Yellowstone's Wrangler Lake, Bog Creek, Joseph's Coat Springs, Broad Creek, Wapiti Lake, Hot Springs Basin, and Pelican Valley. Part One of Two.

TractorDoc

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.
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Aug 21, 2018
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408
Not long after @scatman and I left Yellowstone in September of 2021 we began planning a trip for September 2022. He must have been desperate for company to let me follow him thru the wilderness again. . . I tend to pull him off course when we travel off-trail, but I like to think my charming wit and personality make up for my lack of compass. I've also been known to bribe my trail mates with tasty snacks so he may had taken that into consideration as well.

We bounced several ideas back and forth in terms of which region of the park to visit as well as what areas we'd like to explore. Hugh has probably been to Yellowstone over 500 times so it can be a challenge to find a place in the park he has not been to. For 2022 we focused on an area East of Canyon that held a lot of unknowns for the both of us. We reserved campsites for four nights: Night one at 4W1 -- Wrangler Lake. Night two at 4B1 -- Joseph's Coat Springs. Nights three and four at 4W2 --Wapiti Lake. My spot in the backcountry lottery was not very early, luckily for us no one else seems to want to visit these areas of the park and I had no problems reserving our campsites. :)

I made things even more interesting for Hugh this year as I'd be bringing along my brother-in-law (Patrick) and good friend (Cody). They have experience with hiking and camping but I think it is safe to say few people truly know what to expect when they accompany Hugh and I into the backcountry. It is also safe to say Hugh had no idea what he was getting into when it came to travelling with Patrick. I hate to spoil the ending but will let everyone know that we made it out alive. Perhaps mentally scarred, but alive. :p

Here is our story in pictures. I've divided the report up into two parts because of the number of photos taken (and I've only resized half the pictures so far). Our trip began on Monday, September 12, 2022 and concluded on Friday, September 16, 2022.

Day One: Monday September 12, 2022.

The goal today was to hike to backcountry campsite 4W1 at Wrangler Lake. This day was designed to be easy so that we might recover a bit from the prior day's 17 mile backcountry hike:

https://backcountrypost.com/threads...arnica-creek-meadows-september-11-2022.10486/

After an Old Faithful buffet breakfast and a somewhat time-consuming car shuttle the four of us found ourselves gearing up at the Wapiti Lake Trailhead. Because Hugh is one with nature a small butterfly (I think it might be a type of Fritillary) used his hand as a perch.

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We took the encounter as a good omen for things to come. . . of course it could have been nothing more than Hugh having some leftover syrup on his thumb from breakfast.

Wapiti Lake Trailhead Map. Because we did not want the day to be too easy we followed the Sour Creek Trail down to Sour Creek. There is a small waterfall just to the East of where the trail meets the creek. After checking it out we crossed the sage flat until reconnecting with the Wapiti Lake Trail.

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An optimistic group at the Wapiti Lake Trailhead. From left to right: @scatman , Cody, @TractorDoc , @CajunPoncho (Patrick).

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Cody and Patrick getting off to a good start.

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Hugh made sure we did not wander off the trail.

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A little haze hovered over the valley this afternoon.

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Patrick and Cody's lead eventually disappeared. Something about me having the map/directions caused them to fall back.

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GoPro Pic on the trail while waiting for Hugh to catch up. Look how everyone is smiling! :)

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Normal people would follow the Wrangler Lake Trail to get to Wrangler Lake. We took a right (went straight) instead.

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Our destination was somewhere in those distant trees.

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After a slightly hot hike we encountered Sour Creek.

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Instead of crossing the creek we followed the trees to the left. The ground suggested the waterfall is no secret and that many others had made their way to it before us.

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A few minutes later a break in the trees revealed a refreshing oasis.

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We were only a couple miles in but the walk thru Hayden Valley was open, exposed, and hot. The surroundings of the waterfall were much more comfortable -- even if it was just psychological.

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Patrick thinking of taking a swim.

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Group Shot.

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Hugh told us we could not go swimming; he said something about us contaminating the park's water supply o_O so it was off to Wrangler Lake instead.

Heading East and up the sage flat towards the Wrangler Lake Trail.

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Sour Creek meandered to our right.

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Walking the line between sage and marshy meadow.

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We followed the low ridge you can see working its way in from the left.

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Bones.

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After about three quarters of a mile of off trail travel we were back on the Wrangler Lake Trail and encountered a small stream crossing.

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It was early in the trip, so pictures were taken of the water crossing. This would be good practice for the days to come. ;)

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Next, a more significant crossing of Sour Creek was necessary to reach Wrangler Lake. This crossing involved a change of footwear.

Considering our options.

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Chilly water felt good on the feet.

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Its deeper than it looks. :)

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Ahhh, Nature. I don't know why, but all I can think of is Cousin Eddy's toilet emptying scene from "Christmas Vacation" when I see Patrick standing across Sour Creek in this picture. Good thing he is not holding a hose. :lol:

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Looking West towards the Yellowstone River.

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After a short break to let our feet dry we were back on the trail.

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Another interesting butterfly. I do not know if it chose to visit Hugh's sticky fingers.

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Patrick and I hiked this trail several years ago and we saw a coyote hunting for ground vermin in this meadow. No coyote today.

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Wrangler Lake!

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Campsite 4W1 is nestled in the trees on the shore of the lake.

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4W1's marker could use some new fasteners.

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Camp was set up quickly. This would be the closest Hugh would ever place his tent to mine (foreground). The sounds of me rolling around on a crinkly air mattress may have caused him to choose more distant sites for the rest of the trip. :)

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Cody investigating Patrick's setup. Patrick claimed that he was going to be Mr. Ultralight during the planning stages of this trip. He even went so far as to cut the handle off his toothbrush. As you can imagine it was quite a surprise to us when we heard a small fan inflating his air mattress. . . I suppose one can only sacrifice so much. :D

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Sun getting low in the sky over lily-pad covered Wrangler Lake. There was no temptation to take a swim here as the muck covered bottom would have been knee deep at a minimum.

