Yellowstone's Shoshone Lake, Ouzel Creek, and Three Rivers Junction -- September 13-16 2021

TractorDoc

Member
.
Joined
Aug 21, 2018
Messages
236
Well, @scatman posted his version of this trip, now its my turn. :)

After our warm up hike to Aster Lake the day before Hugh and I would be meeting @wsp_scott by a deadline of 9AM at Yellowstone's Lone Star Trailhead. We drove over from the Old Faithful area a bit early and found Scott sipping coffee in a prime parking spot. I had somehow convinced Hugh to let me hang out with him last year. . . I suppose he is a glutton for punishment as he agreed to let me tag along this year too. This was our first time meeting Scott and first impressions on our end were good; he appeared to be the type of person that could put up with the conditions on the trail. I'm not sure what his first impression was of us, but I presented him with a bottle of Buffalo Trace Bourbon Whiskey as a trail-warming gift to gain his favor. I'm not against a little bribery. :lol:

I tend to be a picture taker (so this may be a very long report from an image standpoint) and Scott found that out right away with a group pic at the trailhead.

5J5A9033.JPG


After the introductions were over and 9AM had come and gone we hoisted our packs and headed down the trail towards Lone Star Geyser. The first couple miles of trail is actually an old park road that is closed to cars but open to bicycles. We made good time easily walking three wide on the path that follows the Firehole River a good portion of the way.

Crossing the Firehole early on.

5J5A9036.JPG


Firehole River under the morning sun.

5J5A9038.JPG


Near the geyser the trees part for a nice meadow view.

5J5A9039.JPG


Lone Star Geyser erupts regularly on a three hour interval. We were (un)lucky enough to catch the last bits of steam from an eruption that took place just before we reached it. We did get to chat with a group that were employees of the park and had stayed at 8R5 -- the campsite at Shoshone Lake to which we were headed. Hugh shared with them stories of Scatman Lore and gave them a few hints/tips/future hiking destinations.

Lone Star in Steam.

5J5A9041.JPG


After the last puffs of steam had passed we continued on as the trail turned to dirt. The trail marker where the Shoshone Lake Trail and Howard Eaton Trail meet. Its not too late to turn back Scott!

5J5A9044.JPG



Foot bridge for a second crossing of the Firehole River.

5J5A9045.JPG


I last walked this trail two years ago. There have been some improvements since then in the form of a new wooden walkway over one of the squishy areas holding several small hot springs.

5J5A9047.JPG


Then there were areas that looked like they could use a little help. Step in the wrong place on this boardwalk and you'll end up going thru it. We did not let a little red tape deter us though and took our chances.

5J5A9050.JPG


The miles went quickly and we passed by campsites OA1, OA2, and OA3. This was a nice view from the trail of a meadow somewhere South of OA3. Shame there are not some bison out there munching.

5J5A9051.JPG


September must be a good times for certain mushrooms in Yellowstone. Fungus was among us in many areas along the trail, this was just one example of a large specimen.

5J5A9054.JPG


The Shoshone lake trail gradually climbs up forested slopes to the continental divide at Grant's Pass. There is no official signage or view on the precipice as you are surrounded by trees. Every now and again the trees would open for a small meadow or drainage and we could catch views of the autumn colors on display.

5J5A9055.JPG


Scott proved to be a worthy companion and could be found taking point position often. Perhaps he was just trying to get away from Hugh and I. :thinking:

5J5A9056.JPG


Trail Marker! We took a left towards Shoshone Lake. 8G1 was our first choice for tonight's campsite, but it must have been taken as the permit office assigned us 8R5.

5J5A9057.JPG


The trail to Shoshone Lake was more scenic (to my eye) compared to what we had just hiked thru. It started with a more open area.

5J5A9058.JPG


Then started to follow Shoshone Creek.

5J5A9059.JPG


The trail would make three crossings of Shoshone Creek. The first crossing utilized a foot bridge. The second crossing has no bridge, but a nice log instead.

5J5A9060.JPG


Author's view.

5J5A9062.JPG


The third crossing also utilizes a log -- a much skinnier log over a wider section of creek. It is deeper than it looks! We all made it with dry feet. :thumbsup:

5J5A9064.JPG


The next two miles were very scenic. September is my favorite time to visit the park and we were treated to a sunny day that was not too warm. The sun make Shoshone Creek sparkle and brought the yellows, golds, and reds of autumn color to life.

5J5A9067.JPG


5J5A9068.JPG


Scott still leading the way.

5J5A9070.JPG


I told Hugh that I had probably taken pictures from these same viewpoints two years ago. Perhaps I should go back and see if any of the logs have moved?

5J5A9071.JPG


5J5A9074.JPG


5J5A9075.JPG


The trail ducked back into some trees and we could catch a preview of our destination for later -- the Shoshone Geyser Basin.

5J5A9076.JPG


We took the left onto the North Shoshone Trail to setup camp before heading over to the geyser basin.

5J5A9077.JPG


Guess who is in the lead this time? I'd been looking forward to visiting Shoshone Geyser Basin again and kicked into a higher gear.

5J5A9078.JPG


Spur Trail to 8R5. Quite a lengthy one at nearly half a mile!

5J5A9079.JPG


Home for the night. The tent sites for 8R5 are nicely sheltered in the trees but a short walk takes you to the shore of the lake and a nice open view.

5J5A9087.JPG


5J5A9084.JPG


5J5A9082.JPG


All of our sites for the trip had pit toilets. No, I did not take pictures of all of them.

5J5A9085.JPG


After a brief rest it was time to head over to the geyser basin. I left Hugh and Scott in my dust as I wanted to do a video walk thru of the basin -- preferably one without people in it. I returned the the trail marker and took the basin trail; once you leave the trees you cross a log path over a swampy area.

5J5A9089.JPG


I accomplished my video walk-thru (I'll have to work on posting it one of these days). In doing so I did not stop to take any pictures from start to finish, instead I had to backtrack so some of my pictures will be out of order.

I had stopped my video at the dormant cones of Union Geyser. If I remember reading correctly it last erupted in the 1970s.

5J5A9092.JPG


North of Union Geyser is Taurus Spring.

5J5A9096.JPG


I managed to backtrack and catch up to Hugh and Scott at Minute Man Geyser. The guys were thrilled as I made them stand there for a group picture during an eruption. Can't you see Hugh smiling? :scatman:

GP__0197.JPG


Some Minute Man pictures without the three amigos.

5J5A9101A.JPG


5J5A9104A.JPG


Hugh capturing the moment.

5J5A9108.JPG


Looking North up Shoshone Creek.

5J5A9109.JPG


There are several interesting features East of Union Geyser. I am not as well versed when it comes to their proper names, but Sea Green Pool and White Hot Spring are located in the vicinity.

5J5A9114.JPG


I chose to call this one the bottomless pit.

5J5A9117.JPG


View of Union Geyser's cones from the South.

5J5A9119A.JPG


A few more thermal areas and features farther South near the trail.

5J5A9122.JPG


5J5A9123.JPG


5J5A9126.JPG


One of my goals of this visit was to cross Shoshone Creek to get a better view of some of the thermal features on the other side. I am well aware of the park service's policy of no off trail travel in the geyser basins. My plan was not to walk on thermal ground, but to stay on the grassy/forested areas and work a path Westward then Northward around the periphery of the basin. Some may still frown upon this as bending or breaking the rules, but I have the utmost respect for these delicate areas and wish nothing more than to see them / take photographs. The park's policy was put in place due to visitors vandalizing thermal features -- I would never dream of such an act. The elk and bison would probably do more damage than what we were about to undertake.

So with that, we made a crossing of Shoshone Creek somewhere South of Union Geyser.

I almost forgot, I was making this part of the hike in Crocs and Socks!

5J5A9127.JPG


A view up Fall Creek, which flows into Shoshone Creek.

5J5A9130.JPG


Across the creek are several features that I believe are in the Island Group.

5J5A9132.JPG


What follows are pictures of features from the Western Group. I do not know the name of every feature, just some of the bigger ones.

5J5A9133.JPG


Colorful Bacterial mats in intricate runoff channels.

5J5A9135.JPG


5J5A9136.JPG


Possibly Pectin Geyser?

5J5A9138.JPG


One of the more impressive features is the Boiling Cauldron.

5J5A9139.JPG


Boiling Cauldron, different view.

5J5A9143.JPG


Hot Spring.

5J5A9141.JPG


Aptly named Great Crater.

5J5A9145.JPG


5J5A9149.JPG


Bones in Great Crater?

5J5A9150.JPG


I think this one might be Cream Spring.

