Yellowstone: Day 2

Heather has been my hiking buddy for the last 12 years. Our first “date” was snowshoeing (that’s like winter hiking) on Phillips Ridge near Teton Pass. When I lived in Jackson we frequently walked up Snow King with dogs, once scrambled over rocks to the top of the Middle Teton and spent many, many miles together chatting and exploring the mountains.

Heather always has interesting things to talk about and is willing to do just about anything I suggest. A lazy walk along a river? Check. Climb a 13,000+ foot mountain? Check. Whether it is one mile or 20, she’s up for it.

Since I haven’t been on a long hike since before Anders was born, I wanted to cover some miles this weekend. I would have considered our hike medium in length four years ago, but these days anything over 6 miles is a long hike for me.

On this particular day we hiked the Washburn Trail. It starts at the end of the Chittedon Road on Dunraven Pass, follows a fire road to the top of Mount Washburn and then descends (super steeply, at first, then gently) through meadows and hot springs to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Total distance: 10.5 miles.

(One of the great things about this trip is that since we had two vehicles we could hike through-trails.)

Lupine.

Heather checks out the view on the way to the Washburn lookout.

Ghost trees. Boo!

Marmot being cute. Also known as a “whistle pig.” It was so not afraid of people.

Marmot decides to bask in the sun along the trail and flaunt its cuteness.

Looking at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone from the top of Washburn.

Baby mountain goat with its mom. Some of the kids were coughing since they had pneumonia. The ranger said they would probably die. So sad.

The mountain goats were highly habituated. It was kind of a zoo. Fortunately barely anyone continues the hike beyond the Washburn lookout, so we saw just a few people the rest of the day.

At the top of Mt. Washburn. 2.5 miles done and 8 to go.

Leaving the lookout and heading out on the Washburn trail.

The wildflowers were out of control everywhere we went. Out. Of. Control.

Heather is extremely tall. No, alpine plants are short and hardy.

Coming down from Wahsburn was pretty steep for a couple miles. Heather had trekking poles. I think I want some.

Paintbrush.

Getting closer to Canyon.

One of my favorite flowers, and one I don’t see very often–elephant’s head.

This meadow is filled with elephant’s head.

If you look at the top of the mountain in the middle of this photo you can see the Washburn lookout.

We passed Washburn Hot Springs in the rain. A ranger on horseback we had passed a little earlier told us a nasty storm, complete with hail, was coming our way. So, we barely paused and kept on walking.

More hot springs. It never hailed and only rained for about 10 minutes.

Heather got off trail and ended up on Mars.

We thought the meadows were kind of pretty.

From the Washburn Trail we turned onto the Sevenmile Hole Trail. It was pretty much a parkway for the last few miles.

That narrow waterfall in the shadow is Silver Cord. We didn’t hit it at the best time of day for photos.

I made it to the edge of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone! I made Heather take another silly picture!

We both showed up in these goofy shoes. More on them later.

There’s the Yellowstone River down there.

After our lovely hike we met my mom for dinner at the Roosevelt Lodge, then got ready for another day on the trail.

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