Arm at Langford Cairn, a future day hike.

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Reading a novel.

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Pit toilet is that way

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The cove next to our campsite and Two Ocean Plateau in the distance

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Good shot of the peninsula that campsite 6A2 resides, taken from the trail to the pit toilet

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Sulfur Buckwheat


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Heading out from our camp to the Trail Creek Trail. Looks like storm clouds are approaching. Looking
north along the cove.

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Almost to the Trail Creek Trail




Day 9 - Campsite 6A2 to campsite 6A3 (1.4 miles) - Having to go less than two miles today meant that we got to sleep in for a change. We had a nasty thunderstorm roll over us in the night. You know the kind where you see a flash and get an immediate boom. As I mentioned at the beginning of this report, I hadn’t requested 6A2 but it was what we ended up with which left us with the very short paddle to 6A3. It turned out that the long paddle the previous day worked in our favor. After finishing breakfast, we were taking down our tent about 10:30 in the morning, when we heard a big splash! Now 6A2 is located on a small peninsula between a cove to the south and Yellowstone Lake to the north. Many waterfowl (ducks, geese and pelicans) had been landing in the cove, so we had gotten use to hearing splashes as they touched down on the water. But this splash seemed larger. My daughter even said, “That sounded like a big splash!” I agreed with her and tried to peer around the trees between our tent and the food area to see if I could see the channel between the cove and the lake. I couldn’t quite see the channel from where I stood, so I started to go back to breaking our tent down. Well, about two seconds later a Grizzly Bear walked from a row of trees just to the west of us and walked right by us. Not fifteen feet to the north of us, it passed us and continued up the trail that leads to the pit toilet. It acted as if it didn’t know that we were there. It paid no attention to our presence. I was at once exhilarated and terrified at the same time. Neither my daughter or I even reached for our bear spray cans, which were located in our front pockets. You could clearly see the Grizzly’s claws and foot pads as he walked past us and on up the bluff towards the pit toilet. This was a good-looking bear too – dark, grizzled and wet. Apparently, it had been following the shoreline and swam the channel just before passing by us. I looked at Katie and said, “There is your bear, and a Grizzly to boot.” Katie had mentioned to me a week or two before we left on this trip that she had never seen a bear in the backcountry and I’ve been taking her into the Yellowstone backcountry since she was four years old. I told her how lucky she was that she got to observe a Grizzly Bear from such a close distance and that most people, even those in the backcountry never have the opportunity to see one let alone up close and personal. Wow! What an experience. What a magnificent animal. I did notice as the bear went by, other than the splash when it entered the channel, is that it did not make a sound. If we had had our backs to it, we would have never known it was there. I found this to be a bit eerie and thought often about it for the rest of our trip.

Well, we were fired up for the rest of the day and the encounter was easily the highlight of our trip.

It took us about twenty minutes to paddle to 6A3, where there again were deer grazing just off the shore near the campsite sign. After going ashore and setting up our camp, we hiked down to the Trail Creek Patrol Cabin to see if a ranger was present. No one was there, but we returned after dinner and found the cabin occupied. We chatted with the ranger and told him about our Grizzly encounter from earlier in the morning. He told us that he was heading out of the backcountry the next day and wished us luck on the rest of our trip. We returned to camp, looking forward to our day hike along the Two Ocean Plateau Trail the next day.

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Day 9 Map Overview

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Bear box, cove and channel, viewed from the eating area

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Route of Grizzly Bear through our campsite as we were taking down our tent after breakfast

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Where we first saw the Grizzly.

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Looks like she is ready to push off

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Two Ocean Plateau

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Campsite 6A3

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Trail Creek Patrol Cabin in the distance - viewed from our tent location

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Looking east from campsite 6A3 up Beaverdam Creek Drainage

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Trail Creek Patrol Cabin

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Trail Creek Patrol Cabin

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Out building at the Trail Creek Patrol Cabin

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Colter Peak and Turret Mountain (far right of imagery)

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Deer passing through camp




Day 10 - Day Hike along the Two Ocean Plateau Trail and Chipmunk Creek (11.2 miles RT) - The Two Ocean Plateau Trail is one of the few trails in Yellowstone that I have not hiked or backpacked on, so I was looking forward to this hike. Also, this would be my first long hike since my sports hernia surgery and I was looking forward to see how I held up, as this would be my warm up hike for the Mary Mountain Trail hike (20 miles) that we would be doing the day after our canoe trip.