5J5A9148.JPG


A number of hot springs I do not know the names of.

5J5A9151.JPG


5J5A9153.JPG


5J5A9154.JPG


5J5A9155.JPG


We had been hearing military jets flying overhead for part of the afternoon. I caught a picture of this one as it was flying across an open area above the basin. Scott and I assumed it was nothing more than a Scatman Tracking Exercise.

5J5A9156.JPG


More bacterial color and drainage channels.

5J5A9157.JPG


5J5A9162.JPG


5J5A9163.JPG


Delicate Terraces

5J5A9166.JPG


More springs.

5J5A9167.JPG


5J5A9170.JPG


As we emerged from the Western Group we were treated to a different perspective of the geyser basin from the Western side.

5J5A9173.JPG


Numerous springs, vents, and bubblers covered the ground before us.

5J5A9174.JPG


5J5A9175.JPG


Coral Spring is one of the features I was able to recognize.

5J5A9176.JPG


5J5A9177.JPG


The next number of features are part of the North and South groups. I did not take good enough notes on each one's location to properly identify them.

5J5A9178.JPG


5J5A9181.JPG


This small geyser may have erupted earlier -- its crater looks more on the empty side.

5J5A9183.JPG


5J5A9184.JPG


One of the features I had really wanted to see was Glen Spring. Supposedly prehistoric people had placed logs across the drainage channel of the spring to enlarge it. We could clearly see where the logs were situated to act as a dam. Fascinating to think that this could have been done intentionally hundreds of years ago. . . I can also see how trees could have just randomly fallen across the drainage channel too. :)

Glen Spring.

5J5A9185A.JPG


5J5A9186A.JPG


5J5A9187.JPG


While looking at the spring Hugh found evidence of less than prehistoric man on the hillside in the form of several old rusty metal cans.

The sun was getting lower by this time and we started to work our way around/back over to the campsite. Along the way were a couple more interesting features.

5J5A9190.JPG


5J5A9195.JPG


5J5A9199.JPG


5J5A9209.JPG


Small Thermal Waterfall.

5J5A9192A.JPG


5J5A9193A.JPG


Looking East -- Minute Man Geyser had quieted down but Shield Geyser was still splashing.

5J5A9203.JPG


Hugh kept his feet dry on the return crossing.

5J5A9205.JPG


I took advantage of my footwear and got mine wet.

5J5A9206.JPG


Just off the main trail is a remnant of what we think was an old spur trail that led to a backcountry patrol cabin on the other side of Shoshone Creek prior to it being burned in the 1970s.

5J5A9218.JPG


It seems I never did backtrack far enough earlier in the day to take decent pictures of Black Sulfur Spring, Soap Kettle Spring, and Shield Geyser. I have decent video footage of them so I will have to come back and post that in a later update. For now just a couple pictures heading back up the trail towards camp.

5J5A9219.JPG


5J5A9221.JPG


5J5A9224.JPG


Back at the campsite it was time for supper. The first night's meal would be a Beef Pasta Marinara. This would be one that I'd order again for future trips.

5J5A9227.JPG


A view of the dinner table. Scott and Hugh would usually be talking about something and I'd have to interrupt them for these photo ops. After awhile I think they were starting to ignore me!

5J5A9229.JPG


After supper we were treated to a spectacular sunset.

5J5A9239A.JPG


Once the sun dipped behind the hills the clouds kept the show going.

5J5A9257.JPG


The three of us talked about tomorrow's plans until the stars made an appearance, then we turned in for the night. We would certainly need our rest for what tomorrow was to bring!

End, Day 1.

Start, Day 2.

Fun fact, I tend to get up early. . . often before the sunrise. I tell myself its because I want to stay on Eastern time to avoid being jet-lagged when I return home; but it could also be the excitement of being in one of my favorite places and not wanting to miss a minute of it. I had ideas of walking back over to the geyser basin for some early morning steam pics, but we would be leaving early today and I did not want to cause us to have a late start.

Before sunrise on Shoshone Lake.

5J5A9261.JPG


Breakfast. Fruity and delicious.

5J5A9263.JPG


After breakfast we packed up our gear and headed back up the Shoshone Lake Trail toward the junction with the Bechler River Trail (that we passed yesterday).

Frosty trail-side foliage.

5J5A9281.JPG


Crossing Shoshone Creek. . . again!

5J5A9282.JPG


Hugh's turn.

5J5A9283.JPG


The low angle of the sun did not make for the best picture taking on the trial back up Shoshone Creek, but we eventually found our way back to the Bechler River Trail and took a left turn to head towards Three River Junction. This part of the trail involved another climb of the continental divide. It was a more significant climb this time and being a flatlander I was sucking a little more air than my travelling companions.

Hiking up the divide.

5J5A9287.JPG


Hugh was very excited to see the old "I" trail blazes that were used as markers in the days before orange rectangles. I'm pretty sure he took a picture of every single one.

5J5A9290.JPG


Luckily his frequent picture taking gave me a chance to catch my breath. Five miles or so from the campsite and near the top of the continental divide we stopped and rested for a few minutes. . . then continued off trail in a Westerly direction. Our goal would be the headwaters of Ouzel Creek -- something Hugh looked forward to seeing about as much as I looked forward to yesterday's thermal features. Walking thru the woods via Hugh's GPS was a bit easier today vs. the Aster Lake hike. This area had not been burned so downfall was less of an issue. There were still plenty of trees and logs to account for though and one could easily get turned around if not paying attention.

Heading West into the unknown.

5J5A9291.JPG


People's trash ends up in some of the most remote places. I wondered how old the person was when they received this balloon and how old they are now. It had quite a bit of leafy/needlely cover over it.

5J5A9294.JPG


One of the more open areas to walk thru.

5J5A9296.JPG


I begged Hugh and Scott to deviate from the GPS path so we could walk North and see if we could catch a view of Madison Lake from the ridge. They gave in and this Yellowstone Gamble paid off with a stunning view down to the lake. A couple of hawks or eagles even put on a show of airborne maneuvers as we watched.

5J5A9301A.JPG


After taking in the view it was back to waking thru the woods.

5J5A9303.JPG


As we approached Trischman Knob the view began to open up and the terrain began to undulate. We worked our way down to what would be the uppermost headwaters of Ouzel Creek.

5J5A9306.JPG


Hugh and Scott walking down the uppermost drainage of Ouzel Creek.

5J5A9308.JPG


Arriving here made Hugh very happy. You can see it on his face as we stopped for a lunch break. :scatman: If the Scatman could cry, I think there could have been a tear of joy on his cheek.

5J5A9310.JPG


After lunch we walked down the upper, dry portion of the drainage to see where the water would start flowing.

5J5A9311.JPG


Along the way dry channels filled with Pitchstone sparkled like diamonds under the sun.

5J5A9313.JPG


Walking was much easier for this part of the hike.

5J5A9314.JPG


Dry Ouzel Creek Bed. It would be something to see this area in late spring/early summer.

5J5A9317.JPG


Hugh documenting the first patches of standing water.

5J5A9318.JPG


Soon enough the water began to flow. Which view is better, Scatman or no Scatman?


5J5A9325.JPG
5J5A9323.JPG


Fall colors on full display the entire length of the creek. Gorgeous!

5J5A9326.JPG


5J5A9330.JPG


5J5A9331.JPG


5J5A9332.JPG


Check out those meanderings.

5J5A9336.JPG


Ouzel Creek Valley with some hikers for scale.

5J5A9337.JPG


As we hiked down slope the volume of water increased to form a proper creek.

5J5A9341.JPG


5J5A9345.JPG


5J5A9346.JPG


No better way to rehydrate than with some freshly filtered Ouzel Creek Water. . . in a BCP bottle no less!

5J5A9350.JPG


Hugh had plotted us a course on his GPS that directed us back East once we reached this tributary leading into Ouzel Creek.

5J5A9351.JPG


The path forward would take us across open meadows and thru the occasional patch of trees.

5J5A9354.JPG


Beautiful open meadow.

5J5A9356.JPG


Hugh checking the GPS, Scott checking his phone satellite app (or maybe he is texting :) ).

5J5A9359.JPG


Dry drainage that likely leads to the Phillips Fork.

5J5A9360.JPG


Drainage that definitely leads to the Phillips Fork. One of my other requests was that if possible we get to see Hourglass Falls (some call it Quiver Cascade). At this spot Hugh mentioned that we could follow the drainage down to the falls. The other alternative was to keep following his GPS points and take the safe path down to our campsite. Somehow we came up with some sort of mixture of the two ideas and followed a more gentle slope downward toward the location the falls would be.

