Day Sixty-four – Seventy-three:
This week started with a hike for me. Josh had to work later and I got off early so I went with Brent, Helen and Sarah to Turbid Lake. The trail wasn’t very pretty because we hiked through mostly dead trees. And the lake did not smell good at all. But the purpose of this hike was to look for animal prints at the lake. There is a wolf pack that frequents the area and we found plenty of prints! We brought plaster and made casts of the prints. I didn’t think to take any pictures of the prints though. I did get a few pictures of the mud pots that bubble at the lake’s edge. That stuff is so cool.
Wednesday and Thursday was just working. Friday started our fun stuff. We got an extra day off which was very nice. The plan was to take an overnight trip into the backcountry. We were going to do the hike that Josh did a few years ago. We got our camping permit and we were packed and on the trail. Unfortunately we got a really late start. As we were hiking we had second thoughts about heading into bear country and not reaching our site until after dark. Josh wasn’t feeling the greatest either so we weren’t making good time. The plan changed to just hiking the Ribbon Lake loop. We had hiked it before but it’s a very pretty trail. And there was no mud this time which is nice.
Saturday we slept in late. Hiking with our heavy packs on is much more tiring than it would seem. Josh won a drawing earlier in the week that got him a free lunch at the Lake Hotel and it seemed like a good day to take advantage of that. And we definitely got our fill. It was one of the best meals we’ve had on our trip. A very nice change from the horrible employee food they serve. We need to win more drawings.
After our filling lunch we drove to Mammoth and hiked around the Hoodoos. One this trail there is a section of strange rock formations. It looks like to me that an earthquake shook the mountain and the rocks fell into strange positions. There are a lot of earthquakes in Yellowstone from the volcanic activity underground. The rocks were really neat. We wanted to climb and explore more than we did, but it is much hotter in Mammoth because it is at a lower elevation and we didn’t bring enough water. I started feeling dehydrated. Fortunately we had more water in the car so no wilting occurred.
The next stop was to go swim. We went to a spot where the Boiling River and the Gardiner River converge. Right were they meet the water becomes a nice temp to soak in. The cool water from the Gardiner and the hot water from the Boiling create just the right mix. We didn’t stay very long because it was too crowded. It was hard to get a good spot in the water. It felt good after our long hike, though.
As we drove home we picked up some fellow employees that live at Old Faithful. They were hitch-hiking around the park for the day. The drive took us all the way around the park. But I was able to catch a beautiful view of the moon rising and the colors of the sunset reflecting on Lake Yellowstone. An amazing view. The colors were much more vivid in real life. Pictures can only share so much.
Sunday we spent with our friends Janice and Lee. We went with them to church at the campground where they work. After that we went to the Old Faithful area to hike to Lone Star Geyser. This time we were able to catch it going off. The eruption lasts about twenty minutes and we caught the last half of it. That much power coming from under the ground where we walk is a little unnerving. Its pretty neat to watch it, though. There were a ton of wildflowers on this trail too. I just love seeing the bright colors.
We went to the Old Faithful geyser basin after that and walked around. There were several geysers and pools that Josh and I had not seen. One was Morning Glory Pool. It was very beautiful. Unfortunately the colors of the pool are fading from what they used to be. Stupid people throw coins and trash into the pools and it clogs the flow of the spring. When the flow stops it lowers the temperature of the pool allowing different types of bacteria to grow. The bacteria create the brilliant colors that surround the pool. The middle used to be much bluer and the orange was a smaller ring.
The next day we didn’t do much. Tuesday was employee appreciation day. They served us a steak dinner. That was a nice treat. Later was Wolf Night. Everyone dressed up and partied late. It was tons of fun. I don’t have any pictures of us because I forgot my camera. I’ll get some from some friends eventually.
Now I’ve realized that we only have two and a half weeks left here. It will be nice to go home, but there are still some hikes we want to do. The rest of this week may be a little busier. Yay for hiking!