Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day Fifty - Fifty-seven

Day Fifty – Fifty-seven:

Well I have the internet but I still don’t update much. Sorry. I suppose the reason would be that during the week we aren’t doing too much, but on the weekends we are so busy that I don’t have time. I will use that as an explanation.

So this weekend, Friday we went to the Le Hardy rapids to see if there were any trout jumping. We saw a few of them along the sides, and only one of them jumped. I think we are a little early for much action. There was a huge pelican hanging out on a rock in the middle of the rapids. He was really cool. I was amazed at how large he was. We watched him for a while hoping to see him catch a fish, but nothing happened. We plan to go there again soon to see if there is any action and I’ll make sure and bring my camera.

After that we went to hang out at Lake Hotel with some friends. Every evening there is live music, piano or a string quartet. We heard the quartet. They are very talented. It was a nice change of pace.

Saturday we drove into Cody again. This time we took three Asian girls with us. One was from China and two were from Taiwan. They are working here for the summer and can’t get drive anywhere. Josh works with one of the girls and she brought some friends. They were so excited to see another place. We walked up and down the main strip of shops and ate some lunch there. We also went to Wal-Mart. It was great talking to them and learning about there culture and why they are traveling and what their plans are. Its amazing to me how different and yet how similar people are.

Sunday we went to church in the Lake Hotel. There is a Christian Ministry here that is comprised of college and seminary students. Every Sunday they have multiple services around the park for employees and visitors. It was refreshing to fellowship and worship with others in such a beautiful place. We haven’t been able to make a service yet and I really enjoyed it.

After church we went to hang out with our friends Janice and Lee. They cooked a waffle brunch for us and we played games and hung out. It was a lot of fun. We have a lot of common interests as them and since they are older and wiser they are sharing some of their knowledge with us. We plan to do some short hikes with them also.

Josh had to work Monday, but I had the day off, so I went with some other friends on a long hike. It is probably my favorite hike so far. I am definitely sunburned and scraped up pretty bad, but it was all worth it.

This is where we stopped for lunch.

We started in Pelican Valley and then went part way up the Astringent Creek Trail. After a few miles the creek veers off and we went off trail two miles and followed it up to a hidden thermal area. From the ridge of a steaming hill we could view a yellow lake that is not on any of the maps. My friend Brent found it on Google Earth and then found it off the trail last year. He and his wife Helen were showing us (me and another girl, Amy) all the interesting thermal vents and mud pots back on this trail. Almost the whole creek that we followed was filled with thermal hot waters and bright colored bacteria and algae. It was incredible. What made it really cool was that very few people, if any, ever see that area.

Here is a waterfall right next to a steam vent. The steam was continually gushing from the hole. The water was running from thermal springs further up stream.

Here is one of many bison skulls we found near the thermal area.

We got to cross a creek in our bare feet. It was cold but felt really nice, especially on our way back. I fell into a muddy hole once. We crossed some grassy areas that had muddy ground hidden beneath them. I tried to walk on the tufts of grass, but misjudged one of them and sunk in above my ankle. Fortunately I didn’t loose my shoe! It is all part of the adventure.

We saw a lot of wildlife on this trail as well. Many bison (a few blocked the trail along the way!), three garden snakes, a toad, tadpoles, all kinds of birds and we even saw four bears. The first one we spotted from a distance in the first valley we crossed. He was walking around a sage bush patch. We lost sight of him for a little bit, but the trail took us closer and the wind blew our scent in his direction. He poked his head up and looked right at us. (he was still a good 100 yards away) Then he stood up, saw that he was out numbered and ran toward the woods. He moved very quickly and I’m glad he went the other direction. He was very beautiful though. And so cute when he stuck his head up with his ears sticking out. The other bears we saw were farther in on the trail. Brent spotted them first and waved us over. Around the bend of hill were a mother and two cubs. I wasn’t able to get a good sight of them because they were walking away in the deep grass when I got around the hill. But they were there on our hike!

We found two sets of Elk antlers. They are pretty heavy!

The views were just amazing. The wind blew the grass in waves in the valleys. The snow covered mountains were on the edges all around us. The streams of water with little waterfalls made music in the air along with the wind in the trees. There were wildflowers everywhere. All colors and varieties. Near the thermal areas there were a lot of ferns. I haven’t seen ferns in any of the other areas I’ve hiked. Even though I said in my last post that I like the Tetons better, the beauty of this hike is unlike any I’ve seen here in Yellowstone. It was so much more secluded and it just soothes my soul to be out there hiking.

I was sad Josh couldn’t go on this hike, because for most of it we were on part of the 28 mile hike he did three years ago. To be there with him would have been really great. But we may hike the other part of it later on this season. We still have a little time left.

I’ve hiked over sixty miles now and I’m still counting toward 100. I love the long hikes that take us away from people and into the seldom explored areas of God’s creation. Josh is enjoying the beauty of the hikes as well, although I usually have to slow him down so I can look at flowers and birds and stuff. Its so wonderful!

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