5J5A9363.JPG


5J5A9364.JPG


Working our way down towards Hourglass Falls.

5J5A9365.JPG


Eventually we came to a ridge and we could hear the sound of running water to our right -- an area the 90 foot falls should be.

5J5A9366.JPG


We worked our way down a somewhat steep slope and sure enough a whimsical waterfall could be seen cascading down the cliff face.

5J5A9367.JPG


5J5A9369.JPG


At first I did not even recognize this as Hourglass Falls. We were here late enough in the year that the water volume had decreased from what was likely present in pictures I had seen of the falls. It was not until I was looking at the pics on the camera later that I convinced myself there was indeed a "pinch" in the middle of the falls that gives it the hourglass shape.

5J5A9372.JPG


5J5A9373.JPG


Getting to see and be this close to Hourglass Falls was quite an experience. It was an experience that came with some consequences though, as there was no easy way to work downstream from the falls and easily access our campsite. We had to ascend a steep ridge opposite the falls then descend/cross a stream/ascend another ridge to get back to an area that would eventually lead us down to our campsite for the night -- 9D1. I may have confused us some as I was still not thinking we had arrived at Hourglass Falls yet, luckily Scott's phone app found us a path that contoured across and down the area we had been in and eventually led us back to the last of Hugh's original GPS waypoints. The sun was getting low by now and I think all three of us were glad to have an idea of where we were. . . officially anyway. The route finding was serious enough that I stashed my camera in the pack until we made it back to level ground, so minimal picture taking for that part. Once we were near the campsite I brought the camera back out for a couple pictures of a lovely waterfall tucked up on the Gregg Fork before Three River Junction.

5J5A9374.JPG


5J5A9376.JPG


We managed to roll into campsite 9D1 before sunset. We set up camp for the night and cooked our dinners as dusk crept in. One would think that any sane hikers would have called it a night after 16 miles of off trail adventure, but Hugh had other ideas. He wanted to take an evening stroll up to Mr. Bubbles for a starlight soak. . . and that is just what we did! We walked most of the trail from 9D1 to the Ferris Fork Thermal Area by moonlight. The moon provided enough light to navigate but my other senses had to take over during my first experience in this Yellowstone Bucket List Location. The sound of trickling water and steam. . . the smell of sulfur. . . the slight chill that was beginning to fill the air around me. . . when we arrived at Mr. Bubbles the first steps into the heated water were actually a bit of a shock. A minute or two later though I was sitting in the water and feeling a complex mix of warm and cool currents swirl around me. . . this was definitely Yellowstone Paradise. Scott was the astronomy expert among us and gave us the celestial tour. I may or may not have made a joke about Uranus. :)

I honestly do not remember how long we sat in that heavenly pool, but I do know it was long enough to melt away any of the stress, strain, or pain that I had felt during the day. Of course it was dark so no picture taking took place that evening. I'll have some pics of the area for Day 3. Eventually we did have to emerge and head back to camp via headlamp. I remember sleeping well that night -- definitely better than the night before.

By now I'm realizing this trip report is turning into more of a Trip Novel. I'll end the first post here and pickup tomorrow with a second post that covers Days Three and Four. Tomorrow will definitely be a day worth reading as it took place in an entirely different area than what was in Hugh's report. Thanks if you've made it this far!
 

Pringles

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2015
Messages
274
I love all the pictures, especially the areas of the geyser basin that I’m waaaay too afraid to go to. Thank you for posting them. I look forward to the next report!
 

Jackson

I like to go outside.
.
Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
2,604
Loving this. Did you run into anyone at Mr. Bubbles? It was a dang party the first evening I went there a couple weeks ago. Probably a dozen people there.
 

TractorDoc

Member
.
Joined
Aug 21, 2018
Messages
236
Part Two.

Once again I was awake early at campsite 9D1. Neither of my companions were stirring so I thought I'd do some morning exploring on my own. It was cold enough that my swim shorts had frozen on the tree branch I hung them on last night. Even so I grabbed them and headed back towards the Ferris Fork Thermal area and Mr. Bubbles.

Campsite 9D1 sits in a "wedge" between the Phillips and Gregg Forks. A small footbridge spanned the Gregg Fork near its own thermal area. The steam, colors, and sound of rushing water heightened my senses.

5J5A9377.JPG


Campsite 9D1 had an interesting layout. After we had set up camp we saw where the cooking area/pit toilet was between the Phillips and Gregg Forks. In the daylight we could actually see that some campsites were across the little footbridge and on the ground between the Gregg and Ferris Forks. I imagine the extra sites may have been used for larger camping groups.

Signage for 9D1 now that we could see it in the daylight.

5J5A9380.JPG


Another trail marker farther up the Bechler River Trail near the Mr. Bubbles turnoff. I wonder who stole the bolt from the 9D1 plaque?

5J5A9382.JPG


As I approached the Ferris Fork Thermal Area the rising steam provided a good amount of atmosphere. One has to cross a small tributary before reaching Ferris Fork.

5J5A9383.JPG


Ferris Fork before sunrise.

5J5A9385.JPG


The spur trail follows the Ferris Fork and eventually leads you to the star attraction: Mr. Bubbles. From the trail you get an overhead view of the pool, the hot water cascade running down into it from the hillside, and the cool waters of the Ferris Fork that complete the mixture.

5J5A9389.JPG


A view from the opposite side. Ferris Fork is behind me, hot water cascading down on the right.

5J5A9394.JPG


An area of thermal activity downstream from Mr. Bubbles.

5J5A9403.JPG


So who is crazy enough to jump into the water before 7AM in freezing temperatures? This Guy!

GP__0237.JPG


I dipped the swim shorts into the warm water before changing into them -- made putting them back on much more comfortable. ;)

I soaked and took some pictures/video for the better part of half an hour. I decided I better head back to camp to see what the others were up to, but not before catching some sun rays as they lit up the Ferris Fork.

5J5A9426.JPG


Ferris Fork as seen on the way back to camp with the walls of Bechler Canyon in the distance.

5J5A9439.JPG


When I arrived back at camp I found Scott on his way out for his own morning explorations. While waiting for him to come back Hugh and I had breakfast. I highly recommend the Peak Biscuits and Gravy -- another freeze dried meal I'll be bringing on future trips.

5J5A9443.JPG


Home for a night.

5J5A9442.JPG


When Scott returned we worked on breaking down camp, then said our goodbyes to Hugh as he was heading back North to see if he could find the old trail up to the Pitchstone Plateau. Scott and I would be hanging out in the Three Rivers Junction area for a bit before joining back up with Hugh later in the day. We loaded up our packs but left our food in "bear safe" mode before heading a little farther South down the Bechler River Trail. Our target was campsite was 9B9 -- Hugh said we could get a nice view of Albright Falls and Batchelder Column.

Crossing the Gregg Fork once again on the footbridge. The thermal feature here looks to have its own one man hot tub at the lower left. I did not take advantage of it during out stay.

5J5A9453.JPG


A short distance past 9D1 the Bechler River Trail crosses the Ferris Fork. Before crossing Scott and I walked upstream to get a better view of Ragged Falls.

5J5A9455.JPG


Ragged Falls from the West Bank of Ferris Fork.

5J5A9456.JPG


To continue down the Bechler River Trail we had to cross the Ferris Fork. Trail signage says there is a footbridge. . . can you see it in this picture? :confused:

5J5A9459.JPG


Scott and I made the crossing the old fashioned way. I had left my water shoes back at camp and chose to go it barefoot. The experience was like walking over slippery bowling balls. One portion was knee deep and actually had a decent current to it but we made it across with dry feet. Well, I did anyway. :) Scott had wet shoes a couple times during the trip, this may have been one of those times.

5J5A9461.JPG


A view of Three River Junction a short distance down the trail.

5J5A9462.JPG


As we walked farther into Bechler Canyon we were treated to towering canyon walls, rushing water, and colorful thermal features.

5J5A9466.JPG


5J5A9467.JPG


5J5A9470.JPG


Not far from campsite 9B9 we spotted the backcountry ranger cabin.

5J5A9476.JPG


The mile walk to Campsite 9B9 went quickly.

5J5A9477.JPG


Once there we took in the views of Albright Falls and Batchelder Column. Can you see them?

5J5A9487.JPG


As we left 9B9 I noticed a single person walking ahead of us on the trail and I could see a group of backpackers a distance behind us on the trail. Scott and I caught up to the single person in front of us and were pleased to learn she was a backcountry ranger. Names and dietary preferences omitted to protect the innocent. :) We talked to the ranger about her post -- she was assigned to the cabin for two nights and had arrived yesterday. We told her where we had been thus far and that we'd be headed to 9D3 for the next night. Luckily she did not ask to see our permit as Hugh had it in his pack! She also told us the group of backpackers behind us would be heading up to campsite 9D2 for the night. We thanked her for the information and continued on up the trail.