We started off around nine in the morning on what turned out to be a very hot day – easily the hottest of the trip so far. We first had to make our way from our campsite to the Trail Creek Trail, the intersection of which is not far from the Trail Creek Patrol Cabin. We hiked west for approximately 1.5 miles until we reached the intersection with the Two Ocean Plateau Trail. The Two Ocean Plateau Trail essentially runs south, eventually hooking up with and following Chipmunk Creek. If you take the trail all the way south, you’ll end up at the South Boundary Trail. We found the trail difficult to follow at times as it made its way through willows. This trail heads through some wild country. It appeared to be excellent moose habitat, but we never saw one. We did see a few more deer though and we ran across some beaver dams on Chipmunk Creek. Speaking of Chipmunk Creek, on one of our crossings, I sat down to take my shoes off and ended up sitting in an ant’s nest. They swarmed quickly, biting as they went. One of the cons of wearing a kilt I guess. It was one of the more interesting creek crossing I’ve ever had to deal with. At roughly the 5.5 mile mark we stopped and had lunch before retracing our steps back to camp.

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Day 10 Overview Map

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Old mileage sign

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New mileage sign

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Mileage sign

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Making our way along the Trail Creek Trail at this point

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Old flush trail marker

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Lily pad covered pond

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Our trail intersection for the Two Ocean Plateau Trail

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Oh boy, Willows!

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Monkshood

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Meadows on the west side of Two Ocean Plateau

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Western Fringe Gentian

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Sego Lily

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First look at Chipmunk Creek

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Harebells

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Pleated Gentian (?) Not sure on this one

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Chipmunk Creek

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The mighty ford of Chipmunk Creek

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Willows along Chipmunk Creek

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Beaver dam on Chipmunk Creek

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Trail sign

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Looks like good moose country to me

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A couple of Grouse along the trail

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Rescue me! I hope this is the trail.

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Nasty crossing due to biting ants. :)

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Looking slightly northeast towards Langford Cairn

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Back at camp

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A great late afternoon view

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Campsite 6A3




Day 11 - Campsite 6A3 to campsite 5E3 (5.8 miles) - The highlight of today’s paddle was the Yellowstone River Delta. We found out that the delta has many shallow spots and had to be careful not to run aground while passing by. Once we arrived at our campsite, we did a couple mile hike north on the Nine Mile Trail that runs along the eastern side of Yellowstone Lake.

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Day 11 Overview Map

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Time to head out from campsite 6A3

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Willows along the Yellowstone River Delta

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Paddling through the Yellowstone River Delta with Two Ocean Plateau in the distance

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Langford Cairn dead ahead

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Looking north towards Terrace Point

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Passing by campsite 5E2

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Made it to campsite 5E3 with the Promontory to the west across the Southeast Arm

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Ditto

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Looks like this boat didn't make it.

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Looking south along the Southeast Arm shoreline in the evening sun

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View to the west with clouds and sunlight




Day 12 - Day Hike to Lainford Cairn (5.5 miles RT) - The hike up Laingford Cairn starts out on the Nine Mile Trail and then is off-trail to the top. Once we exited the trees along the lake, we made our way up the ridge. There was one nasty, steep ravine we had to make our way through on the way up, so when it was time to come back down we chose a different route to avoid that ravine.

The views from the top were tremendous. To the south you can see the Yellowstone River Delta and down into the Thorofare. To the east, a wonderful view up the Beaverdam Creek Drainage with views of Mount Shurz, Mount Humphreys and Eagle Peak. To the west, we could almost make out our entire route, though our starting point at Grant Village on West Thumb was out of view. This hike is well worth your time IMO if ever you are in the area.

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Day 12 Map Overview

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Heading south along Nine Mile Trail

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Looking west across the lake

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Time to leave the trail

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I can't believe you took me this way!

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Aargh!

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Making my way up the ridge after the nasty ravine

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Katie on her way up the ridge

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Almost there!

