Yellowstone - Lonestar into the Upper Bechler and back

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A month or so ago, I asked if anyone wanted to join me for a leisurely trip into the Bechler. It didn't take long before I got a response from Eric and Kevin, and after a few questions, things were set. On the appointed morning we met at the Grant backcountry office and were soon on our way to the trailhead.

We were to go from the Lonestar Trailhead to a site just beyond Lonestar Geyser, then to a site at the top of the divide, then down to a site beside Albright Falls. After a layover day, we were to go back up to the second site, then have a final site just before Lonestar Geyser, again, and finally, out.

We started out next to the Firehole River. The trail's a popular dayhike, so there were plenty of people mixed in with us. There was a family that was large and hardly separated and at one point they asked us how far it was to the geyser. Someone answered a couple of miles and, well, they disappeared.

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We came to the geyser, and there were a bunch of people. A couple told us that the geyser had just gone off. This geyser usually has a first eruption that's sort of small, and then a bigger eruption. We weren't sure if this couple would know a big eruption from a small eruption, but opted to head on anyway. We had a bit more than a mile to go, and covered it relatively quickly.

20180730_200349.jpg


The campsite had a stream running through it. Across the trail was a pit toilet and a thermal area.
We set up camp, and talked, getting to know each other. In the early evening, we were joined by 2 CDT hikers. They mostly did their chores and went to sleep, but I did have a nice chat with the lady, who had hiked the AT.

The next day we got up early, hoping to get out of camp relatively early, but the flies on our tents were drenched, and we waited a bit for the sun to do its thing. Two rangers came in, and cleaned out the firering and chatted.

We ended up leaving about an hour after we had intended to leave. We hiked up to Grant Pass and the Continental Divide and turned onto the Becher River Trail. The first few miles had open woods and small meadows. Then it became steeper, and went through pine forests. Fir forests, actually. I didn't get many picture's because we were moving along. Mind you, I didn't move fast, but I didn't stop for pictures, mostly.

The climb was not horrid, but there were almost no flat sections once it started. We separated (I took my rightful place at the back). Eventually, I came upon Kevin sitting on a log, having some lunch. I picked my own log and joined him.

20180731_125157.jpg


We probably only spent 15 minutes eating and chatting and were on our way. In just a few minutes we came to a spot on the trail where Eric left us a message--writteen in littl sticks, it told us he had left that spot about half an hour before we had gotten there. We moved on, getting to the top, and beginning a mile of lititle ups and downs. It was beautiful. I referred to it as Obsidian Gardens, as there was a lot of Obsidian, and all kinds of flowers.

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I was last to make it to camp (a well developed habit of mine), but quite happy to get there. It overlooked a big meadow, and a mini canyon, from which we got our water. There were LOTS of mosquitoes.

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We set up camp. I'm thankful that Kevin watched me try to toss my bear rope over the first bear pole, and while he laughed at my attempt, he also grabbed my rope and tossed it over for me, for the rest of the trip. (I CAN toss my rope over the pole, but somrtimes it takes a number of tries.) Eric went and filled my water bag. (I must have looked mostly dead.) I got up my tent and ate and went and looked out at the meadow. It was beautiful.

20180801_071624.jpg


That night, you could hear the incessant whining of mosquitoes. I hadn't heard it that bad since the Boundary Waters.

The next day we began our descent into the upper Bechler. We first had to cross the meadow.

20180801_082508.jpg


Eric set up a camera on a tripod and got some video, that he may post here. We had to splash through the stream, then walk through the grass, and do about a hundred yards through marshy grass (thwick, thwick, thwick) before coming out on solid ground, climbing the little ridge and starting down.

For maybe a mile it was gentle, but mostly down, and then the downward trend became serious. We were in firs, and the trail had enough rocks to make you pay attention lest you slide.

I caught up to them at a campsite. There was a creek, but the bridge was out. The livestock ford was obvious. I'm (kind of) scared of the water, but this was a good place to cross. I could see the bottom, and it was all rock. The water was nearly knee deep, but I managed fine. We continued along the trail quickly coming to the turn off for Twister Falls. We headed down. I got nervous about the slope and the loose gravel and never really got a good view of it. Hopefully Kevin or Eric will post a picture.

Back on the trail, we separated again. the descent was stiff. Eventually, I came to another campsite, and could see some meadows on the other side of what was now a river. There was a cliff on the facing side, which I thought looked like Caldera. Whatever it was, it was impressive.

