Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Thunderer (Chaw Pass)

Today, Charlotte, Erica, Steve, Jake, and I hiked up Chaw Pass next to a mountain aptly named The Thunderer. The mountain is located on the east side of the park. I had not yet been out to that section of the park, and was amazed at how different it is from the rest of Yellowstone. It is much more dramatic in that area, and the mountains are rockier in the same sense that the mountains are rocky in Glacier National Park. This section of Yellowstone borders the Beartooth Mountains which are supposed to be absolutely incredible. 

The view down the road from the trailhead parking area

About 100 yards into the hike, we had to cross a wide, but not very deep river. We carefully made our way across in our sandals, and Steve was nice enough to cross back and forth several times to help us cross. The river came up about as high as my mid thigh, but the current wasn't very strong. The rocks in the river were very slippery and the water was extremely cold. By the time we got across, my feet and legs were completely numb. 

The river we crossed

After crossing, we changed into our boots and began our hike. The trail was pretty steep the entire way up, about 3.7 miles. The trail was entirely wooded, but we were able to glimpse some great views in some breaks in the trees on the way up. 

A typical view of the trail

A nice mountain view from a break in the woods

After almost four miles of tough, muggy hiking we came to the pass, which was sparsely wooded, but allowed views of the amazing and dramatic mountains around us. We ate some lunch at the pass, and then got up to leave when we heard thunder approaching and saw dark clouds starting to surround us. 

The Thunder above us from Chaw Pass

Erica, Charlotte, and me at the pass

It started sprinkling as we rushed down the mountain. We hurried down and never got poured on, but did hear thunder the whole time. After about an hour, we made it back to the river crossing and the end of the hike. The cold water definitely felt good on my feet and legs at the end of the hike!

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