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Group photo from supper at Wrangler Lake. It is difficult not to notice the giant utensil in Hugh's right hand. . . that is the infamous "Heavy Spoon" that has had mention in some of the other topics on this forum. For those that do not know, Hugh claims he forgot his titanium spoon when he wedged it in a log during lunch at the headwaters of Alum Creek on our epic day hike. Personally, I feel he planted the spoon in the log the way an explorer plants his flag in a new territory -- claiming it as his own and leaving it for future travelers to find. Whatever his reasoning he was out some cutlery so that evening we stopped at the Old Faithful gift shop to find a replacement. All he could find was a short, plastic spoon or this longer handled metal one. I recommended he borrow a spoon from the Old Faithful buffet the next morning, but if he was set on purchasing one I thought the long handle model would be better. With the short, plastic spoon his fingers would get covered in food bits when eating from the freeze-dried bags. He took my advice, or maybe he flipped a coin. . . either way Hugh ended up taking ownership of the long-handled metal spoon and would bemoan the burden of having to carry it for the remainder of the trip.

You can see how thrilled Hugh is holding the spoon in this picture. Especially while Patrick taunts him by twirling his titanium spoon with minimal effort. :)

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That concludes day one. Day two is where things start to get a little crazy.

Day Two: Tuesday, September 13, 2022.

Today's goal was to navigate our way from Wrangler Lake to campsite 4B1 at Joseph's Coat Hot Springs. As you can see from the map below there is no official NPS trail that directly connects these two areas. . . so we chose to blaze our own. Hugh and I had originally intended to make a side trip to Dewdrop Lake, but we had to cut that part out in order to make it to Joseph's Coat before nightfall. There is always next year. Or the year after. :)

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A hint of color at Sunrise over Wrangler Lake.

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Luckily all of our food did not snap the bear pole in half overnight. The height of the pole at Wapiti is taller than others I've used. . . I had just enough rope to hang my food bag.

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I knew I was having biscuits and gravy this morning. . . but what to drink? :thinking:

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I opted for the Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows. :thumbsup:

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After breakfast/breaking camp we set off into the woods with a heading towards Sour Creek.

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We quickly ran into our first obstacle. You can see the path of least resistance leads us directly to this large bison. The bison was giving Hugh the eye so we went around him vs. making him go around us. Smart move on our part I'd say.

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We emerged from the trees to find ourselves having a "Gladiator" walking thru the wheat field moment.

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Sour Creek straight ahead!

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Another crossing of Sour Creek was needed. I chose the direct route while Hugh, Cody, and Patrick crossed a log downstream.

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Sour Creek winds thru trees and meadows at the base of a large hill that was to our right.

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Hugh capturing the moment.

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The creek banked right up to the forest in many areas and a bushwack thru the trees was necessary.

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Other areas were open and much more forgiving to the foot.

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After a morning of steady hiking we reached our first landmark: Bog Creek. We stopped just upstream of where Bog Creek and Sour Creek meet for a rest. I was impressed with the amount of downfall in Bog Creek -- no easy walk up the stream bed here.

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Part of this year's report will include some video links. Here is a quick one from our arrival at Bog Creek.


Bog Creek holds the honor of hosting one of my favorite pictures from this year's trip. Patrick was in protection mode. . . the question is who is he protecting Cody and I from. . . bears or Hugh? :roflmao:

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For the record that is not a heavy spoon in his mouth.

Sufficiently rested, we hoisted our packs and kept moving. It was at this juncture that the terrain would dictate our path forward. Bog Creek was littered with downfall, so there was no way to navigate up the creek bed. Steep hillsides flanked both sides of Bog Creek and our only choice was to go up, so up we went on the Western side of the creek.

The pictures do not convey just how steep the terrain was. Or at least how steep it seemed to be. :)

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It did not take long for me to start huffing and puffing to try and extract as much oxygen as I could out of the thin air. We climbed into the 8000 feet range -- a bit of a difference from the 1000 feet I was used to back home. I would look up, focus on a tree, rock, etc. and give it all I had to get to that point. Then I would stop for 10 seconds or so to catch my breath. This was all while still climbing over down trees and doing my best not to tumble down the hillside.

A hazy view down into the valley that holds Sour Creek.

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The terrain did level out eventually. . .

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But the number of down trees never decreased.

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Bog Creek flows thru a nice little canyon. I don't like heights, so I did not dare get close to the edge to look down.

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The canyon edge did have fewer trees and that allowed for some easier walking.

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A cool piece of obsidian on the ground.

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Eventually we saw light at the end of the tunnel of trees in the form of bleached ground along the banks of Bog Creek.

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The next portion of our day's hike -- as we walked along Bog Creek -- was one of the things I enjoyed most about this year's trip. I had contemplated visiting this area for a number of years and was quite pleased to see the area in person. The overcast sky gave way to a little sunshine as we progressed and that helped put some blue back on the horizon.

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Looking upstream.

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Looking downstream to Hugh, Cody, and Patrick. In hindsight we probably should have wandered downstream a bit to see what was around that corner, but we were burning daylight so upstream we went. There is always next year. Or the year after.

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As one progresses up Bog Creek hot springs become more numerous along the banks.

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A look back downstream.

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The main channel of Bog Creek continues to the right of the central clump of trees. We followed what looked like thermal runoff up to the left.

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The volume of water on this tributary was much less, but much more colorful.

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The water put off a good amount of heat as well!