20180801_084522.jpg

(This was near the top.)

20180801_095311.jpg

(The foundation for the bridge that wasn't.)

20180801_111611.jpg

(A stream.)


I saw the guys below, and then saw that I had to cross a very active stream, on a log--flattened on top, and turned into a bridge. It was pretty high over the water. I was really careful, and got across without any problem. The trail splashed through run off from some thermal pools.

20180801_113713.jpg


The trail entered a meadow along the river, with thermal features. Yellowstone is filled with thermal features, but not that you can see without a zillion people alongside you. Here, we had them to ourselves. What a treat.

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Kevin sat and looked at the pool.

Next, we found our campsite. From the kitchen, we had a glorious view of 200 foot high Albright Falls.

20180802_061915.jpg


Not bad decorating.

Eric had decided he wanted to take on the challenge of hiking the entire 16-ish miles back to the car the next day. So he made preparations for that. He decided to get up at five, and leave at 6. I said my good byes, as I wasn't sure I'd be up that early on a nonhiking day.

I did end up getting to the kitchen area just as he was leaving. Farewells were said and he was off.

One interesting thing about this site and the previous site were the pit toilets. They were plywood with a hole cut in them. We thought they looked like a cut out of the national park emblem.

20180803_074515.jpg


Kevin and I talked and looked at the waterfall and drank coffee, and eventually had lunch and decided to walk down to the first ford of the Bechler River. That was the point I had decided I wouldn't pass when I made the reservation request.

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There were lots of flowers.

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And all kinds of impressive water scenery.

We headed back. I turned into camp and took a nap, while Kevin explored a little.

Dinner was interrupted by a short thunderstorm.

It was maybe 7 pm when we were visited by a ranger, who wanted.to clean our firepit. It was a no fire site, so that was really fast. He talked to us for a few minutes, then took his shovel and left.

We decided to leave at 8 the next morning.

It ended up being a bit after that, but not a lot. We moved more slowly on this day, wanting to take pictures, and ration our energy for the climb ahead. At least those were my thoughts. Here are some photos from that day...

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We didn't see any wildlife, so this is my brother in law's dog. He's only wild if you are a toy with a squeaker in it. Then he's a holy terror.

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We spent the night at our previous campsite. This time it was windy and we went to our tents early. The next day was to be our longest day, at about 8 miles.

We left at about 8, after a group of boys noisily crossed the meadow.

We stopped for a snack and while talking, decided to hike out, rather than stay one last night, at least if we still felt OK when we got to our site. That would mean an 11+ mile day.

We hiked through the Obsidian Garden, over Grant Pass and the Continental Divide, and Kevin got a good look at the geyser going off, while I saw steam. The last couple of miles were harder, but we got to our vehicles in time to order cheeseburgers by 3:30.

Best. Cheeseburger. Ever.

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What IS this stuff?

20180804_135446.jpg
 

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scatman

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#2
The Bechler area is a special place. Thanks for taking me back there one more time. How were the mosquitoes? Did you get a chance to visit Mr. Bubbles?
 
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Thank you. The mosquitoes were only a problem at the site up above the Bechler, and that was only on the first night there. The second night the wind was blowing so hard that we figured the mosquitoes were blown to Chicago. We didn’t do Mr. Bubbles. I may regret it, but I won’t regret sitting by Albright Falls for a hours.
 

KJR

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So I have to start with a few thoughts...

I saw the post from Pringles advertising for some victims (I know of the mosquitos) to go with her into the Bechler on an out an back for 6 nights. I rapidly typed up my resume and waited her response. Positive response received, I informed my boss I would be taking vacation and then sent another message telling Pringles I was in. She told me there would be one other person along, Eric and we should meet at the back country ranger station at Grant at 11 on Monday to pick up our permit and head off. Well I thought, what could possibly go wrong, my very first meet up hike, and better yet my very first meet up back pack at the same time. 700 mile drive to get there. Well I thought, all of the trip reports I have read on BCP have been great, but would anyone really post about a horrible trip with people they didn't know for 10 minutes before heading out on a 6 night trip? What the hell I decided, I had missed my spring trip to Yellowstone due to being in the Redwoods for a month for work and was jonesing for some back country time. What was the worst that could happen, rain every day? I live in Washington, I packed my rain gear. What else could go wrong? Could I be the slowest one there, and force everyone to slow down and wait for me? Ha, I will wear my trail runners so I can run if I have to. How did it go?


