Author Archives: John

2 More Hikes: Trout Lake and Mt. Washburn

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Current Status: 26.8 miles hiked, 73.2 miles to go.

Trout Lake – 1.1 Miles (44.899926, -110.128192)

Trout Lake is located at the eastern end of Lamar Valley in the northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park.

Trout Lake is located at the eastern end of Lamar Valley in the northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park.

Cutthroat trout spawn in early July and there’s a family of otters living in Buck Lake. The water flowing out of Buck Lake feeds into Trout Lake and each morning the otters make the quarter mile trip downstream to prey on the trout coming up the creek to spawn.  A lady I work with photographed the otters playing and eating trout about a week before we made this hike. I say “we”, since Cindy joined me on this one.

Even though we didn't see otters, Cindy loved this hiked.

Even though we didn’t see otters, Cindy loved this hiked.

Trout Lake is about 2 hours north of where we live in Yellowstone so we left around 4:30 AM to get there early. While the hike is short, the trail starts out in a steep climb before it levels out and runs around the lake. The stream where the otters feed is in the northeast corner of the lake so we headed there first. We didn’t see otters nor spawning trout so we headed up one of the numerous otter trails to Buck Lake. No otters there either.

Even though we didn't see any otters, the many wild flowers made this one of my favorite hikes so far.

Even though we didn’t see any otters, the many wild flowers made this one of my favorite hikes so far.

One the ride back home, Cindy and I stopped in the Roosevelt Lodge for breakfast as a consolation prize.

Roosevelt Lodge serves up a pretty good breakfast!

Roosevelt Lodge serves up a pretty good breakfast!

Mt. Washburn – 6.8 miles (44.797354, -110.433884)

Trailhead to Mt. Washburn  at the southern route.

Trailhead to Mt. Washburn at the southern route.

The hike up to Mt. Washburn has been on my bucket list ever since we started coming to Yellowstone 15 years ago. There’s a web cam at the top of Mt. Washburn and I enjoy checking out the view throughout the year.

2 routes take you to the top: 1) the northern route that parallels Chittenden Road and 2) the southern route that was once a road but is no longer. I took the southern and more popular route.

I didn't realize it until I started up the southern route that it was once a road. The road has degraded to the point that vehicles could no longer use it.

I didn’t realize it until I started up the southern route, but this route is also a road. The road has degraded to the point that vehicles can no longer use it.

Because the southern route was once a road, the grade is not overly steep. Even so, it’s a long steady slog to the top. I got to the trailhead early and very few cars were in the parking lot.

A long way to go...After the first mile or so, I was able to see the ranger lookout station at the top.

A long way to go…After the first mile or so, I was able to see the ranger lookout station at the top.

The trail starts out around 9,000 feet so the weather is cool. Even in mid-July, snow is still present along the trail and in the woods.

Around one switchback, the trail is entirely covered in snow except for a thin muddy path along the edge of a cliff. I chose to walk over the snow but going up and coming down.

Around one switchback, the trail was entirely covered in snow except for a thin muddy path along the edge of a cliff. I chose to walk over the snow going up and coming down.

As I neared the top, I caught up with some other hikers. I must be getting into shape since I’m no longer the slow-poke.

The lookout station is getting closer. I must be near the top.

The lookout station is getting closer. I must be near the top.

Along the way I saw marmots, ground squirrels, mule deer, big horn sheep, mountain bluebirds and a Clark’s nutcracker.

This is one of two Yellow Belly Marmots that I saw heading up the trail.

This is one of two Yellow Belly Marmots that I saw heading up the trail.

View from the top...this is the same view you get from the Web Cam. Now I can say I was there!

View from the top…this is the same view you get from the Web Cam. You can see the trail in the foreground and the Grand Tetons on the horizon. The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is in the middle ground..

I see mountain bluebirds all over Yellowstone but they never stay still long enough for a photo. This guy was the exception.

I see mountain bluebirds all over Yellowstone but they never stay still long enough for a photo. This guy was the exception.

We grown accustomed to living at 8,000 feet for the last 2 months so hiking to 10,000 feet was no big deal!

We’ve grown accustomed to living at 8,000 feet for the last 2 months so hiking to 10,000 feet was no big deal!

On the way down, some big horn sheep decided to walk along the trail. I followed them for about a 1/2 mile before they decided to head to the side.

Momma and baby big horn sheep. The rams keep to themselves and only meet up with the ladies during November.

Momma and baby big horn sheep. The rams keep to themselves and only meet up with the ladies during November.

This lamb is so cute you just want to hug her. I don't think her mama would like that.

This lamb is so cute you just want to hug her. I don’t think her mama would like that.

 

 

 

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