Current Status: 26.8 miles hiked, 73.2 miles to go.
Trout Lake – 1.1 Miles (44.899926, -110.128192)
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.
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.
One the ride back home, Cindy and I stopped in the Roosevelt Lodge for breakfast as a consolation prize.
Mt. Washburn – 6.8 miles (44.797354, -110.433884)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Along the way I saw marmots, ground squirrels, mule deer, big horn sheep, mountain bluebirds and a Clark’s nutcracker.
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.