Scott and I planned to revisit the Ferris Fork Thermal Area/Mr. Bubbles again; I mentioned that it was likely the group of backpackers behind us would be heading there too so if we wanted it to ourselves for a bit we better hurry. He agreed and we quickly moved back across the Ferris Fork to gather up our gear.

Soon we were crossing familiar territory on the spur trail but I was now seeing it in a different light.

5J5A9492.JPG


A fully illuminated Mr. Bubbles.

5J5A9496.JPG


Our strategy worked and we had Mr. Bubbles to ourselves for the better part of 30-45 minutes. While Scott relaxed I worked on getting my souvenir pictures from every possible angle. :)

5J5A9501.JPG


GP__0251.JPG


My prediction held true and the group of about eight backpackers soon rounded the trail to partake in this indulgent backcountry experience. Scott and I said our hellos and not long after vacated the pool to let the newcomers have their own private experience. We had other plans anyway as once we had stashed our packs we made our way upstream on the Ferris Fork. There were some interesting thermal features up this way, this one in particular reminded me of a smaller version of Dragon Mouth Spring (in the Mud Volcano area).

5J5A9504.JPG


Our goal in heading upstream was to find the first waterfall above Mr. Bubbles. It is a 30 foot drop called Tendoy Falls. Before we reached Tendoy Falls we noted this cascade falling into Ferris Fork from its Eastern Bank. Pretty, but not the falls we were looking for.

5J5A9510.JPG


A little farther upstream we could hear the rushing water and after crossing Ferris Fork we were able to get a nice view of Tendoy Falls -- a proper backcountry waterfall.

5J5A9524A.JPG


There are other falls further up Ferris Fork to check out, but Scott and I decided to head back towards Mr. Bubbles. He wanted one last soak and I was going to check out Zealous Spring downstream. I took the high road from Tendoy Falls back towards Mr. Bubbles, Scott followed Ferris Fork. Can you see him?

5J5A9533.JPG


More interesting thermal areas noted on the way back downstream.

5J5A9535.JPG


Zealous Spring sits on the opposite bank of Ferris Fork from Mr. Bubbles. While Scott relaxed I walked up the opposite bank and checked out what I would describe as a miniature version of the Mammoth Terraces. It was bubbling so profusely and emitting so much steam that it was difficult to photograph -- both this morning and now.

A view from downstream.

5J5A9542.JPG


A view from farther downstream.

5J5A9545.JPG


Some mini terraces within the spring.

5J5A9548.JPG


Content with my close up views I headed back to Scott. We knew we better start heading back towards our campsite for the night if we wanted to make it before dark. Reluctantly we packed up and took one last view of this piece of backcountry paradise.

5J5A9554A.JPG


On the way out Scott and I crossed paths with our ranger friend once again as she was heading towards Mr. Bubbles. (We told her to come here if she had the chance when we saw her in the morning). We also told her about Tendoy Falls and that she should check it out if time allowed. She only had on a pair of sandals for footwear. . . I was not sure if she'd make it to the waterfall or not.

Once we were back on the main trail we began to ascend the continental divide. . . this time from the other side. It was not long before I was sucking wind again and Scott soon left me behind as he scampered up the trail. I'll blame it on my lack of acclimation; even though he is a fellow flatlander Scott had just spent a number of days( before meeting us) in the Winds so I think he had the advantage. :)

I'll admit to not taking very many pictures during my climb up. All I could find was this rather washed out version of what I thought was a decent hill climb.

5J5A9555.JPG


Luckily the spur to Twister Falls provided a chance to drop my pack and rest. View from the overlook just off the main trail. You can see the difference in sunlight from Hugh's picture in his report as he was here earlier this morning.

5J5A9560.JPG


Past Twister falls the grade did begin to become less severe. Scott was kind enough to wait for me and we covered the next section of trail as a team.

Small cascade along the trail.

5J5A9568.JPG


We passed the group we had met at Mr. Bubbles earlier as they were setting up camp at 9D2. No time to chat as we were eager to get to 9D3. A water crossing with a sturdy footbridge.

5J5A9569.JPG


There may have been a little more uphill close to camp as Scott managed to leave me in his dust again. I could usually see him somewhere ahead of me on the trail but he was really moving.

5J5A9572.JPG


Just before camp we broke out of the trees into this nice meadow. Our campsite would be in another group of trees in the distance.

5J5A9576A.JPG

Douglas Knob was on our right. Shadows were getting longer as the sun was getting lower.

5J5A9577.JPG


A look backwards down the trail towards Douglas Knob. Between here and the campsite the trail became quite squishy in places -- a surprise for September.

5J5A9578.JPG


Finally! 9D3. I was very happy to stroll into camp. This was supposed to be an easy day compared to some of the distances we had taken on the days before but it did not feel like it. Perhaps the mileage (or the altitude) was catching up with me. We met up with Hugh and were pleased to hear he had found the origins of the old trail up to the Pitchstone Plateau. Now that he has done the difficult work of finding it we should come back here again to properly explore it (Hint Hint Hugh!).

5J5A9579.JPG


We had supper as the sun dipped below the tree line to the west. It was a rather nice sunset.

5J5A9581.JPG


From an aesthetics standpoint I think I liked the surroundings of campsite 9D3 the best of the three. Sites 8R5 and 9D1 had what was nearby going for them (Shoshone Geyser Basin and Mr. Bubbles, respectively) but the sites themselves did not provide much of a view. 9D3 did and I was certainly glad we were able to get reassigned to this site vs. the OA1 that was originally on our permit. That would not have been much fun.

I slept rather well again this night -- I barely remember rolling around much at all in fact. Tomorrow would be a longer hike out to the trailhead but there would be no rush to get out early. I remember falling asleep to the sound of the wind, it was quite noticeable with the openness of the meadow around us.

End Day 3..

Start Day 4.

Even though it was not necessary Scott and I were up before sunrise once again. It was too dark to take them the night before, so here are a couple pictures of camp in the morning. Sleeping area:

5J5A9585.JPG



Food area with bear pole.

5J5A9586.JPG


The water source for this site had a little waterfall to ensure our water would be fully aerated.

5J5A9595.JPG


A view across the meadow, I thought this cloud had character.

5J5A9587.JPG


We prepared and ate our breakfasts then packed up camp for the last time. The hike out today would be double digit mileage once again but I was feeling refreshed and a lot of our distance would be heading downhill. . . something I excel at. :)

A nice view of the trail shortly after 9D3.

5J5A9597.JPG


Small washes and creeks would need to be crossed. This was still all new territory for us.

5J5A9600.JPG


Hugh was still keeping track of those "I" blazes. I believe he called them his "I" candy in this report.

5J5A9601.JPG


I had to take a picture of this one as I thought it looked nice.

5J5A9606.JPG


It took Scott no time at all to take the lead and disappear into the woods.

5J5A9609.JPG


More trail scenery.

5J5A9611.JPG


We regrouped at this location though. This was the point where we had left the trail on Tuesday. This pic officially marks the spot where we closed the loop of our lollipop. I think I'm starting to master the Scatman smile. :scatman:

GP__0257.JPG


It was my turn to leave Scott and Hugh behind as we were coming down the divide. They were protecting their knees and I've always been blessed with durable ones that take the shock of descent well. While we were still grouped together we kept asking ourselves "Did we really come up this?"

It did not take long to reach the open area towards the bottom of the divide.

5J5A9616.JPG


And then the trail marker we had passed several days earlier.

5J5A9617.JPG


We stopped to regroup and have a snack break here.

I temped Hugh with the offering of a Circus Peanut and he promptly dropped it into his mouth.

5J5A9620.JPG
5J5A9621.JPG
5J5A9622.JPG


Scott had been refusing the offer of a circus peanut this entire trip. Even after Hugh's display of gravitational consumption Scott still declined. Truthfully, I found this to be one of the only odd things about Scott during our entire backcountry visit. Who does not like a Circus Peanut? :thinking:

Hugh knows Circus Peanuts are a delicacy though and next he wanted to toss one way up into the air to catch in his mouth. See if you can follow the peanut. :p You may have to click on each picture for a bigger view to see the nut.

5J5A9632.JPG
5J5A9633.JPG
5J5A9634.JPG
5J5A9635.JPG
5J5A9636.JPG


Hugh had his version of "I" candy on the trail. I believe it was Scott that said this would be our version of it. :roflmao:

5J5A9631.JPG


No peanuts were harmed in the taking of these pictures. I think Hugh's face may have suffered a hematoma though.