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A closer look at the thermal creek bed.

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An even closer look. Hot water was bubbling from the hole in the ground just above the dark brown streak.

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A lot of the next group of pictures will look very similar. . . but I like thermal stuff so I'm posting them. :)

More thermal creek bed.

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The thermal regions eventually take over the hillsides along the little creek.

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This area looked dormant but still had plenty of yellow sulfur vents gently letting off steam.

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The colors of the earth and pines complement each other nicely.

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Zoomed in on several of the sulfur caves.

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These guys don't look too impressed. . . but how could they not be?

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This appeared to be the most active area in terms of thermal features. I've read that the features around Bog Creek are very acid with a potential pH of 1 so I kept my distance even though I was eager to get a closer look.

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Look at that steam. . . so tempting to see where it is coming from!

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Wide view of the thermal hillside.

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We would work our way up a hill opposite the thermal area for a lunch break.

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As we climbed the hill a better view was available of the thermal "bowl" below us.

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Still climbing.

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A look back down the thermal valley.

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In case you did not get enough of Bog Creek from the pictures, here is a video of the creek and thermal areas that I pieced together. Don't judge me on my cinematography and editing skills. . . I'm a novice at this sort of stuff.


So that brings us to lunch. I know I was a little tired by this time and I bet Patrick and Cody were too. Hugh never gets tired, but he does need to stop and apply sunscreen now and again, so it was a win for everyone. We found ourselves a nice sitting area and took a well-deserved rest. This is what the scene looked like. I did not realize Hugh's legs were sprouting out of my ear.

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Luckily, I always take a second picture for good measure. :thumbsup:

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You'll notice Patrick looking a little uneasy in that previous image. His appearance is not without just cause. You see, by this time all of us were beginning to feel the weight of the extra food we had packed with us, and everyone was offering up to the group some of the denser items from their pantry to try and lighten the load going forward. Except for Hugh that is. He has hiked with me long enough now to know that I always pack extra, so he compensates by packing less and takes advantage of my overindulgence.

Patrick decided to make himself a burrito. A little bit of everything went into that burrito, and before long it was larger than anything coming out of a Chipotle. Here he is eagerly taking his first bite.

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Patrick kept biting and chewing. I think Hugh was starting to feel uneasy.

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A close up of the contents of the burrito.

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I believe at this moment Patrick is rethinking his choices. Either that or he is wishing he had some sauce. :p Cody was still trying to peddle his energy bars at this time, so I ate one.

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Patrick, feeling the grit of smashed up Cheeze-its and almonds as they scratched their way down his esophagus.

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I would have liked to hang out at the thermal area the rest of the afternoon, but there was a long way to go to get to our camp for the night. Once everyone had sufficiently snacked and hydrated themselves, we headed off into the trees once more. There was another small thermal region Northwest of Bog Creek I had noticed on Google Earth and Hugh was gracious enough to plot us a path to it. It did not take long to reach; we emerged from the trees to find this bubbling hot spring. You had a preview of it on the little video from earlier. If you managed to watch the entire video that is. ;)

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The hot spring had a much cooler neighbor.

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Hugh's course took us past several areas of somewhat dormant thermal ground.

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Then it was back into the trees towards the large pond South of the Moss Creek backcountry campsite.

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The next couple of miles were rather woodsy, so I did not take many pictures. We did come across this interesting small hillside spring.

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Not much of a view going forward. No offense Hugh and Cody.

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A little open relief as we neared the pond.

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Small pond visible thru the trees. Hugh had planned this as a potential water filling point, but the shore was too mucky to allow access to good water.

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Hugh liked this pond enough to have his picture taken by it. It had everything he looked for in a stagnant body of water. :)

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The next landmark after the pond was actually the Wapiti Lake Trail. Psychologically it was nice to encounter the trail even though we simply crossed over it -- at least we knew we were travelling in the correct direction. The trail has its own burden of downfall to deal with it seems.

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The campsite at Joseph's Coat Hot Springs has no official trail leading to it. Lucky for us Hugh has his trusty GPS to lead the way. An @scatman adventure cannot be labeled as "epic" unless there is the occasional incidence of hemorrhage.

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I'd say that Hugh led us back into the trees. . . but we never really left the forest since leaving the thermal areas.

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The occasional grassy patch was a walking treat.

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I could not tell if Hugh was just tired or if he was working on his macrophotography here. We just kept kicking him until he got up. :D

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When we did emerge from the forest our group found ourselves at a small tributary that drains into Broad Creek. Hugh's route took us North of our campsite so that we might get a look at Joseph's Coat this evening. Tomorrow's weather forecast called for rain and he was not sure what visibility would be like.

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The tributary had many small waterfalls. . .

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And thermal features associated with it.

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The trees gave way to open hillsides painted with color.

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That is not a trail marker you see back there!

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As the tributary approached Broad Creek the hillsides became even more colorful.

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Broad Creek on the right. The steam is rising from a vigorous hot spring. I think it is simply called "Spring Number 2."

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Our campsite is on the other side of those trees on top of the hill. I believe Patrick thought I was joking when I told him we had to climb the hill to get to camp.

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Patrick still not believing me at this point.

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Making my approach. Broad Creek is quite scenic here.

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Reality is setting in for Patrick. Cody is following me up the hill.

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A pleasant backdrop for @scatman in Mosey Mode.

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Almost there Patrick!

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Campsite 4B1 is not very well designated with signage. Luckily there is a large bison skull at the fire pit to guide you in.