I actually arrived in the park a couple of days early for this trip, since I live at sea level, I wanted a couple of days to walk around. I managed a few day hikes that I am considering a separate post for, unless I get lazy. It is hard work hiking fast enough to stay in front of Pringles and at the same time, keep Eric in sight for the most part. He did manage to get away from me a couple of times when I was looking through a lens.

Here is one from early on of Eric and Pringles, note who is in the rear, and it isn't Pringles, although she said it would be.
DSC03995.JPG


Leaving camp the next morning, one soon finds some board walk for a hundred feet or so. Right at the end of it, some mud, trying to balance on the limb provided by the park service, my hiking pole collapsed and I found myself in the mud. With that done only minutes into
the day, I could focus on enjoying the hike and not worry about getting my feet wet.
2018-07-31 12.16.10.jpg

Here is one of Eric's message as referred to by Pringles.

How about Pringles in her element?
DSC04060.JPG

flowers anyone?
DSC04034.JPG


Twister Falls

DSC04064.JPG


Eric: unfortunately for me, fortunately for him, I didn't get my camera up fast enough to catch him down to his knee in the mud.
DSC04045.JPG


Pringles in the kitchen, enjoying the view:

2018-08-02 06.21.03.jpg


Our private thermal features with some morning light. Fantastic- no out of state plates, no tour buses, not even a boy scout.
DSC04119.JPG


Speaking of Boy Scouts, I had every intention the afternoon before of wandering the mile and a half up to enjoy some time with Mr. Bubbles. I figured my legs would enjoy a soak after keeping up with Eric and staying in front of Pringles so she would feel like she was holding up her promise of being the slowest hiker around. Anyways, I got the the junction of the main trail from our campsite and had to turn on my right blinker due to the herd, er pack of scouts going by headed north. I reluctantly asked the leader bringing up the rear where they were headed. Mr. Bubbles was the reply, as if I couldn't tell be the towels, etc draped around various necks. I decided that appealing as Mr. Bubbles sounded, I would go check out the Three Rivers Ranger Station and then beat a hasty retreat to the kitchen and enjoy my private view of the falls. (you can't see it from the trail, not even 1 foot of the 200 foot fall. All you get from the trail is the music). I did offer up an invitation to the group leader when I was asked how the view was to stop on their way back for a look. I would regret this later on that afternoon.

First off the patrol cabin.

DSC04108.JPG


Now since someone has already degraded this thread with a reference to the outhouse and the shape of the target, here is a view of falls from the throne.

DSC04113.JPG


some of the trail...

DSC04099.JPG


DSC04138.JPG



Now, back to the boy scouts, They stopped in later in the afternoon, all of them gathered up in front of the kitchen. I thought I should be a good host so got up from my chair and headed over. I didn't quite get there before I tasted regret. I couldn't think of a way out so continued bravely on. When I got there it appeared that each scout had at least 4 arms and each arm held a can of "off" and each arm was busily spraying everything in sight, legs, backs, necks, faces, all appeared welcome targets. Upon closer exam, they had welts on top of welts and while I hadn't thought there were any bugs in the kitchen a mere 20 feet away, there did appear to be plenty with the scouts. I offered a lame, which way are you headed tomorrow? When one volunteered they were going back south I offered a silent prayer of thanks that I would be able to breath on the way back north, so that I could stay in front of Pringles, the slowest hiker on earth. Saying a few more words about enjoying the view, I beat a hasty retreat to the safety of my chair, while holding my breath.

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Eric, hard at work with the camera at a hot spring.

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2018-07-30 19.42.23.jpg


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Now - how did the the Backcountry Post 2018 Yellowstone Bechler River Trail Meet up out and back end up? Pringles and I ended up drag racing from the trail head to the Old Faithful Grill for a cheese burger. She won, only because I got stiff on the race over and couldn't make it across the parking lot as fast as she did. When she asked if I had called my wife to let her know we were out, I said I had sent a text. Which I had, to my daughter asking her to buy via Amazon and be sure to get the two day shipping, the Katadyn BeFree water filtration system that Eric had. I had been admiring it for the last couple of days while I amused myself pumping water with my Katadyn Pocket. I had considered trying to barter with Eric, but didn't think I had a chance. I had my nice Helinox Chair Zero to offer, I even considered offering to carry the nice big lens for his canon he was packing around. In the end I didn't even try as I figured he would just laugh while taking a nice long drink of fresh mountain water. My new water filter should be here this afternoon.

