Yellowstone 6th day
Today, we started out earlier than usual. We were on our way before sunrise. The plan was to arrive at our hike early and possibly see more wildlife.
Just before the pull out for our hike is a road to an overlook. It is about 1 mile up to the top of a mountain and gives some great views of the lake.
The "smoke" you see in some pictures is steam from thermal features.
The trail starts at a pullout right at the lake on the east entrance road. It is a very long trail that follows the entire east side of the lake. We will only be hiking a portion of the 27 mile trail. We could have walked for days on this trail and many people do.
The first part was a bit exciting because just as we started a man in the parking lot said that two bears were seen on the trail ½ hour earlier. Not long after we got on the trail, we saw prints for a larger and smaller bear. We think it was a mom and cub. They had moved on so we did not ever see them. We did see some “scat” (fresh bear poop).
Several times on the trail, we found that deer had been through earlier in the day. We also took pictures of several flowers and berry plants.
The trail had a lot of variety of landscapes. We hiked through old burned forest where all the trees were burned but new trees were already starting to grow. We did pass a really surprising burned tree that was "holding" up another tree that had fallen.
The other areas were fields and thick forests with small streams we had to cross.
One was wider than a stream was more interesting to cross. There were no good ways across other than just walking in several inches of water flowing past. We did try to use a log that had fallen across the stream but it was not stable. The crossing was about 15 feet across.
We only passed or were passed by 10 people, a group of six who had been hiking and camping for several days, a couple hiking together, two rangers on horse back with three pack mules headed to a ranger cabin much further down the trail, and our return trip a single woman hiking alone (pretty gutsy though she was very concerned about the evidence of bears she had seen). So in 12 miles, we saw 10 people that is less than one per mile. Wow!
When we got to just over the 6 mile mark, we came to three campsites. One was on the lake so we walked to that one. Lucky for us no one was using the site at lunch time. It was nice to have lunch looking across Yellowstone Lake.
On our return to the trail head, we walked alone except for one woman hiking by herself. She let us know that she had seen scat and large prints on the trail. We thought that they were from the same bear until we saw the scat and prints. We were wrong. The print and scat were much larger and not where we had seen the first prints at the start of the hike.
I think this is a large male looking for the female with her cub. We kept seeing the tracks in the trail until the last mile of the trail. It is possible that he turned off the trail still seeking “romance”.
We did see a lone buffalo relaxing about 50 feet off the trail.
By the time we got back to the truck, we were exhausted and had hiked 12.6 miles round trip and our climb was up to 1,178 feet. Our starting altitude was 7,700 feet.
We stopped for a photo of Sylvan lake and the high pass we have driven through every day.
We leave tomorrow for Cody.
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We are a couple who have started on a new adventure...