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We quickly set up camp and by supper time it was dark. Hugh asked us why we set our tents up so close to the eating area. We told him that we thought it would be a better spot than near the elk carcass we passed on the way in. Hugh had not seen the carcass and had set his tent up not far from it. As far as I know he never did move his tent any closer to us. I guess he'd rather smell elk carcass than listen to me roll around on my sleeping pad all night. :)

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Day Two was an exhausting but enjoyable (for me!) day. Hugh and I were able to see some new-to-us territory. I already have a strong desire to go back and revisit some of the areas along Bog Creek -- perhaps in a way that is less intense that allows more time to take in the surroundings. I think Patrick and Cody were still happy to be along for the trip. They put in a good effort thus far and did very well considering what was asked of them. As Hugh would say, I believe Morale was still high at this point in the journey. :thumbsup:

With that we will end Part One of this grand adventure. There are still three days to go, but one or two of those days have slightly less pictures due to events I have yet to disclose. I'll leave you with one last view of Joseph's Coat and Broad Creek. . . hope you've enjoyed what you have seen so far.

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Janice

Member
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Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
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Not long after @scatman and I left Yellowstone in September of 2021 we began planning a trip for September 2022. He must have been desperate for company to let me follow him thru the wilderness again. . . I tend to pull him off course when we travel off-trail, but I like to think my charming wit and personality make up for my lack of compass. I've also been known to bribe my trail mates with tasty snacks so he may had taken that into consideration as well.

We bounced several ideas back and forth in terms of which region of the park to visit as well as what areas we'd like to explore. Hugh has probably been to Yellowstone over 500 times so it can be a challenge to find a place in the park he has not been to. For 2022 we focused on an area East of Canyon that held a lot of unknowns for the both of us. We reserved campsites for four nights: Night one at 4W1 -- Wrangler Lake. Night two at 4B1 -- Joseph's Coat Springs. Nights three and four at 4W2 --Wapiti Lake. My spot in the backcountry lottery was not very early, luckily for us no one else seems to want to visit these areas of the park and I had no problems reserving our campsites. :)

I made things even more interesting for Hugh this year as I'd be bringing along my brother-in-law (Patrick) and good friend (Cody). They have experience with hiking and camping but I think it is safe to say few people truly know what to expect when they accompany Hugh and I into the backcountry. It is also safe to say Hugh had no idea what he was getting into when it came to travelling with Patrick. I hate to spoil the ending but will let everyone know that we made it out alive. Perhaps mentally scarred, but alive. :p

Here is our story in pictures. I've divided the report up into two parts because of the number of photos taken (and I've only resized half the pictures so far). Our trip began on Monday, September 12, 2022 and concluded on Friday, September 16, 2022.

Day One: Monday September 12, 2022.

The goal today was to hike to backcountry campsite 4W1 at Wrangler Lake. This day was designed to be easy so that we might recover a bit from the prior day's 17 mile backcountry hike:

https://backcountrypost.com/threads...arnica-creek-meadows-september-11-2022.10486/

After an Old Faithful buffet breakfast and a somewhat time-consuming car shuttle the four of us found ourselves gearing up at the Wapiti Lake Trailhead. Because Hugh is one with nature a small butterfly (I think it might be a type of Fritillary) used his hand as a perch.

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We took the encounter as a good omen for things to come. . . of course it could have been nothing more than Hugh having some leftover syrup on his thumb from breakfast.

Wapiti Lake Trailhead Map. Because we did not want the day to be too easy we followed the Sour Creek Trail down to Sour Creek. There is a small waterfall just to the East of where the trail meets the creek. After checking it out we crossed the sage flat until reconnecting with the Wapiti Lake Trail.

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An optimistic group at the Wapiti Lake Trailhead. From left to right: @scatman , Cody, @TractorDoc , @CajunPoncho (Patrick).

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Cody and Patrick getting off to a good start.

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Hugh made sure we did not wander off the trail.

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A little haze hovered over the valley this afternoon.

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Patrick and Cody's lead eventually disappeared. Something about me having the map/directions caused them to fall back.

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GoPro Pic on the trail while waiting for Hugh to catch up. Look how everyone is smiling! :)

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Normal people would follow the Wrangler Lake Trail to get to Wrangler Lake. We took a right (went straight) instead.

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Our destination was somewhere in those distant trees.

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After a slightly hot hike we encountered Sour Creek.

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Instead of crossing the creek we followed the trees to the left. The ground suggested the waterfall is no secret and that many others had made their way to it before us.

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A few minutes later a break in the trees revealed a refreshing oasis.

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We were only a couple miles in but the walk thru Hayden Valley was open, exposed, and hot. The surroundings of the waterfall were much more comfortable -- even if it was just psychological.

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Patrick thinking of taking a swim.

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Group Shot.

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Hugh told us we could not go swimming; he said something about us contaminating the park's water supply o_O so it was off to Wrangler Lake instead.

Heading East and up the sage flat towards the Wrangler Lake Trail.

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Sour Creek meandered to our right.

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Walking the line between sage and marshy meadow.

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We followed the low ridge you can see working its way in from the left.

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Bones.

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After about three quarters of a mile of off trail travel we were back on the Wrangler Lake Trail and encountered a small stream crossing.

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It was early in the trip, so pictures were taken of the water crossing. This would be good practice for the days to come. ;)

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Next, a more significant crossing of Sour Creek was necessary to reach Wrangler Lake. This crossing involved a change of footwear.

Considering our options.

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Chilly water felt good on the feet.

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Its deeper than it looks. :)

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Ahhh, Nature. I don't know why, but all I can think of is Cousin Eddy's toilet emptying scene from "Christmas Vacation" when I see Patrick standing across Sour Creek in this picture. Good thing he is not holding a hose. :lol:

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Looking West towards the Yellowstone River.

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After a short break to let our feet dry we were back on the trail.

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Another interesting butterfly. I do not know if it chose to visit Hugh's sticky fingers.

