8 More Hikes Totaling 32.2 Miles!

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Current Status: 59.0 miles hiked, 41.0 miles to go.

Pelican Valley – 4.4 Miles (44.567327, -110.273337)

This doesn't look good.

This doesn’t look good.

Pelican Valley is on the road to the east entrance of Yellowstone, home to many grizzly bears. Snow and Raspberry (a grizzly sow and her cub) hang out along this road to avoid the male grizzlies living to the north (i.e. where this hike leads).  I’ve never seen a sign recommending parties of 4 or limitations on hiking hours so this makes me somewhat nervous.

Most of the trail is through open meadows.

It’s a relief to exit the woods into open meadows where I can see far off into the distance.

The biggest fear I have when hiking is surprising an unsuspecting grizzly. The first mile of this hike passes through dense woods limiting my vision. I call out “Hey Bear!” every 25 steps to announce my presence. I breath a sigh of relief once I exit the woods and enter into open meadows. After another 1/2 mile, I see a brown furry hump just over a rise off in the distance. The trail seems to lead in its direction.  I know it’s either a grizzly or bison but even with binoculars I can’t tell which. As I get closer, I yell out “Hey Bear!” but the furry hump doesn’t move. This is probably a good thing. If it is a bear, it probably would rise up to look at me.  As I hike closer, the trail leads down into a draw and the hump disappears. I won’t see it again until I hike up the other side and then I’ll be very close.

Even with my binoculars, I can't tell if this is a bison or grizzly.

Even with my binoculars, I can’t tell if this is a bison or grizzly.

I get even more nervous now that the furry hump is no longer visible. I consider turning back but I need the miles for the 100 mile hiking challenge. I continue yelling out “Hey Bear!” as I get nearer. As I hike up the hill, the brown hump is once again visible but this time I see horns. It’s a bison but it’s a big bull bison and it’s rutting season. He’s literally on the trail so I have to detour through the sage to go around him.

Fortunately, the grizzly turned out to be a bison.

Fortunately, the grizzly turned out to be a bison.

Storm Point – 2.0 Miles

Cindy accompanied on my next hike to Storm Point.

Cindy accompanied on my next hike to Storm Point.

After my close encounter with the grizzly-bison, I talked Cindy into coming with me on my next hike. Storm Point loop is a short popular hike leading out to the shores of Yellowstone Lake.

Storm Point offers outstanding views of Yellowstone Lake.

Storm Point offers outstanding views of Yellowstone Lake.

Fairy Falls – 7.7 Miles (44.525099, -110.869839)

There’s a short 2 mile out-and-back trail to Fairy Falls but since I need the miles, I added some other trails to make this hike longer.

The first leg leads up the old freight road across a trestle bridge.

The first leg leads up the old freight road across a trestle bridge.

The short trail to Fairy Falls is very popular with hikers. Most hikers head out to the newly opened platform that overlooks Grand Prismatic Spring, one of the most popular features of the park.

This vantage point overlooking Grand Prismatic was one a social trail. The Park Service has built an overlook platform that just opened in mid-July.

This vantage point overlooking Grand Prismatic was once a social trail. The Park Service has built an overlook platform that just opened in mid-July.

 

I hiked a few miles north of Fairy Falls on the old freight road then doubled back along another trail across a marsh.

I hiked a few miles north of Fairy Falls on the old freight road then doubled back along another trail across a marsh which offered me a view of Fairy Falls far off in the distance. The trail proceeds along the logs shown in this picture.

I saw no hikers on my route to Fairy Falls but once I arrived I saw dozens that had taken the shorter route.

Fairy Falls.

Fairy Falls.

Natural Bridge – 2.8 Miles

Cindy accompanied me on this short hike up to Natural Bridge. The trailhead starts out at a campground so it’s very popular with families.

Natural Bridge was created by creek erosion.

Natural Bridge was created by creek erosion.

DeLacy Creek – 6.0 Miles (44.408283, -110.69483)

DeLacy Creek is my favorite so far.

DeLacy Creek is my favorite so far.

DeLacy Creek trail is an out-and-back trail leading to Shoshone Lake, the largest lake inaccessible by road in the lower 48. It’s relatively flat and passes by multiple active beaver dams along the way.

The scenery along DeLacy Creek is stunning.

The scenery along DeLacy Creek is stunning.

I saw no hikers on my way to Shoshone Lake.

DeLacy Creek as it empties into Shoshone Lake.

DeLacy Creek as it empties into Shoshone Lake. A beaver house is visible to the left.

Shoshone Lake is sizable.

Shoshone Lake is sizable and remote.

 

West Thumb Overlook – 1.8 Miles (44.412103, -110.586555)

There's few trees on the way up to West Thumb overlook.

There’re few trees on the way up to West Thumb overlook.

The West Thumb overlook trail is close to Grant Village where we’re living for the summer. This short trail is a loop through some woods, up a big hill then back down through some woods to the trail head.  I hiked both this trail and the Duck Lake trail on the same day.

The reward for West Thumb overlook is a birds-eye view of Yellowstone Lake in the distance.

The reward for the West Thumb overlook trail is a birds-eye view of Yellowstone Lake in the distance.

Duck Lake – 1.0 Miles (44.421705, -110.577178)

Duck Lake Trail Head

Duck Lake Trail Head

I pass by Duck Lake on my way to and from work. I saw no wildlife on this short in-and-out hike but did see fresh bear scat on the way in.

There's not much to see on the way to Duck Lake but it's close to home and the mileage counts!

There’s not much to see on the way to Duck Lake but it’s close to home and the mileage counts!

Wapiti Lake – 6.5 Miles (44.723861, -110.451736)

Wapiti Lake trail starts off in the northern section of Hayden Valley, home to many wolves and grizzlies.

Wapiti Lake trail starts off in the northern section of Hayden Valley, home to many wolves and grizzlies.

At 6.5 miles, the hike out Wapiti Lake trail is one of my longest to date. The hike starts in the northern section of Hayden Valley which is where I spend a lot of time wolf watching a few miles to the south. It’s home to the Wapiti wolf pack and I’ve seen 4 adult and 5 pups each time I come here.   I’ve also seen grizzly bears here on numerous occasions but fortunately none on this trip.

I passed by numerous bull bison on my trip to Ribbon Lake.

I passed by numerous bull bison on my trip to Ribbon Lake.

I hiked out to Ribbon Lake and returned via Clear Lake near the south rim of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. I saw few hikers on my way but ran into swarms of mosquitos causing me to complete this 6.5 mile trip in about 2 hours!

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3 thoughts on “8 More Hikes Totaling 32.2 Miles!

  1. Mario

    Hello John and Cindy,
    I played golf with your sister this past week and she told me about your blog and I’m enjoying reading about your adventures! My wife Lisa and I recently purchased our second RV (Winnebego Navion) and we have inspirations of someday heading out for months at a time on the road. We are still learning and for now we mostly do short trips and tailgate at University of Illinois football games where our daughters are both attending. Hope to someday cross paths and I’ll keep reading as I want to learn as much as I can about where would like to travel. Thanks!

    Mario

    Reply

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