In all honesty, a great trip. I will be happy to leave the trip planning for next year to Pringles and just show up, hand over my money for the permits and tag along wherever we go, trying my best to stay in front of her. I do think I might distract her at the first rest area with some flowers or perhaps a bear and stick a nice big rock (obsidian of course) in the bottom of her pack to slow her down a bit.

Kevin
 

scatman

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#5
Too bad you couldn't have timed it to where the scouts were leaving Mr. Bubbles as you were arriving. Oh well, it gives your group a reason to go back. :)
nice addendum @KJR .
 
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#6
asking her to buy via Amazon and be sure to get the two day shipping, the Katadyn BeFree water filtration system that Eric had
Lmao!
 
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Thread starter #7
So next time you'll be carrying the water filter?

Good deal. For me.
 

KJR

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#8
Yes I will be carrying it, I owe him some water as I borrowed a few liters.

Pics?
 
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#9
Nice TR. Agree with @scatman that the Bechler area is a special place.

To answer your question (wasn't sure if it was rhetorical or not) that is mycelium, the part of fungus that absorbs the nutrients from the environment.
 
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Thread starter #10
Thank you Outdoor_Fool. It was not rhetorical, I have seen it many times and had no idea what it was. Actually, I HAD ideas, which ranged from “below a bird’s favorite roost,” to some kind of weird turn of events with toilet paper. Is this then a single fungus, or a type of fungus, or parts of a fungus that are left after the fungus dies (like a skeleton)? I don’t remember seeing it when I lived in the east... is it more prevalent or visible in a drier environment? Thanks. Pringles
 

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#11
It is something that all fungus have, just usually not so obvious. Good questions, it is usually underground or inside whatever is being broken down. Rip into a rotting log and you will usually find the mycelium spread out all over. I'm not sure why this one was so exposed although I have seen it like this maybe a handful of other times. As to your last question, it's more prevalent in moister environments but I do not know about the visible part of the question.

Anyway, thanks for the TR, it brought back memories of a fine trip.
 
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Thread starter #12
I’m going to the Beartooths tomorrow, with a biology person. I shall pick her brain about the stuff. Thank you for all the information.

I’m glad our trip report brings back memories.
 
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#13
I might distract her at the first rest area with some flowers or perhaps a bear and stick a nice big rock (obsidian of course) in the bottom of her pack to slow her down a bit.

@KJR I think a bear would be sufficiently distracting and I want to know how you do it, please. :)

GREAT TR!!!
 
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Artemus

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#14
This is great! Unless you are a squeaker. :) Great report, Pringles!
 

Artemus

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#15
So I have to start with a few thoughts...

I saw the post from Pringles advertising for some victims (I know of the mosquitos) to go with her into the Bechler on an out an back for 6 nights. I rapidly typed up my resume and waited her response. Positive response received, I informed my boss I would be taking vacation and then sent another message telling Pringles I was in. She told me there would be one other person along, Eric and we should meet at the back country ranger station at Grant at 11 on Monday to pick up our permit and head off. Well I thought, what could possibly go wrong, my very first meet up hike, and better yet my very first meet up back pack at the same time. 700 mile drive to get there. Well I thought, all of the trip reports I have read on BCP have been great, but would anyone really post about a horrible trip with people they didn't know for 10 minutes before heading out on a 6 night trip? What the hell I decided, I had missed my spring trip to Yellowstone due to being in the Redwoods for a month for work and was jonesing for some back country time. What was the worst that could happen, rain every day? I live in Washington, I packed my rain gear. What else could go wrong? Could I be the slowest one there, and force everyone to slow down and wait for me? Ha, I will wear my trail runners so I can run if I have to. How did it go?


I actually arrived in the park a couple of days early for this trip, since I live at sea level, I wanted a couple of days to walk around. I managed a few day hikes that I am considering a separate post for, unless I get lazy. It is hard work hiking fast enough to stay in front of Pringles and at the same time, keep Eric in sight for the most part. He did manage to get away from me a couple of times when I was looking through a lens.