Once the theatrics were over we continued our journey towards the trailhead. Scott left us once again -- he said he was going to make quick time to get to Lone Star Geyser as he wanted to try and catch an eruption. We had no idea of when it was due to erupt, but Scott was not taking any chances. Perhaps he was worried we were going to force him to eat a Circus Peanut or something. . .

Hugh and I were in mosey mode and we took our time for the next several miles.

Hugh had posted this marker in his report -- A couple from Idaho Falls had been here in September, 1956!

5J5A9638.JPG


It was a lovely day for a hike, and the sun began to peek out from what had been overcast clouds most of the day.

5J5A9640.JPG


Meadow somewhere South of campsite OA3. This should look somewhat familiar -- I think I posted a picture of it from the way out.

5J5A9641.JPG


As we neared civilization I was thinking the window for taking a prize winning picture was dwindling. That was before I caught Hugh examining this scat on the trail though.

5J5A9643.JPG


Next thing I know his Scat Powers took over and he is down on all fours to get a closer look. Look close. . . I think his tongue is out to detect any trace pheromones. :p

5J5A9645.JPG


That one is frame worthy.

Fortunately for Hugh his pack did not push his face down into the scat (like he would have cared!). Fortunately for me he was able to get up unassisted. :)

Next stop was the footbridge that crosses the Firehole River South of Lone Star. We interrupted a ranger crew that was making some repairs to the bridge. Look close at the upper right corner -- you might be able to see the two wheel cart they used to haul some replacement planks down to the bridge.

5J5A9648.JPG


I asked the rangers if they knew when Lone Star was due to erupt. They were not sure but said a large group of people were gathered there when they just walked by. Hearing this I left Hugh behind and put my extra long stride to good use in getting to the geyser. I reached it quickly but as it turns out my stride was not enough to catch the eruption. Instead I was able to see the same whisps of steam that were witnessed on the way out. What are the odds? :)

5J5A9649.JPG


Luckily for Scott he had made it to the geyser in time and was able to catch the eruption. We waited for Hugh to arrive and took one final rest break.

My BCP bottle in front of an out of focus, but steaming Lone Star.

5J5A9655.JPG


As we were finishing up our snack break our ranger friend that we met down in Three Rivers Junction was making her way back to the trailhead. I was very impressed with the full ranger-gear pack she had on. . . there was a hatchet and everything! She said she enjoyed Mr. Bubbles and that she even made it down to the waterfall. Confusion set in once again when I offered her a Circus Peanut and she declined. . . what is wrong with these people? :lol: I know I said I'd not disclose dietary preferences earlier in the post but I don't think I can let this one slide. We wished her well and began to prepare for our last couple miles too.

Hugh and Scott were in full mosey mode at this point. I can almost hear them in this picture discussing our plans for the day hike that was to happen the next day.

5J5A9656.JPG


I on the other hand was in get back to the car mode. I took advantage of my extra long stride once again and began passing folks that had left the geyser tens of minutes ago. I thought for certain that the next picture I'd be posting in this thread would be the group shot of Hugh, Scott, and I at the trailhead. Yellowstone proved to be unpredictable once again as I saw something I cannot recall seeing before on the trail. Can you see the parrot sitting on the guy's shoulder as he is heading down the trial?

5J5A9657.JPG


Do parrots need to be on a leash while in Yellowstone? :thinking:

I was walking so fast that I actually caught up to the backcountry ranger. I snuck this picture. . . check out that saw! The hatchet was strapped to the right side.

5J5A9659.JPG


Rather than pass her by I chose to instead ask her a bunch of questions about what her assignments were like, how much her pack weighed, what the inside of the backcountry cabins were like. . . you know, important stuff. I suppose I was a bit star struck because in another life I'd love to have a job just like hers. She put up with my questions and I think she was a bit relieved when the trail head came into view. . . not because she was finished with her 18ish mile hike. . . but because she'd be finished with me! :)

At the trail head I kept my pack on and waited for Scott and Hugh to arrive. I had my camera setup and waiting. . . once they finally appeared I directed them over to the trailhead sign one last time for this picture.

5J5A9660A.JPG


We had a cabin booked for the night in the Old Faithful area, so after unloading our gear we made the drive over.

Once back in the land of buyable goods Hugh offered me a beer. I have to admit the Cold Smoke was pretty good. . . but there is something in this picture that I found even more amazing.

5J5A9663.JPG


If you tilt your head and squint your eyes it almost looks like the Scatman is smiling. Now I know this is physically impossible. . . but perhaps the combination of Cold Smoke and Moon Cheese made some magic happen. :)

We ordered up a celebratory supper of burgers, sausages, and beers. What a glorious way to finish off a trip report, eh?

KIMG1273.JPG


That more or less concludes our three nights in the backcountry. . . but as you may already know we had a big day hike planned for the next day and I'll be posting a report on that next. Thanks again for following along!
 
Last edited:

TractorDoc

Member
.
Joined
Aug 21, 2018
Messages
236
I love all the pictures, especially the areas of the geyser basin that I’m waaaay too afraid to go to. Thank you for posting them. I look forward to the next report!
Thanks Pringles! I remember reading many of your trip reports that cover some of these same areas. I'd say you have good taste in destinations!
 

TractorDoc

Member
.
Joined
Aug 21, 2018
Messages
236
Great report and awesome photos!

And there should be a specific BCP topic thread called “Scatman Lore”.
Thank You!

Ah, Yes. . . Scatman Lore. I know I've only heard a smidgen of the tales that he could tell. Someday childrens books may be written about the legend of the kilted wanderer. Until then a topic on BCP would be a good start though. :)
 

TractorDoc

Member
.
Joined
Aug 21, 2018
Messages
236
Loving this. Did you run into anyone at Mr. Bubbles? It was a dang party the first evening I went there a couple weeks ago. Probably a dozen people there.
Thanks Jackson.

We more or less had Mr. Bubbles to ourselves. No party, but we did bring along our own adult beverages of choice though. ;)

I'm not sure how you'd fit a dozen people into the pool!
 

scatman

Member
.
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
1,990
Part Two.

Once again I was awake early at campsite 9D1. Neither of my companions were stirring so I thought I'd do some morning exploring on my own. It was cold enough that my swim shorts had frozen on the tree branch I hung them on last night. Even so I grabbed them and headed back towards the Ferris Fork Thermal area and Mr. Bubbles.

Campsite 9D1 sits in a "wedge" between the Phillips and Gregg Forks. A small footbridge spanned the Gregg Fork near its own thermal area. The steam, colors, and sound of rushing water heightened my senses.

View attachment 102807

Campsite 9D1 had an interesting layout. After we had set up camp we saw where the cooking area/pit toilet was between the Phillips and Gregg Forks. In the daylight we could actually see that some campsites were across the little footbridge and on the ground between the Gregg and Ferris Forks. I imagine the extra sites may have been used for larger camping groups.

Signage for 9D1 now that we could see it in the daylight.

View attachment 102808

Another trail marker farther up the Bechler River Trail near the Mr. Bubbles turnoff. I wonder who stole the bolt from the 9D1 plaque?

View attachment 102809

As I approached the Ferris Fork Thermal Area the rising steam provided a good amount of atmosphere. One has to cross a small tributary before reaching Ferris Fork.

View attachment 102810

Ferris Fork before sunrise.

View attachment 102811

The spur trail follows the Ferris Fork and eventually leads you to the star attraction: Mr. Bubbles. From the trail you get an overhead view of the pool, the hot water cascade running down into it from the hillside, and the cool waters of the Ferris Fork that complete the mixture.

View attachment 102812

A view from the opposite side. Ferris Fork is behind me, hot water cascading down on the right.

View attachment 102813

An area of thermal activity downstream from Mr. Bubbles.

View attachment 102814

So who is crazy enough to jump into the water before 7AM in freezing temperatures? This Guy!

View attachment 102816

I dipped the swim shorts into the warm water before changing into them -- made putting them back on much more comfortable. ;)

I soaked and took some pictures/video for the better part of half an hour. I decided I better head back to camp to see what the others were up to, but not before catching some sun rays as they lit up the Ferris Fork.

View attachment 102815

Ferris Fork as seen on the way back to camp with the walls of Bechler Canyon in the distance.

View attachment 102817

When I arrived back at camp I found Scott on his way out for his own morning explorations. While waiting for him to come back Hugh and I had breakfast. I highly recommend the Peak Biscuits and Gravy -- another freeze dried meal I'll be bringing on future trips.