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Patrick and I hiked this trail several years ago and we saw a coyote hunting for ground vermin in this meadow. No coyote today.

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Wrangler Lake!

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Campsite 4W1 is nestled in the trees on the shore of the lake.

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4W1's marker could use some new fasteners.

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Camp was set up quickly. This would be the closest Hugh would ever place his tent to mine (foreground). The sounds of me rolling around on a crinkly air mattress may have caused him to choose more distant sites for the rest of the trip. :)

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Cody investigating Patrick's setup. Patrick claimed that he was going to be Mr. Ultralight during the planning stages of this trip. He even went so far as to cut the handle off his toothbrush. As you can imagine it was quite a surprise to us when we heard a small fan inflating his air mattress. . . I suppose one can only sacrifice so much. :D

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Sun getting low in the sky over lily-pad covered Wrangler Lake. There was no temptation to take a swim here as the muck covered bottom would have been knee deep at a minimum.

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Group photo from supper at Wrangler Lake. It is difficult not to notice the giant utensil in Hugh's right hand. . . that is the infamous "Heavy Spoon" that has had mention in some of the other topics on this forum. For those that do not know, Hugh claims he forgot his titanium spoon when he wedged it in a log during lunch at the headwaters of Alum Creek on our epic day hike. Personally, I feel he planted the spoon in the log the way an explorer plants his flag in a new territory -- claiming it as his own and leaving it for future travelers to find. Whatever his reasoning he was out some cutlery so that evening we stopped at the Old Faithful gift shop to find a replacement. All he could find was a short, plastic spoon or this longer handled metal one. I recommended he borrow a spoon from the Old Faithful buffet the next morning, but if he was set on purchasing one I thought the long handle model would be better. With the short, plastic spoon his fingers would get covered in food bits when eating from the freeze-dried bags. He took my advice, or maybe he flipped a coin. . . either way Hugh ended up taking ownership of the long-handled metal spoon and would bemoan the burden of having to carry it for the remainder of the trip.

You can see how thrilled Hugh is holding the spoon in this picture. Especially while Patrick taunts him by twirling his titanium spoon with minimal effort. :)

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That concludes day one. Day two is where things start to get a little crazy.

Day Two: Tuesday, September 13, 2022.

Today's goal was to navigate our way from Wrangler Lake to campsite 4B1 at Joseph's Coat Hot Springs. As you can see from the map below there is no official NPS trail that directly connects these two areas. . . so we chose to blaze our own. Hugh and I had originally intended to make a side trip to Dewdrop Lake, but we had to cut that part out in order to make it to Joseph's Coat before nightfall. There is always next year. Or the year after. :)

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A hint of color at Sunrise over Wrangler Lake.

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Luckily all of our food did not snap the bear pole in half overnight. The height of the pole at Wapiti is taller than others I've used. . . I had just enough rope to hang my food bag.

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I knew I was having biscuits and gravy this morning. . . but what to drink? :thinking:

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I opted for the Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows. :thumbsup:

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After breakfast/breaking camp we set off into the woods with a heading towards Sour Creek.

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We quickly ran into our first obstacle. You can see the path of least resistance leads us directly to this large bison. The bison was giving Hugh the eye so we went around him vs. making him go around us. Smart move on our part I'd say.

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We emerged from the trees to find ourselves having a "Gladiator" walking thru the wheat field moment.

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Sour Creek straight ahead!

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Another crossing of Sour Creek was needed. I chose the direct route while Hugh, Cody, and Patrick crossed a log downstream.

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Sour Creek winds thru trees and meadows at the base of a large hill that was to our right.

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Hugh capturing the moment.

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The creek banked right up to the forest in many areas and a bushwack thru the trees was necessary.

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Other areas were open and much more forgiving to the foot.

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After a morning of steady hiking we reached our first landmark: Bog Creek. We stopped just upstream of where Bog Creek and Sour Creek meet for a rest. I was impressed with the amount of downfall in Bog Creek -- no easy walk up the stream bed here.

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Part of this year's report will include some video links. Here is a quick one from our arrival at Bog Creek.


Bog Creek holds the honor of hosting one of my favorite pictures from this year's trip. Patrick was in protection mode. . . the question is who is he protecting Cody and I from. . . bears or Hugh? :roflmao:

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For the record that is not a heavy spoon in his mouth.

Sufficiently rested, we hoisted our packs and kept moving. It was at this juncture that the terrain would dictate our path forward. Bog Creek was littered with downfall, so there was no way to navigate up the creek bed. Steep hillsides flanked both sides of Bog Creek and our only choice was to go up, so up we went on the Western side of the creek.

The pictures do not convey just how steep the terrain was. Or at least how steep it seemed to be. :)

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It did not take long for me to start huffing and puffing to try and extract as much oxygen as I could out of the thin air. We climbed into the 8000 feet range -- a bit of a difference from the 1000 feet I was used to back home. I would look up, focus on a tree, rock, etc. and give it all I had to get to that point. Then I would stop for 10 seconds or so to catch my breath. This was all while still climbing over down trees and doing my best not to tumble down the hillside.

A hazy view down into the valley that holds Sour Creek.

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The terrain did level out eventually. . .

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But the number of down trees never decreased.

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Bog Creek flows thru a nice little canyon. I don't like heights, so I did not dare get close to the edge to look down.

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The canyon edge did have fewer trees and that allowed for some easier walking.

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A cool piece of obsidian on the ground.

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Eventually we saw light at the end of the tunnel of trees in the form of bleached ground along the banks of Bog Creek.

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The next portion of our day's hike -- as we walked along Bog Creek -- was one of the things I enjoyed most about this year's trip. I had contemplated visiting this area for a number of years and was quite pleased to see the area in person. The overcast sky gave way to a little sunshine as we progressed and that helped put some blue back on the horizon.