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Bad sun angle, but this shot is looking south down into the Thorofare


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Looking west at Mount Sheridan

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The Yellowstone River Delta and Two Ocean Plateau


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A view up the Beaverdam Creek Drainage

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On top of Langford Cairn

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The rock face of Langford Cairn

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This Bumblebee liked me for some reason

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We got hailed on back at camp.




Day 13 - Campsite 5E3 to campsite 5E6 (4.5 miles) - An easy day today, after paddling to camp, we hiked south to Columbine Creek. Other than that, it was a take it easy day for the rest of the evening.

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Day 13 Overview Map

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Katie found this unopened can of Pako's floating in the lake just before we shoved off from 5E3

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Made it to 5E6

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Our tent at campsite 5E6

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Another look at the Promontory across the way

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Waiting out some rain

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Columbine Creek

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Nine Mile Trail

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Pit toilet at 5E6

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Shoreline shot

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Interesting clouds over the Promontory




Day 14 - Campsite 5E6 to Sedge Bay (9.8 miles) - We went to bed with a calm lake and starry skies, but I woke up to lightning flashes around 3:00 am. I got out of the tent to check on the situation and saw that we still had stars above us, but to the northeast thunderstorms were raging and of course the lake was no longer calm at this point. I went back to bed and woke up to Katie’s alarm at 5:20. It was raining. We broke down the tent, packed our gear and ate our breakfast in the rain. Once we started loading the canoe the rain stopped but the lake was still a bit choppy. We shoved off a little after seven and as we approached Signal Point things got hairy. The shoreline along Signal Point is cliffy and there is no place to land your canoe, and the waves bash against the bottom of the cliffs with tremendous force. The lake was getting extremely choppy and a few small whitecaps were appearing and I’m thinking to myself “Shit!” This is what I refer to as Butt Pucker Moments. We were able to ride it out with some powerful paddling, but it was mentally and physically taxing. Once we got beyond Park Point, to the north of Signal Point, the lake calmed down and it was smooth sailing all the way to Sedge Bay.

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Day 14 Map Overview

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A quick break along the shore on our way out - Sedge Bay in the distance to the north

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Barely make out the Tetons to the southwest

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Mission accomplished!:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup: Katie just looks overjoyed doesn't she?

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Sedge Bay

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The cavalry has arrived

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Peace baby!

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Heading out for the Grant Village Campground



Well that about sums it up. We did see other people on three of the fourteen days that we were on the lake. On day five, we passed five kayakers doing our trip in reverse. On day nine, we saw the ranger at Trail Creek Patrol Cabin and on day thirteen, five backpackers stopped by our campsite to refill their water bottles. So not too bad in the people department. As for wildlife, here is a list of what we encountered over the two weeks:


Bald Eagles – 28
Golden Eagles – 4
Hawks – 4
Falcons - 1
Loons – 7
Pelicans – 78
Ducks – uncountable multitudes
Sandhill Cranes – 6 (heard many more)
Osprey – 2
Grouse – 12
Blue Heron – 2
Canadian Geese - uncountable multitudes
Deer – 21
Elk – 2 (heard many more – one barked at our tent on night 5)
Grizzly Bears – 1
Rabbits – 1
Weasels – 2
Otters – 1
Voles – 4
Mice – 2
Frogs – 6
Squirrels – a lot
Chipmunks - uncountable multitudes
Wolves – heard howling on two separate nights


I’m usually lucky enough to see or hear an owl when I’m in the backcountry in Yellowstone, but oddly that didn’t happen on our entire trip this time. No moose once again either. The ranger had told us that there was a bull that tended to hang out in the marshy area along the Trail Creek Trail just southeast of the patrol cabin, but we paddled by that area on our way to 5E3 and didn’t see it. Of course, the Grizzly was the highlight of the trip for me, and I think my daughter as well.

Total mileage for the trip turned out to be 93 miles paddled and approximately 33 hiking.

Overall a great trip and highly recommended.


The End.
 

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That is an awesome trip. Alder Lake day hike looked pretty rough. Thats great wildlife sightings as well.
 
Awesome trip, awesome report!