View attachment 102819

Home for a night.

View attachment 102818

When Scott returned we worked on breaking down camp, then said our goodbyes to Hugh as he was heading back North to see if he could find the old trail up to the Pitchstone Plateau. Scott and I would be hanging out in the Three Rivers Junction area for a bit before joining back up with Hugh later in the day. We loaded up our packs but left our food in "bear safe" mode before heading a little farther South down the Bechler River Trail. Our target was campsite was 9B9 -- Hugh said we could get a nice view of Albright Falls and Batchelder Column.

Crossing the Gregg Fork once again on the footbridge. The thermal feature here looks to have its own one man hot tub at the lower left. I did not take advantage of it during out stay.

View attachment 102820

A short distance past 9D1 the Bechler River Trail crosses the Ferris Fork. Before crossing Scott and I walked upstream to get a better view of Ragged Falls.

View attachment 102821

Ragged Falls from the West Bank of Ferris Fork.

View attachment 102822

To continue down the Bechler River Trail we had to cross the Ferris Fork. Trail signage says there is a footbridge. . . can you see it in this picture? :confused:

View attachment 102823

Scott and I made the crossing the old fashioned way. I had left my water shoes back at camp and chose to go it barefoot. The experience was like walking over slippery bowling balls. One portion was knee deep and actually had a decent current to it but we made it across with dry feet. Well, I did anyway. :) Scott had wet shoes a couple times during the trip, this may have been one of those times.

View attachment 102824

A view of Three River Junction a short distance down the trail.

View attachment 102825

As we walked farther into Bechler Canyon we were treated to towering canyon walls, rushing water, and colorful thermal features.

View attachment 102826

View attachment 102827

View attachment 102828

Not far from campsite 9B9 we spotted the backcountry ranger cabin.

View attachment 102829

The mile walk to Campsite 9B9 went quickly.

View attachment 102830

Once there we took in the views of Albright Falls and Batchelder Column. Can you see them?

View attachment 102831

As we left 9B9 I noticed a single person walking ahead of us on the trail and I could see a group of backpackers a distance behind us on the trail. Scott and I caught up to the single person in front of us and were pleased to learn she was a backcountry ranger. Names and dietary preferences omitted to protect the innocent. :) We talked to the ranger about her post -- she was assigned to the cabin for two nights and had arrived yesterday. We told her where we had been thus far and that we'd be headed to 9D3 for the next night. Luckily she did not ask to see our permit as Hugh had it in his pack! She also told us the group of backpackers behind us would be heading up to campsite 9D2 for the night. We thanked her for the information and continued on up the trail.

Scott and I planned to revisit the Ferris Fork Thermal Area/Mr. Bubbles again; I mentioned that it was likely the group of backpackers behind us would be heading there too so if we wanted it to ourselves for a bit we better hurry. He agreed and we quickly moved back across the Ferris Fork to gather up our gear.

Soon we were crossing familiar territory on the spur trail but I was now seeing it in a different light.

View attachment 102832

A fully illuminated Mr. Bubbles.

View attachment 102833

Our strategy worked and we had Mr. Bubbles to ourselves for the better part of 30-45 minutes. While Scott relaxed I worked on getting my souvenir pictures from every possible angle. :)

View attachment 102834

View attachment 102836

My prediction held true and the group of about eight backpackers soon rounded the trail to partake in this indulgent backcountry experience. Scott and I said our hellos and not long after vacated the pool to let the newcomers have their own private experience. We had other plans anyway as once we had stashed our packs we made our way upstream on the Ferris Fork. There were some interesting thermal features up this way, this one in particular reminded me of a smaller version of Dragon Mouth Spring (in the Mud Volcano area).

View attachment 102835

Our goal in heading upstream was to find the first waterfall above Mr. Bubbles. It is a 30 foot drop called Tendoy Falls. Before we reached Tendoy Falls we noted this cascade falling into Ferris Fork from its Eastern Bank. Pretty, but not the falls we were looking for.

View attachment 102865

A little farther upstream we could hear the rushing water and after crossing Ferris Fork we were able to get a nice view of Tendoy Falls -- a proper backcountry waterfall.

View attachment 102866

There are other falls further up Ferris Fork to check out, but Scott and I decided to head back towards Mr. Bubbles. He wanted one last soak and I was going to check out Zealous Spring downstream. I took the high road from Tendoy Falls back towards Mr. Bubbles, Scott followed Ferris Fork. Can you see him?

View attachment 102867

More interesting thermal areas noted on the way back downstream.

View attachment 102869

Zealous Spring sits on the opposite bank of Ferris Fork from Mr. Bubbles. While Scott relaxed I walked up the opposite bank and checked out what I would describe as a miniature version of the Mammoth Terraces. It was bubbling so profusely and emitting so much steam that it was difficult to photograph -- both this morning and now.

A view from downstream.

View attachment 102870

A view from farther downstream.

View attachment 102872

Some mini terraces within the spring.

View attachment 102873

Content with my close up views I headed back to Scott. We knew we better start heading back towards our campsite for the night if we wanted to make it before dark. Reluctantly we packed up and took one last view of this piece of backcountry paradise.

View attachment 102875

On the way out Scott and I crossed paths with our ranger friend once again as she was heading towards Mr. Bubbles. (We told her to come here if she had the chance when we saw her in the morning). We also told her about Tendoy Falls and that she should check it out if time allowed. She only had on a pair of sandals for footwear. . . I was not sure if she'd make it to the waterfall or not.

Once we were back on the main trail we began to ascend the continental divide. . . this time from the other side. It was not long before I was sucking wind again and Scott soon left me behind as he scampered up the trail. I'll blame it on my lack of acclimation; even though he is a fellow flatlander Scott had just spent a number of days( before meeting us) in the Winds so I think he had the advantage. :)

I'll admit to not taking very many pictures during my climb up. All I could find was this rather washed out version of what I thought was a decent hill climb.

View attachment 102876

Luckily the spur to Twister Falls provided a chance to drop my pack and rest. View from the overlook just off the main trail. You can see the difference in sunlight from Hugh's picture in his report as he was here earlier this morning.

View attachment 102877

Past Twister falls the grade did begin to become less severe. Scott was kind enough to wait for me and we covered the next section of trail as a team.

Small cascade along the trail.

View attachment 102878

We passed the group we had met at Mr. Bubbles earlier as they were setting up camp at 9D2. No time to chat as we were eager to get to 9D3. A water crossing with a sturdy footbridge.

View attachment 102879

There may have been a little more uphill close to camp as Scott managed to leave me in his dust again. I could usually see him somewhere ahead of me on the trail but he was really moving.

View attachment 102880

Just before camp we broke out of the trees into this nice meadow. Our campsite would be in another group of trees in the distance.

View attachment 102881
Douglas Knob was on our right. Shadows were getting longer as the sun was getting lower.

View attachment 102882

A look backwards down the trail towards Douglas Knob. Between here and the campsite the trail became quite squishy in places -- a surprise for September.

View attachment 102886

Finally! 9D3. I was very happy to stroll into camp. This was supposed to be an easy day compared to some of the distances we had taken on the days before but it did not feel like it. Perhaps the mileage (or the altitude) was catching up with me. We met up with Hugh and were pleased to hear he had found the origins of the old trail up to the Pitchstone Plateau. Now that he has done the difficult work of finding it we should come back here again to properly explore it (Hint Hint Hugh!).

View attachment 102883

We had supper as the sun dipped below the tree line to the west. It was a rather nice sunset.

View attachment 102884

From an aesthetics standpoint I think I liked the surroundings of campsite 9D3 the best of the three. Sites 8R5 and 9D1 had what was nearby going for them (Shoshone Geyser Basin and Mr. Bubbles, respectively) but the sites themselves did not provide much of a view. 9D3 did and I was certainly glad we were able to get reassigned to this site vs. the OA1 that was originally on our permit. That would not have been much fun.

I slept rather well again this night -- I barely remember rolling around much at all in fact. Tomorrow would be a longer hike out to the trailhead but there would be no rush to get out early. I remember falling asleep to the sound of the wind, it was quite noticeable with the openness of the meadow around us.

End Day 3..

Start Day 4.

Even though it was not necessary Scott and I were up before sunrise once again. It was too dark to take them the night before, so here are a couple pictures of camp in the morning. Sleeping area:

View attachment 102887


Food area with bear pole.

View attachment 102888

The water source for this site had a little waterfall to ensure our water would be fully aerated.

View attachment 102890

A view across the meadow, I thought this cloud had character.