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Looking upstream.

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Looking downstream to Hugh, Cody, and Patrick. In hindsight we probably should have wandered downstream a bit to see what was around that corner, but we were burning daylight so upstream we went. There is always next year. Or the year after.

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As one progresses up Bog Creek hot springs become more numerous along the banks.

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A look back downstream.

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The main channel of Bog Creek continues to the right of the central clump of trees. We followed what looked like thermal runoff up to the left.

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The volume of water on this tributary was much less, but much more colorful.

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The water put off a good amount of heat as well!

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A closer look at the thermal creek bed.

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An even closer look. Hot water was bubbling from the hole in the ground just above the dark brown streak.

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A lot of the next group of pictures will look very similar. . . but I like thermal stuff so I'm posting them. :)

More thermal creek bed.

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The thermal regions eventually take over the hillsides along the little creek.

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This area looked dormant but still had plenty of yellow sulfur vents gently letting off steam.

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The colors of the earth and pines complement each other nicely.

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Zoomed in on several of the sulfur caves.

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These guys don't look too impressed. . . but how could they not be?

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This appeared to be the most active area in terms of thermal features. I've read that the features around Bog Creek are very acid with a potential pH of 1 so I kept my distance even though I was eager to get a closer look.

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Look at that steam. . . so tempting to see where it is coming from!

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Wide view of the thermal hillside.

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We would work our way up a hill opposite the thermal area for a lunch break.

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As we climbed the hill a better view was available of the thermal "bowl" below us.

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Still climbing.

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A look back down the thermal valley.

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In case you did not get enough of Bog Creek from the pictures, here is a video of the creek and thermal areas that I pieced together. Don't judge me on my cinematography and editing skills. . . I'm a novice at this sort of stuff.


So that brings us to lunch. I know I was a little tired by this time and I bet Patrick and Cody were too. Hugh never gets tired, but he does need to stop and apply sunscreen now and again, so it was a win for everyone. We found ourselves a nice sitting area and took a well-deserved rest. This is what the scene looked like. I did not realize Hugh's legs were sprouting out of my ear.

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Luckily, I always take a second picture for good measure. :thumbsup:

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You'll notice Patrick looking a little uneasy in that previous image. His appearance is not without just cause. You see, by this time all of us were beginning to feel the weight of the extra food we had packed with us, and everyone was offering up to the group some of the denser items from their pantry to try and lighten the load going forward. Except for Hugh that is. He has hiked with me long enough now to know that I always pack extra, so he compensates by packing less and takes advantage of my overindulgence.

Patrick decided to make himself a burrito. A little bit of everything went into that burrito, and before long it was larger than anything coming out of a Chipotle. Here he is eagerly taking his first bite.

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Patrick kept biting and chewing. I think Hugh was starting to feel uneasy.

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A close up of the contents of the burrito.

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I believe at this moment Patrick is rethinking his choices. Either that or he is wishing he had some sauce. :p Cody was still trying to peddle his energy bars at this time, so I ate one.

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Patrick, feeling the grit of smashed up Cheeze-its and almonds as they scratched their way down his esophagus.

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I would have liked to hang out at the thermal area the rest of the afternoon, but there was a long way to go to get to our camp for the night. Once everyone had sufficiently snacked and hydrated themselves, we headed off into the trees once more. There was another small thermal region Northwest of Bog Creek I had noticed on Google Earth and Hugh was gracious enough to plot us a path to it. It did not take long to reach; we emerged from the trees to find this bubbling hot spring. You had a preview of it on the little video from earlier. If you managed to watch the entire video that is. ;)

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The hot spring had a much cooler neighbor.

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Hugh's course took us past several areas of somewhat dormant thermal ground.

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Then it was back into the trees towards the large pond South of the Moss Creek backcountry campsite.

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The next couple of miles were rather woodsy, so I did not take many pictures. We did come across this interesting small hillside spring.

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Not much of a view going forward. No offense Hugh and Cody.

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A little open relief as we neared the pond.

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Small pond visible thru the trees. Hugh had planned this as a potential water filling point, but the shore was too mucky to allow access to good water.

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Hugh liked this pond enough to have his picture taken by it. It had everything he looked for in a stagnant body of water. :)

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The next landmark after the pond was actually the Wapiti Lake Trail. Psychologically it was nice to encounter the trail even though we simply crossed over it -- at least we knew we were travelling in the correct direction. The trail has its own burden of downfall to deal with it seems.

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The campsite at Joseph's Coat Hot Springs has no official trail leading to it. Lucky for us Hugh has his trusty GPS to lead the way. An @scatman adventure cannot be labeled as "epic" unless there is the occasional incidence of hemorrhage.

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I'd say that Hugh led us back into the trees. . . but we never really left the forest since leaving the thermal areas.

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The occasional grassy patch was a walking treat.

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I could not tell if Hugh was just tired or if he was working on his macrophotography here. We just kept kicking him until he got up. :D

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When we did emerge from the forest our group found ourselves at a small tributary that drains into Broad Creek. Hugh's route took us North of our campsite so that we might get a look at Joseph's Coat this evening. Tomorrow's weather forecast called for rain and he was not sure what visibility would be like.

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The tributary had many small waterfalls. . .

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And thermal features associated with it.

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The trees gave way to open hillsides painted with color.

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That is not a trail marker you see back there!

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As the tributary approached Broad Creek the hillsides became even more colorful.

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Broad Creek on the right. The steam is rising from a vigorous hot spring. I think it is simply called "Spring Number 2."

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Our campsite is on the other side of those trees on top of the hill. I believe Patrick thought I was joking when I told him we had to climb the hill to get to camp.