I appreciate the time you put into making the maps as well as the details.

The bear encounter sounds amazing
 
Doesn't get too much better than that! May have to take a paddle on that lake someday, it's a great place.

I wish I would find floating beers in cold lakes, but i guess a guy can't have everything...
 
Top notch TR @scatman - thanks for taking the time to share the trip with us. It's surreal, that you both watched a Grizzly walk so close by you and straight through camp, pretending you were not even there! Did you notice any tags on it? We can assume, it wasn't a Grizzly trapped 18 times.

What did Katie think about the trip?
By the way, nice trying to point out the bumblebee in a photo, but that's a pretty showy kilt photo for the BCP calendar. :D
 
Some thoughts/questions:

1. Glad to see someone's keeping the BCP salute tradition going.
2. Did you actually count all those pelicans?
3. The grizz encounter: were you wearing the kilt? If so, it might explain its haste (and stealth).
4. Did you drink the IPA?
5. No near-death bog monsters dragging you under?
6. Ant 1: It's a Scottish invasion!!
Ant 2: Bite, mates, bite!
 
That is an awesome trip. Alder Lake day hike looked pretty rough. Thats great wildlife sightings as well.

Yeah, Alder Lake was a tough one. Normally, you can find some logs to walk across through all the downfall, but on our way back to camp via the outlet route it seemed like all the fallen trees had limbs on them which meant we couldn't use them to make our way along and we had to break branches off to step over them. Returning to our campsite wore me out.
 
Awesome trip, awesome report!

I appreciate the time you put into making the maps as well as the details.

The bear encounter sounds amazing

Thanks wsp_scott. I enjoy making the maps and really love maps in general. The bear encounter will definitely go down as one of my best backcountry experiences that I have had. I'm also thankful it paid us no mind.
 
Doesn't get too much better than that! May have to take a paddle on that lake someday, it's a great place.

I wish I would find floating beers in cold lakes, but i guess a guy can't have everything...

Definitely a trip to schedule for a future trip. If you need a canoe, I know someone who has one - two actually. :) I couldn't believe she found that beer. At first when she picked it out of the water. I thought it was an empty can.
 
Top notch TR @scatman - thanks for taking the time to share the trip with us. It's surreal, that you both watched a Grizzly walk so close by you and straight through camp, pretending you were not even there! Did you notice any tags on it? We can assume, it wasn't a Grizzly trapped 18 times.

What did Katie think about the trip?
By the way, nice trying to point out the bumblebee in a photo, but that's a pretty showy kilt photo for the BCP calendar. :D


There were no tags or collars on this bear. Pristine still! I'm guessing if it had been trapped 18 times, I wouldn't be here to tell the story. Though I do wish that I'd gone up and checked out the culvert trap we saw just off Flat Mountain Arm on day four.

Good eye on the kilt. I don't even notice stuff like that anymore. When I first started wearing kilts, I was a little self conscious when I'd sit down in front of people, but I quickly got over that. :eek: The kilt in the picture actually has a snap between the legs so that you don't reveal too much when sitting. The problem is, with any movement it comes unsnapped. So it is essentially worthless.

Here is some more BCP Calendar fodder for you.

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Scratched up legs after the Alder Lake hike. Hey notice the Merrells? This is the same pair that I wore
two years ago on the Theodore Solomon's Trail in the Sierras with my son. This pair has almost no tread
left on them. I brought a brand spanking new pair with me, but I never wore them on the canoe trip,
just made do with this worn out pair. I did use the new pair on the Mary Mountain Trail hike the day
after we finished our canoe trip.


81580
I should have worn my hiking pants on his one.

Katie had a great time. She was worn out after our 15.3 mile paddle to Flat Mountain Arm, and the last day was a struggle for her with the waves around Signal Point. She did mention to me that she enjoyed the hiking more than the paddling.
 
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Some thoughts/questions:

1. Glad to see someone's keeping the BCP salute tradition going.
2. Did you actually count all those pelicans?
3. The grizz encounter: were you wearing the kilt? If so, it might explain its haste (and stealth).
4. Did you drink the IPA?
5. No near-death bog monsters dragging you under?
6. Ant 1: It's a Scottish invasion!!
Ant 2: Bite, mates, bite!