View attachment 102889

We prepared and ate our breakfasts then packed up camp for the last time. The hike out today would be double digit mileage once again but I was feeling refreshed and a lot of our distance would be heading downhill. . . something I excel at. :)

A nice view of the trail shortly after 9D3.

View attachment 102891

Small washes and creeks would need to be crossed. This was still all new territory for us.

View attachment 102892

Hugh was still keeping track of those "I" blazes. I believe he called them his "I" candy in this report.

View attachment 102893

I had to take a picture of this one as I thought it looked nice.

View attachment 102894

It took Scott no time at all to take the lead and disappear into the woods.

View attachment 102895

More trail scenery.

View attachment 102896

We regrouped at this location though. This was the point where we had left the trail on Tuesday. This pic officially marks the spot where we closed the loop of our lollipop. I think I'm starting to master the Scatman smile. :scatman:

View attachment 102921

It was my turn to leave Scott and Hugh behind as we were coming down the divide. They were protecting their knees and I've always been blessed with durable ones that take the shock of descent well. While we were still grouped together we kept asking ourselves "Did we really come up this?"

It did not take long to reach the open area towards the bottom of the divide.

View attachment 102897

And then the trail marker we had passed several days earlier.

View attachment 102898

We stopped to regroup and have a snack break here.

I temped Hugh with the offering of a Circus Peanut and he promptly dropped it into his mouth.

View attachment 102899View attachment 102900View attachment 102901

Scott had been refusing the offer of a circus peanut this entire trip. Even after Hugh's display of gravitational consumption Scott still declined. Truthfully, I found this to be one of the only odd things about Scott during our entire backcountry visit. Who does not like a Circus Peanut? :thinking:

Hugh knows Circus Peanuts are a delicacy though and next he wanted to toss one way up into the air to catch in his mouth. See if you can follow the peanut. :p You may have to click on each picture for a bigger view to see the nut.

View attachment 102903View attachment 102904View attachment 102905View attachment 102906View attachment 102907

Hugh had his version of "I" candy on the trail. I believe it was Scott that said this would be our version of it. :roflmao:

View attachment 102902

No peanuts were harmed in the taking of these pictures. I think Hugh's face may have suffered a hematoma though.

Once the theatrics were over we continued our journey towards the trailhead. Scott left us once again -- he said he was going to make quick time to get to Lone Star Geyser as he wanted to try and catch an eruption. We had no idea of when it was due to erupt, but Scott was not taking any chances. Perhaps he was worried we were going to force him to eat a Circus Peanut or something. . .

Hugh and I were in mosey mode and we took our time for the next several miles.

Hugh had posted this marker in his report -- A couple from Idaho Falls had been here in September, 1956!

View attachment 102908

It was a lovely day for a hike, and the sun began to peek out from what had been overcast clouds most of the day.

View attachment 102909

Meadow somewhere South of campsite OA3. This should look somewhat familiar -- I think I posted a picture of it from the way out.

View attachment 102910

As we neared civilization I was thinking the window for taking a prize winning picture was dwindling. That was before I caught Hugh examining this scat on the trail though.

View attachment 102911

Next thing I know his Scat Powers took over and he is down on all fours to get a closer look. Look close. . . I think his tongue is out to detect any trace pheromones. :p

View attachment 102912

That one is frame worthy.

Fortunately for Hugh his pack did not push his face down into the scat (like he would have cared!). Fortunately for me he was able to get up unassisted. :)

Next stop was the footbridge that crosses the Firehole River South of Lone Star. We interrupted a ranger crew that was making some repairs to the bridge. Look close at the upper left corner -- you might be able to see the two wheel cart they used to haul some replacement planks down to the bridge.

View attachment 102913

I asked the rangers if they knew when Lone Star was due to erupt. They were not sure but said a large group of people were gathered there when they just walked by. Hearing this I left Hugh behind and put my extra long stride to good use in getting to the geyser. I reached it quickly but as it turns out my stride was not enough to catch the eruption. Instead I was able to see the same whisps of steam that were witnessed on the way out. What are the odds? :)

View attachment 102914

Luckily for Scott he had made it to the geyser in time and was able to catch the eruption. We waited for Hugh to arrive and took one final rest break.

My BCP bottle in front of an out of focus, but steaming Lone Star.

View attachment 102915

As we were finishing up our snack break our ranger friend that we met down in Three Rivers Junction was making her way back to the trailhead. I was very impressed with the full ranger-gear pack she had on. . . there was a hatchet and everything! She said she enjoyed Mr. Bubbles and that she even made it down to the waterfall. Confusion set in once again when I offered her a Circus Peanut and she declined. . . what is wrong with these people? :lol: I know I said I'd not disclose dietary preferences earlier in the post but I don't think I can let this one slide. We wished her well and began to prepare for our last couple miles too.

Hugh and Scott were in full mosey mode at this point. I can almost hear them in this picture discussing our plans for the day hike that was to happen the next day.

View attachment 102916

I on the other hand was in get back to the car mode. I took advantage of my extra long stride once again and began passing folks that had left the geyser tens of minutes ago. I thought for certain that the next picture I'd be posting in this thread would be the group shot of Hugh, Scott, and I at the trailhead. Yellowstone proved to be unpredictable once again as I saw something I cannot recall seeing before on the trail. Can you see the parrot sitting on the guy's shoulder as he is heading down the trial?

View attachment 102917

Do parrots need to be on a leash while in Yellowstone? :thinking:

I was walking so fast that I actually caught up to the backcountry ranger. I snuck this picture. . . check out that saw! The hatchet was strapped to the right side.

View attachment 102918

Rather than pass her by I chose to instead ask her a bunch of questions about what her assignments were like, how much her pack weighed, what the inside of the backcountry cabins were like. . . you know, important stuff. I suppose I was a bit star struck because in another life I'd love to have a job just like hers. She put up with my questions and I think she was a bit relieved when the trail head came into view. . . not because she was finished with her 18ish mile hike. . . but because she'd be finished with me! :)

At the trail head I kept my pack on and waited for Scott and Hugh to arrive. I had my camera setup and waiting. . . once they finally appeared I directed them over to the trailhead sign one last time for this picture.

View attachment 102919

We had a cabin booked for the night in the Old Faithful area, so after unloading our gear we made the drive over.

Once back in the land of buyable goods Hugh offered me a beer. I have to admit the Cold Smoke was pretty good. . . but there is something in this picture that I found even more amazing.

View attachment 102920

If you tilt your head and squint your eyes it almost looks like the Scatman is smiling. Now I know this is physically impossible. . . but perhaps the combination of Cold Smoke and Moon Cheese made some magic happen. :)

We ordered up a celebratory supper of burgers, sausages, and beers. What a glorious way to finish off a trip report, eh?

View attachment 102922

That more or less concludes our three nights in the backcountry. . . but as you may already know we had a big day hike planned for the next day and I'll be posting a report on that next. Thanks again for following along!

Hot dog! I've been waiting for this report for months! What took you so long? :D

What a great report Dave. You are gifted in story the telling arena my friend. Your report warmed the cockles of my heart on this snowy day in Salt Lake City.

Thanks for the identification on the different thermal features. I can't keep them all straight in my head.

I'm guessing that Birthday balloon hasn't seen its last trip report. :thinking: He he he.

I've still got a hard lump just below my bottom lip from those circus peanut tosses. I think it might be permanent. :eek: it almost gives me a lisp when I talk.

It wouldn't be a complete trip if I didn't test out the trail scat. I think I was pretty lucky that I was able to get up from that unassisted.

It was fun to see yours and Scott's exploration further down the canyon, and what Mr. Bubbles looked like in the daylight.

I think you better tell all here what you are up to next year, so that there will be enough people to pull me out of the bog on day number two. :)

Bravo again on your report!
 

scatman

Member
.
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
1,990
Great report and awesome photos!

And there should be a specific BCP topic thread called “Scatman Lore”.

There can be no "lore" for someone who stumbles and bumbles his way through life, backpacking and trip reports. "Lore" is reserved for those who are brave, intelligent, and have integrity, qualities that I have never possessed. ;)
 

TractorDoc

Member
.
Joined
Aug 21, 2018
Messages
236
I need to go hiking with you guys
You might just have to! We were originally supposed to have more BCPers joining us but life happens. I brought along the booze to share with everyone, but Scott and I had to split a bottle of a local Bobcat Gold first and I'm not much of a drinker to begin with. Hopefully Scott was able to put the Buffalo Trace to good use!

KIMG1208.JPG
 

TractorDoc

Member
.
Joined
Aug 21, 2018
Messages
236
Hot dog! I've been waiting for this report for months! What took you so long? :D

What a great report Dave. You are gifted in story the telling arena my friend. Your report warmed the cockles of my heart on this snowy day in Salt Lake City.