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Patrick still not believing me at this point.

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Making my approach. Broad Creek is quite scenic here.

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Reality is setting in for Patrick. Cody is following me up the hill.

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A pleasant backdrop for @scatman in Mosey Mode.

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Almost there Patrick!

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Campsite 4B1 is not very well designated with signage. Luckily there is a large bison skull at the fire pit to guide you in.

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We quickly set up camp and by supper time it was dark. Hugh asked us why we set our tents up so close to the eating area. We told him that we thought it would be a better spot than near the elk carcass we passed on the way in. Hugh had not seen the carcass and had set his tent up not far from it. As far as I know he never did move his tent any closer to us. I guess he'd rather smell elk carcass than listen to me roll around on my sleeping pad all night. :)

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Day Two was an exhausting but enjoyable (for me!) day. Hugh and I were able to see some new-to-us territory. I already have a strong desire to go back and revisit some of the areas along Bog Creek -- perhaps in a way that is less intense that allows more time to take in the surroundings. I think Patrick and Cody were still happy to be along for the trip. They put in a good effort thus far and did very well considering what was asked of them. As Hugh would say, I believe Morale was still high at this point in the journey. :thumbsup:

With that we will end Part One of this grand adventure. There are still three days to go, but one or two of those days have slightly less pictures due to events I have yet to disclose. I'll leave you with one last view of Joseph's Coat and Broad Creek. . . hope you've enjoyed what you have seen so far.

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Great scenery and descriptions. Thanks!
 

TractorDoc

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kwc

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@TractorDoc , how long did it take you to hike from Wrangler Lake to Joseph’s Coat? And if you were to visit Bog Creek and it’s thermal areas, what might be your route?

Your photos are great! I love multi-part adventure stories … :)

And how different will Hugh’s version of this trip be? And will you including interviews with Cody and Patrick with their post trip thoughts?
 

scatman

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@TractorDoc , how long did it take you to hike from Wrangler Lake to Joseph’s Coat? And if you were to visit Bog Creek and it’s thermal areas, what might be your route?

Your photos are great! I love multi-part adventure stories … :)

And how different will Hugh’s version of this trip be? And will you including interviews with Cody and Patrick with their post trip thoughts?

My version will lean towards the more accurate telling of our trek. :D
 

Rockskipper

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So, you're saying they're going to feature all your tumbles down the muddy stream banks while wearing a kilt?
 

TractorDoc

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@TractorDoc , how long did it take you to hike from Wrangler Lake to Joseph’s Coat?
My tracker app on Gaia GPS provided a time of 8 hours and 41 minutes. That was with rest breaks.

And if you were to visit Bog Creek and it’s thermal areas, what might be your route?
I can tell you there is no easy way to get there. An approach from the South would have to be something similar to what we accomplished. I suppose one could base camp at Moss Creek and attempt to drop in from the North, but you are walking thru miles and miles of forest before you get to see anything interesting. Downfall is present no matter which way one approaches. It will be a long day no matter the route.

Your photos are great! I love multi-part adventure stories … :)
:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

And how different will Hugh’s version of this trip be?
Apparently very different. See his quote below. :)
My version will lean towards the more accurate telling of our trek.

And will you including interviews with Cody and Patrick with their post trip thoughts?
I'm sure Patrick will speak for himself -- he has since joined the forum and is now known as @CajunPoncho .

Cody said he'd be interested in coming back with us again. . . but maybe if the intensity level was down a notch. I don't blame him this year. We spent a lot of our day moving from point A to B. I'd like to explore some of the more interesting side features next time.

Will there be a movie?
@Rockskipper -- Did you not watch the video? :p
 

Ugly

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Enjoying it so far... the idea of mentally scarring leaves me with a sense of foreboding.
Lots of great details and colors so far. I need to get to Yellowstone for sure.
 

scatman

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So, you're saying they're going to feature all your tumbles down the muddy stream banks while wearing a kilt?

I think you might need to be the casting agent for this one Skipper.

Whose going to play Scatman? Clearly someone who is charming, dapper in a kilt, ruggedly handsome is a must of course, an edgy sense of humor helps, and perhaps light on his feet. You know, the strong silent type. :D I'm thinking a young Bob Redford would do the trick. You know by now that his friends can call him Bob, don't you? :) I think a young Bobby De Niro would make an excellent choice for @TractorDoc. :thumbsup: Yes, Bobby and I are friends too. Just drop my name and I'm sure he'll accept your offer. We need the Bobby from the Deer Hunter though, serious with leadership qualities. You know, helps his friends out when they are in a pickle, not kicking them when they are down so to speak. :D One shot!

I'll have to give some more thought to who will play Cody and Patrick in the film. I trust your instincts though, so if you have two people in mind, go for it. :thumbsup:

If I recall correctly, and that is a big if, we saw only one other person once we entered the backcountry, as we were nearing Wrangler Lake. Any character actor will do for that gentleman.

I don't want this filmed in Georgia, or Quebec. this needs to be made in Jellystone itself if it is to be believable to critics and audiences alike. Twist some arms in the Park Service to make it happen. I know you have pull in those circles. This just might be a blockbuster! I'll start working on my Oscar's speech immediately. :p Should I wear a kilt to the ceremony?
 

scatman

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Well, well, well Mr. @TractorDoc, now that I've had 24 hours to digest this two day smorgasbord, I feel that it's time to set the record straight. :D

Great report Dave! You really need to write a book you know. Maybe after you get a few more Yellowstone trips under your belt, you'll have enough material to fill a good sized book. I can see it now - Yellowstone Tales on the best seller list. I know I'd purchase a copy - maybe even two. Of course, a signed copy would be treasured for the rest of my life. :) I could keep it between my Scatman bottle opener and my ceramic grizzly bear, bookended by two old Howard Eaton Trail Markers of course. :)

You've captured just about everything the first two days had to offer. You might mention the water from both Sour and Bog Creeks, as far as drinking from them was concerned.