Here is one from early on of Eric and Pringles, note who is in the rear, and it isn't Pringles, although she said it would be. View attachment 67168

Leaving camp the next morning, one soon finds some board walk for a hundred feet or so. Right at the end of it, some mud, trying to balance on the limb provided by the park service, my hiking pole collapsed and I found myself in the mud. With that done only minutes into
the day, I could focus on enjoying the hike and not worry about getting my feet wet.
View attachment 67169
Here is one of Eric's message as referred to by Pringles.

How about Pringles in her element?
View attachment 67170

flowers anyone?
View attachment 67171

Twister Falls

View attachment 67172

Eric: unfortunately for me, fortunately for him, I didn't get my camera up fast enough to catch him down to his knee in the mud.
View attachment 67173

Pringles in the kitchen, enjoying the view:

View attachment 67174

Our private thermal features with some morning light. Fantastic- no out of state plates, no tour buses, not even a boy scout.
View attachment 67175

Speaking of Boy Scouts, I had every intention the afternoon before of wandering the mile and a half up to enjoy some time with Mr. Bubbles. I figured my legs would enjoy a soak after keeping up with Eric and staying in front of Pringles so she would feel like she was holding up her promise of being the slowest hiker around. Anyways, I got the the junction of the main trail from our campsite and had to turn on my right blinker due to the herd, er pack of scouts going by headed north. I reluctantly asked the leader bringing up the rear where they were headed. Mr. Bubbles was the reply, as if I couldn't tell be the towels, etc draped around various necks. I decided that appealing as Mr. Bubbles sounded, I would go check out the Three Rivers Ranger Station and then beat a hasty retreat to the kitchen and enjoy my private view of the falls. (you can't see it from the trail, not even 1 foot of the 200 foot fall. All you get from the trail is the music). I did offer up an invitation to the group leader when I was asked how the view was to stop on their way back for a look. I would regret this later on that afternoon.

First off the patrol cabin.

View attachment 67176

Now since someone has already degraded this thread with a reference to the outhouse and the shape of the target, here is a view of falls from the throne.

View attachment 67177

some of the trail...

View attachment 67179

View attachment 67180


Now, back to the boy scouts, They stopped in later in the afternoon, all of them gathered up in front of the kitchen. I thought I should be a good host so got up from my chair and headed over. I didn't quite get there before I tasted regret. I couldn't think of a way out so continued bravely on. When I got there it appeared that each scout had at least 4 arms and each arm held a can of "off" and each arm was busily spraying everything in sight, legs, backs, necks, faces, all appeared welcome targets. Upon closer exam, they had welts on top of welts and while I hadn't thought there were any bugs in the kitchen a mere 20 feet away, there did appear to be plenty with the scouts. I offered a lame, which way are you headed tomorrow? When one volunteered they were going back south I offered a silent prayer of thanks that I would be able to breath on the way back north, so that I could stay in front of Pringles, the slowest hiker on earth. Saying a few more words about enjoying the view, I beat a hasty retreat to the safety of my chair, while holding my breath.

View attachment 67181

View attachment 67182

Eric, hard at work with the camera at a hot spring.

View attachment 67183

View attachment 67184

View attachment 67185

Now - how did the the Backcountry Post 2018 Yellowstone Bechler River Trail Meet up out and back end up? Pringles and I ended up drag racing from the trail head to the Old Faithful Grill for a cheese burger. She won, only because I got stiff on the race over and couldn't make it across the parking lot as fast as she did. When she asked if I had called my wife to let her know we were out, I said I had sent a text. Which I had, to my daughter asking her to buy via Amazon and be sure to get the two day shipping, the Katadyn BeFree water filtration system that Eric had. I had been admiring it for the last couple of days while I amused myself pumping water with my Katadyn Pocket. I had considered trying to barter with Eric, but didn't think I had a chance. I had my nice Helinox Chair Zero to offer, I even considered offering to carry the nice big lens for his canon he was packing around. In the end I didn't even try as I figured he would just laugh while taking a nice long drink of fresh mountain water. My new water filter should be here this afternoon.

In all honesty, a great trip. I will be happy to leave the trip planning for next year to Pringles and just show up, hand over my money for the permits and tag along wherever we go, trying my best to stay in front of her. I do think I might distract her at the first rest area with some flowers or perhaps a bear and stick a nice big rock (obsidian of course) in the bottom of her pack to slow her down a bit.

Kevin
Nice add-on Kevin! Love it.
 

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