@Rockskipper, you make me laugh! Okay, here are the answers to your thoughts/questions

1. I need a picture of you returning the salute.

2. Yes, that pelican count is almost accurate. Katie keeps a journal and she recorded all of our animal sightings in it each evening. The count does include pelicans on Molly Islands that we peeked at with binoculars. I counted 31 on the islands, but I could have missed a couple in my count. Other than our last day, we saw pelicans everyday. At 6A2 where we saw the bear, pelicans would fly in low along the channel between the lake and the cove before landing in the cove. They were a lot of fun to watch. We also saw a vole at this campsite come out of his hole to get Lupine to drag back down into his tunnel. 6A2 turned out to be a very active campsite.

81581
Vole in action.

3. I was not wearing my kilt since it was a paddle day. My standard paddling attire consisted of a long sleeved white shirt, hiking pants and water shoes.

4. No, I did not drink the IPA. I meant to drink it at Sedge Bay when we were done, but I forgot. Then I thought I'd take it on the Mary Mountain Hike and drink it at the end if I made it that far, but once again, I forgot to pack it in my day pack for the hike. It now resides in my frig. You'll probably have to periodically send me a reminder to drink it. I'm a porter and stout kind of guy, not too fond of the IPA's.

81582

5. No bog monsters, but the day hike along the meadows at the end of Flat Mountain Arm had some marshy portions.

6. Scottish Ants! I should have known. Bastards! Next time when I sit down to take my shoes off for a ford, I'll make sure that they are Irish Ants that I'm going to sit in. :D
 
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"Oh, for the love of Pete". ........from your Alder Lake hike. You have a well earned reputation for taking questionable routes but you have grown to appreciate and acknowledge the absurdity of the situations you find yourself in.
 
Wow. Incredible trip and an equally great trip report. And it's soooo wonderful that you get out with your daughter! She'll never forget the experience.

When I saw all those photos of downed trees I thought two things : (1) glad it's not me hiking there and (2) must've been interesting doing so in a kilt!

I imagine that you now have a healthy respect for ants, as do I. Earlier this year Blake and I were out at an arch site. He turned around to find me standing there with my pants down to my ankles. An ant had crawled up to the back of my thigh. I had a welt for 3 days! I now circumvent all ant hills, regardless of size.

Lastly, I really liked the photo of the patterned, burnt tree.
 
Awesome!! You always have the best Yellowstone trips!!!
Love it!!! I'm surprised that one campsite had both bear poles and a bear box. On my backcountry hikes, I always go and visit the campsites and look at them. Mist have only bear poles.
 
"Oh, for the love of Pete". ........from your Alder Lake hike. You have a well earned reputation for taking questionable routes but you have grown to appreciate and acknowledge the absurdity of the situations you find yourself in.

I have no problem poking fun at myself. :)
 
Wow. Incredible trip and an equally great trip report. And it's soooo wonderful that you get out with your daughter! She'll never forget the experience.

When I saw all those photos of downed trees I thought two things : (1) glad it's not me hiking there and (2) must've been interesting doing so in a kilt!

I imagine that you now have a healthy respect for ants, as do I. Earlier this year Blake and I were out at an arch site. He turned around to find me standing there with my pants down to my ankles. An ant had crawled up to the back of my thigh. I had a welt for 3 days! I now circumvent all ant hills, regardless of size.

Lastly, I really liked the photo of the patterned, burnt tree.

I'm hoping it will someday inspire my daughter to take her kid(s) into the Yellowstone backcountry.

I really should have worn my hiking pants instead of the kilt. From our tent though, the downfall din't look too bad.

I didn't notice the ants until I was already sitting and untying my shoes, but by then it was too late.
 
Awesome!! You always have the best Yellowstone trips!!!
Love it!!! I'm surprised that one campsite had both bear poles and a bear box. On my backcountry hikes, I always go and visit the campsites and look at them. Mist have only bear poles.

The reason the campsite has both the box and the bear pole is that a fire came through that area and one of the trees holding up the pole is dead. So when that tree falls, the bear pole will come down with it. Plus there are no large, living trees to put up a new pole.
 
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