Thanks for the identification on the different thermal features. I can't keep them all straight in my head.

I'm guessing that Birthday balloon hasn't seen its last trip report. :thinking: He he he.

I've still got a hard lump just below my bottom lip from those circus peanut tosses. I think it might be permanent. :eek: it almost gives me a lisp when I talk.

It wouldn't be a complete trip if I didn't test out the trail scat. I think I was pretty lucky that I was able to get up from that unassisted.

It was fun to see yours and Scott's exploration further down the canyon, and what Mr. Bubbles looked like in the daylight.

I think you better tell all here what you are up to next year, so that there will be enough people to pull me out of the bog on day number two. :)

Bravo again on your report!
As I always say Hugh. . . its all about the trip report! :)

Snow in SLC? Sounds like its time to whip up some of your Scatman Special Chili with Rye Berries!

You've been waiting months? Were we not there in person just a month ago? :thinking: :)

I'll admit to referencing a couple books on some of the thermal features. . . but I know a good portion of them.

At least a birthday balloon is lighter to carry than Fat-Man Pants!

A minor facial deformity is a small price to pay in order to experience the taste of an airborne circus peanut.

I'm just glad you did not scoop up a sample of the scat to take home with you. . . or did you when I was not looking?!!

I vote that we plan a future trip to return to Mr. Bubbles. So you can see it in the daylight. . . and so I can just see it again.

Oh we might just have to advertise our outrageous plan for next year one of these days to see if there is anyone else is crazy enough to make the trek with us. We cannot say they won't have a taste of what they are getting into after reading some of our tall tales. :lol:

It was great to make this trip happen this year with you Hugh. Thanks again for taking a chance on this flatlander and taking him into some areas of the park I'd never dream of travelling to myself. You are a talented guide that has provided me with much Yellowstone Enlightenment. :thumbsup:
 
Last edited:

Jackson

I like to go outside.
.
Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
2,604
Cool to see you went up to Tendoy Falls. I made the exact same decision as you once I got there. The other waterfalls maybe were interesting, but I opted to turn around. Haha. I stayed up high so I didn't get the cool up close shot you did.

Although I ended up covering a bit of the same ground, I'm sad I had to miss out on this one with you guys! Looks like it was a blast.
 
Last edited:

Rockskipper

No ETA
.
Joined
Jun 11, 2017
Messages
3,202
"You may have to click on each picture for a bigger view to see the nut."

Not sure why you'd have to make it bigger - the nut was very clearly visible. (Sorry, that was just too easy.)

Great TR - really enjoyed it. Awesome photos capturing the fall colors, and the writeup was really interesting. I love seeing photos of camp and food and such. Makes it feel more immediate or something.
 

wsp_scott

Member
.
Joined
May 16, 2016
Messages
907
The Buffalo Trace was enjoyed with my sister and her guy back in CO, very appreciated, very not needed :)

Seeing these photos makes me realize how amazing the weather was for our week in Yellowstone. This was a great way to end my Sept in the Rockies, thanks for having me.

P.S. Marshmallows and Circus Peanuts are disgusting :)

P.P.S. Can't wait to do it again, I'm in for the Pitchstone Plateau via Hugh's newly discovered trail
 

kwc

Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
577
Oh we might just have to advertise our outrageous plan for next year one of these days to see if there is anyone else is crazy enough to make the trek with us. We cannot say they won't have a taste of what they are getting into after reading some of our tall tales. :lol:

Now I am truly scared of joining Hugh and his merry band on a Yellowstone adventure. “Be afraid, be very afraid “
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
P Question about going around Shoshone Lake in Yellowstone Trip Planning 0
Joey Backpacking Yellowstone's Shoshone Lake and Mr Bubbles in May Backpacking 14
Bob Shoshone Lake to the South Entrance, Yellowstone Backpacking 5
HomerJ Yellowstone - Shoshone Lake - 2010 Backpacking 8
P Yellowstone Shoshone Geyser Basin trip Backpacking 5
scatman Gneiss Creek Part 2 - Yellowstone National Park - September 18, 2021 Hiking & Camping 0
napatony13 FIRST-TIMER'S YELLOWSTONE TRIP Hiking & Camping 13
scatman Hayden Valley Loop - Yellowstone National Park - September 17, 2021 Hiking & Camping 27
scatman North Pitchstone Trail, Headwaters of Ouzel Creek, Bechler River and Mr. Bubbles(?) - Yellowstone National Park - September 13, 2021 Backpacking 31
TractorDoc Off Trail to Yellowstone's Aster Lake and Upper Witch Creek -- September 13, 2021 Hiking & Camping 12
scatman Gneiss Creek - Yellowstone National Park - September 8, 2021 Backpacking 17
napatony13 YELLOWSTONE-Should I Go? Trip Planning 18
swmalone Yellowstone August 2021 Hiking & Camping 11
scatman Snake River Lollipop Loop - Yellowstone National Park - August 8, 2021 Backpacking 45
chebba87 Invite Looking for partner - Yellowstone late August Meet Up (Members Only) 1
Christo Water availability:Thorofare Yellowstone Trip Planning 4
travel2walk Lamar River, Pelican Valley, & Speciman Ridge loop - Yellowstone, Jun 29 to Jul 3, 2021 Backpacking 15
Bob Yellowstone traffic General Discussion 21
futurafree Yellowstone partners in July Meet Up (Members Only) 0
LarryBoy A Greater Yellowstone Loop - 2020 Trip Reports 18
TheMountainRabbit Invite Greater Yellowstone Area, July 9th-11th Meet Up (Members Only) 0
Bob Yellowstone - Electric Peak visit Backpacking 2
Bob Yellowstone today ...... 4/21/2020 General Discussion 0
forest dweller Grizzly Bear Kills Backcountry Guide Near Yellowstone, Investigators shot and killed the bear after it charged. General Discussion 13
Yvonne Sky Rim Trail, Yellowstone, August 6, 2020 Hiking & Camping 15
BackpackingtheSierras Republic Pass Trail North Absaroka into Yellowstone Cache Creek and Lamar River Trip Planning 1
TheMountainRabbit Southeast Yellowstone Loop (Yellowstone NP) - mid-September 2019 Backpacking 5
forest dweller Invite update / edit - have off second and third week in August - wanting to backpack in Glacier, Olympic or Yellowstone, hinges on finding companions. Meet Up (Members Only) 37
beaver-one Yellowstone advice: Lamar River - Pelican Valley - Mirror Plateau loop this summer Trip Planning 6
IlVagabondo Yellowstone Camping Question General Discussion 13
TheMountainRabbit Lamar River, Mirror Plateau, and Pelican Valley (Yellowstone NP) - mid-September 2020 Backpacking 28
wsp_scott Yellowstone family trip planning General Discussion 27
TractorDoc Yellowstone's Heart Lake -- September 14-17 2020 Backpacking 32
scatman Cache Creek, Yellowstone National Park - September 10, 2020 Backpacking 8
swmalone Yellowstone Camping Trip - August 18-20, 2020 Hiking & Camping 21
scatman Pebble Creek, Yellowstone National Park - August 14, 2020 Backpacking 42
norwegianxplorer Greater Yellowstone part 2, from the Headwaters of Yellowstone River, through the Thorofare, Overlook Mountain, Rampart Creek Backpacking 9
norwegianxplorer Greater Yellowstone, to the headwaters of the Yellowstone River with My Own Frontier. Backpacking 11
TheMountainRabbit Yellowstone NP: Mid-September Options Trip Planning 6
R Invite Yellowstone Backpacking Trip 7/29-8/3 Meet Up (Members Only) 2
U Favorite Yellowstone Gallatin Mtn Area Campsite? Looking at WD5, WE7 and that area Trip Planning 5
W Absaroka Beartooth near Yellowstone Trip Planning 3
Bob Rappelling into the Yellowstone river canyon General Discussion 1
McKee80 Yellowstone backpacking advice Trip Planning 15
Yvonne Sepulcher Mountain Hike, Yellowstone NP, September 2018 Hiking & Camping 2
Yvonne Yellowstone 2020 backcountry hike questions Trip Planning 21
P Question about fording rivers in Yellowstone Trip Planning 10
Yvonne Day Hike to Cache Lake, Yellowstone NP, August 2019 Hiking & Camping 6
WasatchWill Family's First Visit to Yellowstone Hiking & Camping 12
Yvonne Garnet Hill Loop, Yellowstone, August 2019 Hiking & Camping 4

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top