Early season in Yellowstone National Park means snow melt. Many of the creeks and rivers are swollen and most likely impassable. The trail may also become a marsh. I didn’t think of this when I originally sold the idea of backpacking here to Brenna and Bradley (pictured below),
specially the idea of hiking around Shoshone Lake and down Bechler River trail. But it became clear after a quick look on the backcountry situation report on the Yellowstone NPS webpage was that our plans would have to change for the beginning of June. So sometimes the lesson here is just going with what’s available or take the advice of a ranger. That’s how we ended up following the early season roars of the well names Hellroaring Creek and Yellowstone River for a few days. We were even joined by a local.
Note from John (website editor & author) on 2022/12: When I started to writing this report earlier in the year, the northern portion of Yellowstone National Park flooded knocking out several roads including the portions between Gardiner, MT and Cooke City, MT (NPR). While the road that’s part of the Northern Loop where the trailheads for this hike are located on has reopened, I don’t have exact information about the backcountry conditions and bridges status. Please check with the Yellowstone backcountry status report for more up to date information (NPS). So this report is most likely dated already… which is part of the reason I had stopped working on this series. But back on the saddle I go.
This is the third entry of our 2021 Wyoming trip series covering our backpacking trip up Hellroaring Creek, Yellowstone River, & Blacktail Deer Creek (3). You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted.
This last minute trip came together as my young brothers-in-law (Sean & Shane) wanted to go backpacking for the first time and they wanted to do it in Yellowstone. After zooming with them about how to prepare, it was clear they weren’t and I would be heading out to west to lead them. Also with us was their friend (Ozan) and my friend (Chris). I met Chris on the John Muir Trail a few years ago and hiked again with him last year in Glacier National Park. I was able to recruit him to help me out on leading the kids on their first backpacking trip by offering a free flight via my Southwest companion pass and free hotels. I was very happy having someone I knew the capabilities of and trusted in the backcountry. So we were a group of five for this trip, but with the flexibility of splitting the group up at times to accommodate the different goals and paces of the kids as they got use to backpacking.
Note from John (website editor & author): Motivation to work on my website this last year has hard to come by for me. The reasons are probably familiar to many out there as we learn to live and normalize the world of COVID. As such, I am backlogged more than a years worth of hikes and travel. So it will take me a while to write my typical detailed trip reports and produce the videos. In the meantime, these brief reports (as cross-posted on the Backcountry Post forums) will serve as a teaser and place holder for the full reports to come. Read More
Old Faithful and Yellowstone National Park are synonymous with each other. The geyser is a must stop for all visitors to the park and as such has an entire village built around it including the historic Old Faithful Inn, visitor center, backcountry office, store, gas station, and a massive parking area. Part of what makes Old Faithful so prominent is how frequent and regular it erupts, every 2 hours, as its name suggest. However it is not the tallest at 106 to 185 feet (Wikipedia) and you can’t particularly get close to it due to its popularity these days. So while you are here, it is worth your time to check out one of the other 6 geysers whos eruptions are predicted by the NPS or the many geothermal features around the Upper Geyser Basin.
This is the second entry of our Wyoming trip series covering our day hike around Upper Geyser Basin and visiting Old Faithful (2). You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted.
With the shots in our arms and more than a year of being mostly at home, we were ready for the hot vax summer of 2021. Our possible destinations were still limited internationally, but there are plenty I wanted to see in the United States, specifically the state of Wyoming. For something new, it was about time that I visited Yellowstone National Park, the first national park established in the United States in 1872. And for something loved, I looked forward to returning to the Wind River Range where we had a grand adventure the first time around. Of course with any good trip, there would be something unplanned and surprising as well.
This is the first entry of our Wyoming trip series covering our pre-trip planning (1). You can navigate to the other parts in the index below as they are posted.
Our final hike of the trip was into the middle of Lake Champlain on a converted railroad bed known as the Colchester Causeway. Rather than climbing up a mountain, we had a view of them from the causeway as it crosses Mallets Bay. The change of pace, or rather elevation profile, was a welcome end to our couple weeks of working remote and visiting friends. Thanks to Jared and Domino hanging out and showing us around.
This is part 5 of 5 of our trip out to New York and Vermont. In this part, we cover our causal walk on the Colchester Causeway and wrap up our trip with our budget. You can find the rest of the series in the index below.
For our second week on our working remote road trip, we headed across Lake Champlain into Vermont where we spent our next weekend with Jared and his new puppy Domino.
Our hiking target was to head up Mount Mansfield via the Laura Cowles and Sunset Ridge Trails. This was the second time we visited the highest point in Vermont having done so in the summer time several years ago in 2013, to give you some indication of our opinion of the hike.
