Friday, July 31, 2009

Grizzly Lake and Upper Terraces

Today I hiked for the first time in almost two weeks. My knee had been bothering me, so I rested it last weekend. Today I solo hiked to Grizzly Lake, a 3.6 mile out and back to a peaceful mountain lake. At the beginning of the hike, it was raining lightly, but I decided to try the hike anyways with the hope that the weather would clear.

The trail began in a meadow full of wildflowers. After about a quarter mile, the trail switchbacked up to the top of a ridge, which flattened out at the top. The trail continued on through burned and unburned forest on top of the ridge for about a mile. Then, I got some glimpses of some mountains ahead of me. 

Burnt trees in the meadow at the beginning of the hike

Beginning to climb the first ridge

Raining in the distance as I hiked up the ridge

Meadow on top of the ridge

Mountains come into view

Soon, the trail began switchbacking down a ridge to Grizzly Lake. On the other side of the lake, there was another ridge, beyond loomed a large chain of mountains. The best view of Grizzly Lake was from the top of the ridge before switchbacking down, because at the bottom of the lake, the ridge line was visible, but the mountains beyond were not.

Switchbacking down to Grizzly Lake

Grizzly Lake and mountains beyond

The shore of Grizzle Lake

Heading back to the trailhead

Wildflowers along the trail

On the way home, I stopped at the Upper Terraces in Mammoth. I walked the short boardwalk before doing the Upper Terrace drive, which winds up through terraces above the boardwalk. 

Upper Terraces

Along Upper Terrace Drive

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Goodbye Casey!

This evening, Casey headed back to Bozeman to catch a plane home. Before he left, he came to visit me at work, and I gave him a tour of the storage area and museum collection, which he really enjoyed. Afterwards, we went to Town Cafe for dinner and then got some ice cream at Yellowstone Perk before he had to head out. I am really glad Casey was able to make it out here and that we were able to do so much and have a great time! Thanks for coming, Casey!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sacajawea Peak

Last night after the concert, Casey and I stayed in a hotel in Bozeman so we could do a hike in the area today. We chose Sacajawea Peak, about 25 miles outside the city. The trail began at the end of a seven mile, rough dirt road. The trail began in a forested area and started climbing right away. Within a quarter mile, we left the forest for open terrain for the remainder of the hike.

The road to the trail

The beginning of the trail

From there, we ascended up an open area at the base of two mountains, Sacajawea to the left and Hardscrabble to the right. The trail climbed to the base of the saddle between the mountains and then switchbacked to the top of the saddle. 

Sacajawea Peak and the saddle

Hardscrabble Peak

Snow on the trail to the saddle

The view behind us

The trail to the saddle

Looking down from the saddle

The view on the other side of the saddle

From the saddle we headed to the summit of Sacajawea. At this point, the trail started climbing more steeply, and finally it headed almost straight up to the summit on loose dirt and gravel, which was harder to walk down than it was to walk up.

The steep trail to the summit

At the summit, we found several mountain goats. A mother and her baby were at the very summit, about 15 feet from where we ate our lunch. After eating and watching the goats, we started heading down to the trailhead. The hike down was much faster than the hike up, and we were back at the car in no time. 

Goats on the top

View from the summit

Another shot from the peak

We headed back into Bozeman for pizza at McKenzie River before picking my car up in Livingston and heading back to Mammoth for the night. It was a great trip to Bozeman and we had a wonderful time!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Josh Ritter Concert

Tonight Casey and I went to Bozeman after I got out of work to see Josh Ritter in concert. We met my friends Nick and Hillary out there. Casey and I got there at about 8:30, about 30 minutes into the opener, Langhorne Slim's set. Neither of us had heard of Langhorne Slim before, but we were both really impressed. 

When he came on, Josh Ritter was amazing! Casey and I (and Nick and Hillary) agreed that it was one of the best concerts we had ever been to. Casey had never heard of Josh Ritter either, but is already thinking of seeing him again when he tours in the Northeast in a few weeks.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Day at Lake and Around the Southeast

Today Casey and I headed over to the Lake Yellowstone area, in the southeast section of the park. Casey hiked Avalanche Peak. Unfortunately, I couldn't join him because my knee was still bothering me. So, while he was out hiking I sat in the Lake Hotel and did some reading. After he was done hiking we had some lunch at the restaurant inside the hotel. Then, we stopped at Mud Volcano thermal area on the way home and walked around the boardwalk loop. The area was full of mud pots, thermal features that spray and gurgle mud instead of water. It was really neat! We also stopped at an overlook with a view of a thermal area across the street from Mud Volcano. Finally, on the way home, we stopped at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and took in the views from Artist Point. 

Dragon's Mouth Cave

Me and Casey at Dragon's Mouth

Mud Pot

Gurgling muddy spring

Thermal area across the street from Mud Volcano 
(notice the buffalo down there!)

Close up of the buffalo in the thermal area

Stormy clouds along the way

Casey at Artist Point

Drive Around the Northeast Section of the Park

Since my knee was still hurting and Casey was up for a rest day after yesterday's hike, we decided to take a drive to the northeast section of the park, where it is very dramatically beautiful. On the way out, we stopped at a scenic overlook of a beautiful canyon.

The Canyon

Casey and me at the overlook

We continued driving east and found ourselves in a small "bear-jam." The bear was a black bear and it was only about 10 feet away from the road in a meadow eating grass. We stopped and watched it for a while and it was very neat that it was so close.

The black hear

A view near the Northeast entrance

From there, we headed out of the Northeast entrance and into Cooke City, where there happened to be a large motorcycle rally. We drove through the small town but didn't stop (there was literally nowhere to park with all the motorcycles everywhere. We did see one motorcyclist dressed from head to toe in black leather, with a while skeleton painted onto it. He was wearing a skull mask and a cowboy hat, and had a huge pistol on on each hip and he was just walking down the street. It was very strange!

We left Cooke City and headed back into the park. We stopped along the way and dipped our feet in a pretty little stream. On the way back to Mammoth, we saw a couple of large buffalo herds. It was great, because Casey had never seen buffalo before. All in all, it was a very nice, scenic and relaxing day and we both had a great time and saw a lot.

The stream where we stopped

Buffalo herd

A nice view in the Hayden Valley in the NE section