Daily Log: Day 20

20 1984.1 7/4/2021 sunny with puffy clouds. Justin woke me at 5 am although I had been awake since 4 am. We packed up the Jeep and Justin drove me 40 minutes to Heart Lake Trailhead where I had left off yesterday. Then I was off at 6 am on my slack-pack hike. I listened to a book on tape for the first time. And I arrived at 1:20 pm with a 20 minute lunch stop. Justin was already there. After lunch I took a nap and it was only when Justin woke me at 6 pm that we started dinner. I had curry which was fine. Justin forgot his spoon and sucked stroganoff out of his mountain house bag. The wind picked up and it started to rain so after dinner we hung our bear bags and went into our separate tents for the night.

In the back country there are hidden delights such as this bubbling caldron just off trail
I laid down, covered my eyes and soon was napping until dinner time (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)

Daily Log: Day 19

19 1963.6 7/3/2021 sunny, some clouds, some dark clouds in distance. Got up, packed and shortly after 5:30 Justin and I were hiking. We stopped at Heart Lake for a snack and talk to the rangers who stopped by our campsite yesterday while I was sleeping. We only had 12 miles to the Jeep. There was a medium climb of 600’ about halfway. For the entire hike Justin and I chatted and the miles sped by. So nice. We got to the Jeep at Heart Lake Trailhead at about 11 am. We drove from there to the Howard Eaton trailhead where tomorrow Justin will park and hike in 3 miles to meet me with our overnight equipment. I will be slack-packing 20 miles to OA1 campsite. Next we drove to Old Faithful Lodge.  Check in time was 4:30 pm so we went to eat at the Geyser Grill. I got a double bacon cheeseburger. Then we sat out, relaxed until about 3 pm and got to our cabin. Justin took his shower first while I repaired my gear. I had to sew some rips and a button. Justin washed his clothes in the sink. I showered with my clothes and washed them along with myself. Then I organized my slack pack for tomorrow which is a first for this section. Then it was figuring out the gear for tomorrow’s overnight and food for the next three days by myself. Finally after all this prep we got dinner of pulled-pork at the lodge. A busy wonderful different day. Thank you Justin! I was so tired that while Justin called Stephanie I could barely keep my eyes open so I went to sleep. Stephanie has been helping Katie with hiking and camping stuff. I really appreciate her helping Katie prepare for her hike.

The campsite was immediately across a creek bridged by a jumble of logs. In the morning I had to carefully cross while trying not to get my feet wet or falling (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Always fun for a guy who is “balanced-challenged” (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Even narrow logs present a problem, because hikers hate to get their feet wet. The poles are indeed a necessary help (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
The upcoming valley is shrouded in mist, but soon the sun will burn it off (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Yellowstone’s geo-thermal landscape is other worldly
The world famous Old Faithful geyser is just outside the Old Faithful Lodge where we were staying in one of the cabins. It was a highlight of the hike staying there

Daily Log: Day 18

18 1951.6 7/2/2021 sunny, clear, puffy white clouds. Woke about 4:45. Justin and I were on trail about 5:30. Lots of little ups and downs which were tiring. Overall the terrain was flatish. I led and Justin followed. He was gracious to chat to keep me entertained to make the time go by and to scare off any bears. We stopped for lunch by Heart River. And soon we were at our reserved site 8J3 after 14.6 miles. We had a little trouble finding the site because we had to cross Surprise Creek to see our marker. Our tents are up and we’re each in our tents to keep the mosquitoes away. Although dark clouds threaten, no rain has happened.

While hiking in Yellowstone together we had to ford various streams. Wet pants, wet shoes, and wet socks are all part of the hiking experience
Justin following Tartan through shade… (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Through sun… (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Both up and down as the trail meanders through Yellowstone (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Enjoying the hike together through Yellowstone (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Tartan fording one of many streams he encountered while hiking today (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Our first Yellowstone “permitted” campsite at 8J3 Surprise Lake (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)
Dinner and then into our tents to get away from those dang mosquitoes. That’s not a bandage on his nose. It’s a Breathe Right nasal strip to open his nasal passages and allow him to breathe easier (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)

Daily Log: Day 17

17 1937.0 7/1/2021 clear, sunny, cloudy, rain, thunder. Although it rained yesterday afternoon it was clear when I awoke. Unfortunately because I had both side flaps down/sealed the inside of my tent was wet which got the inside dirt and dust wet too so the ceiling became muddy after I packed up the tent. I was on trail at my regular time but since today was a meetup day I sent a message to Justin telling him I was leaving camp. The first few miles were easy, but then I started a 2000’ climb over 3 miles. I got it done but it took time and a lot of energy. I messaged Justin when I summited. The descent took time because I used my poles to slow myself down – they are my “brakes”. I got to our initially planned meetup spot but decided to go on to shorten his hiking distance. I finally stopped just at the YNP boundary and sent him a message. The rain was threatening and delayed Justin a bit. Justin is here now and we’re sharing our adventure stories – his first hitchhike and his hike along with my hike.

Justin and I met just outside the border of Yellowstone National Park “so that mama bears can be with their newborn cubs undisturbed by humans” until after June 30th as per the rules. Tomorrow we begin our transit of Yellowstone (Photograph Courtesy of J. Watt)