Unlike our first visit however, the highlight of the hike this time around was how we got there and not so much the end or summit.
This is part 4 of 5 of our trip out to New York and Vermont. In this part, we cover our hike in Vermont up Mt. Mansfield. You can find the rest of the series as they are posted in the index below.
To conclude our weekend with with Mat, Vru, and their dog Zoey we finished our third hike in three days. While we didn’t end up backpacking on our trip like we planned, we did get some miles in after all. This final hike with them was again in the Adirondacks, but further west as we looked to avoid the crowds near Lake Placid. We would hit up another vista and check off another fire tower on the ADK Fire Tower Challenge for them (ADK.org). The foliage was peaking just right as well making the otherwise hike through a forest more stimulating.
Thanks to Vru and Mat for putting us up and hanging out for a week.
This is part 3 of 5 of our trip out to New York and Vermont. In this part, we cover our second day hike up to Owls Head Mountain in New York. You can find the rest of the series as they are posted in the index below.
The weather was ominous when we set out for our second hike in the Adirondack Mountains. At the trailhead for Hurricane Mountain, the tops of the mountains around us were obscured by the clouds. It would have been easy and understandable to call it off there, but you never know what’s in store for you sometimes. For many ahead of us, it meant hiking up to a blanket of white. For us, we came to sweeping fruity pebble like mountain sides made more mystic as they were revealed behind the lifting clouds. Sometimes the luck of the draw makes the risk worth it.
This is part 2 of 5 of our trip out to New York and Vermont. In this part, we cover our second day hike up to Hurricane Mountain in New York. You can find the rest of the series as they are posted in the index below.
In the early part of 2020, we had plans to visit our friends in upstate New York and Vermont wiped out by the pandemic. As the year went along, we learned a new way to travel during those pre-vaccine days in conjunction with our abilities to work remotely. That is to pod with our friend exclusively spending a longer period with them including work days. So we revived our earlier plans and podded with Vru and Mat in New York before visiting Jared in Vermont. The benefit of visiting in the fall was the foliage sweeping across the mountains.
Our hiking plans with Mat and Vru was originally backpacking around Marcy Dam, but changed our plans to day hikes based on the weather outlook. I thought it was a pretty good decision as we were dumped on a couple times during a couple of our hikes. The first was up to Cat Mountain in the Lake George area.
This is part 1 of 5 of our trip out to New York and Vermont. In this part, we cover our first day hike up to Cat Mountain in New York. You can find the rest of the series as they are posted in the index below.
After our 8 day off route backpacking trip into the Wind River Range, we headed back to Denver and had a full week booked for an hotel stay. Specifically, this was pre-vaccine pandemic times still and the full week was in efforts to isolate ourselves so we could see our friends Kevin, Shannon, their new born baby Wyatt, and their dog Ray. Hanging out with our friends after month of isolation at home was well worth the week of working from hotels. It was the break we needed for our mental health and socially starved souls.
This is also a new experience for us with longer hotel stays in the form of working remote, really remote. A model I would adopt more later for subsequent trips during the never ending pandemic. While our weekend with our friends consisted mostly of drinks and food, we did get out for a hike. The Walker Ranch loop just outside of Boulder was our destination with a few views and some cascading rapids.
This is part 2 of 2 of our trip out to Wyoming and Colorado. In this part, we cover our day hike in Colorado and overall budget of our trip.
At one point on our eight day off trail backpacking trip into the Wind River Range, we set up our tent on a bluff overlooking a turquoise colored lake. No matter how often I’ve encountered them, they seem so surreal every time still. Across from us was the terminus of Connie Glacier spilling down into the lake. The funny thing was, we joked that probably the closest person from our five star camp this evening was at least 5 hour, 5 miles, or at least another valley away from us. We were roughly 1 to 2 days of tough and technical travel across talus & scree from the nearest trail, making those prospects not surprising at all. This was our experience in the northern portions of the Wind River Range, it beat us up and I still look forward to returning.
This is part 1 of 2 of our trip out to Wyoming and Colorado. In this part, we cover our eight day off-trail backpacking trip in the Northern Wind River Range. Get ready folks, this is a long read or very much “magazine” style.
“Do I go somewhere new or do I go somewhere I love?” is a common question among travellers. I have friends that have hike the same 200 mile trail (the John Muir Trail) more than ten times and I also have friends looking to rack up the country count. I was able to do a little bit of both over the course of 3 weeks. Explore down under, down under and return to the mountains of New Zealand.
This is the final entry of our Australia and New Zealand trip series. You can navigate to the other parts in the index below.