I was so happy that our first day was a short one, because my body was very tired from our day hike the day before. You, Cody, and Patrick probably couldn't tell, but it is true. :) If it had been an 8 -10 mile day, I wouldn't have made it to Josephs Coat the next day. :moses: You guys would have had to bury me with my nonexistent shovel somewhere along Bog Creek. Or just tossed me into one of the acidic pools perhaps.

On my tent locations, I'm only looking for flat ground. Who I'm near or not near never enters the equation. Carcasses are a plus though, and not setting up in the food prep/eating area is in there somewhere. If you take the derivative of the square of the distance between the elk carcass and the official, established fire pit, you'll see I set up in the precise correct location on night number two. Grizzlies would be confused by the scent of the carcass and the previous campers food scents being equidistant from my tent. It's similar to an eye of a hurricane you see. No Scatman scent in the eye of the scents so to speak. :D

Speaking of tired. Do you know how much energy it took to hold up that heavy spoon in order to get the group shot on the first night? Calories were burned my friend. If the spoon had fallen to my left, it would have crushed @CajunPoncho's knee. Heavy spoons are not to be trifled with.

Your shot of Wrangler Lake on our second morning is a keeper. It almost makes me want to spend another night at the lake. Be sure and put that one in the book.

On to day number two.

The bison blocking our path to our Sour Creek approach meant business. Normally, as you know, I just wave them off, but just as the one we ran across in Hayden Valley with @wsp_scott last year, this one deserved our respect, and thus a wide berth.

I knew the portion of Sour Creek we hiked and Bog Creek were going to be rough, after my trek down Sour Creek to Wrangler years ago. No way around it, but it was nice to know that I could still get it done. That might have been my last major bushwhack. :( Time will tell I guess.

I think that Patrick is protecting you guys from the ghosts of downfall present, past and future. I've already made my peace with the ghosts, but it can be a long process. A few more rounds of bushwhacking and you three won't feel the need for protection anymore. :)

The climb out of Bog Creek was grueling. I was this close to giving in to the heavy spoon on that climb I'll tell you.

The thermal areas in the vicinity of Bog Creek were nice to visit. I'm guessing that not too many people work their way back in there. I sure would like to see Dewdrop Lake before I die though. Maybe next time? It seems as though it is slipping from my reach for some reason. :scatman:

The pictures of Patrick dealing with his burrito just make me laugh out loud. His, "It needs some sauce!" still makes me chuckle to myself when I think about it. Your description it is wonderful.

I must say that unnamed pond 8512 might be the best looking pond in Yellowstone. A day by that pond would do wonders for my health no doubt.

I agree 100% that it was good to see the Wapiti Lake Trail, even if our day wasn't yet complete at that point. A mental boost for sure.

You'd think that I'd take better macro shots with all my training being so close to the ground. I guess I'll never learn. :) I guess a thank you is in order for kicking me back to consciousness. :D You know the ground comes up fast, especially if you are carrying a heavy spoon.

Jospeh's Coat Springs was as spectacular as I remembered it. I really enjoyed the campsite that is close to the thermal area. It was the first time I had stayed there. I actually thought the whole Broad Creek area was worth our time, not just the part that flows through Joseph's Coat.

Dave, I'm going to fast until you put up Part II to this trip, so don't let me lose too much weight, eh. Up to 20 pounds is okay. :D


Excellent job!
 
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Rockskipper

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As Casting Director, I prefer to use local talent as opposed to blockbuster big name knuckle draggers (not referring to Bob or Bobby, of course). It's much cheaper. Therefore, cast will be:

@scatman playing Scatman
@TractorDoc playing Tractor Doc
@CajunPoncho playing Patrick
and Cody playing Cody

We won't need to hire an acting coach, as I think most of the cast are probably already pretty good actors in their own right (probably from necessity given what they have to deal with on a daily basis just from their own foibles and personality traits etc.). The extra gentleman who so casually walked through the scene, never knowing how close he came to mayhem and disaster, will be played by the park super Cam Sholly (he wants to keep an eye on things).

Now for funding (it's going to take a lot of cash to keep the casting director from quitting, plus we need things like walkie-talkies and a camera or two, though I could use my old VHS camcorder if I can find it):

We will hire a Funding Director to set up things like a Gofundme and such and whatnot. I nominate @Nick, as he seems good at getting things going and then heading for the hills and disappearing (which is fine as long as he doesn't take the money and might actually be a good thing so no questions can be asked).

We'll need a Location Director, for which I nominate @Outdoor_Fool, who seems to know every possible setting in the Western U.S.

And of course we'll need a Directing Attorney, which would be best served by @Jackson.

Photography Directors would be @Titans and @Yvonne, who are good at making places look even better than they are. I would add @IntrepidXJ but he's probably out taking photos somewhere.

@Janice will be the Psychology Director, as she's good at making everyone feel happy, and @regehr will be Computer Director and in charge of anything digital. Lest he feel disappointed and passed over, @Udink will be Petroglyph/Geocaching Director in case we see anything of that nature. @gnwatts will be Director of Canoes and Hypothermia, just in case.

There are probably another 20 or 30 positions to fill, so we need a Fill These Positions Director, which would be @Bob, who has an infinite well to draw on for detecting BS and thereby preventing posers from coming on board just to post things on Grammy to be cool by association and not really contribute anything.

There's more, but I need to take this call from Bob R.

ETA We'll need a Kilt Director since kilts will be required to stay in the spirit of the thing.
 
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