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Day 1 7/25/17. Old Faithful and Walk the Parks begins!

Old Faithful to Campsite 8M2 Miles: 16 Steps: 37,216 Vertical Gain: check Strava Liquid consumed: 120 oz Wildlife: thousands of mosquitoes, various birds, hopping frog Well, I'm standing at Old Faithful! Just had a huge buffet lunch, and honestly, I'm exhausted. I got about 4 hours of sleep last night. I have 13 miles to hike today too, and it's 12:25pm right now as I await the geyser to blow! There are a ton of people here. Kind of crazy even, compared to what my future holds. Thousands of people waiting for Old Faithful to blow. Not really a wilderness experience, but one of the best things about Yellowstone in my opinion is the accessibility. You can drive your car directly to a bunch of cool geo-thermal features and there are great flat easy hikes, many have boardwalks the entire way. We left Chris' house just after 7am and drove to Old Faithful. We checked out a couple of places along the way which was nice too so I could see what groceries were offered etc. and one place to see if a trail existed that wasn't in the map (it does!). At the park entrance we stopped at the Ranger Station. The ranger knew who I was and was already following me on Instagram! Crazy! She and her fellow ranger were helpful and very friendly. We took a picture together too st the end which was nice of them! You have to watch quite a long movie about safety too. Permit in hand, we were off to Old Faithful. We had an incredible all you can eat lunch at the Old Faithful Lodge with trout, chili, sausage, mac n cheese, and a bunch of other things. Maybe I should change the name of the trip to Eat the Parks! I left lunch early to not miss the geyser eruption. I was feeling super exhausted and kind of strung out this morning. Even at the geyser I just wanted it to go off so I could run inside and use the restroom! I told Chris this wasn't how I pictured my first day: exhausted, strung out, and hurried. Oh well, it kind of set the tone for the day! After the eruption we went back to the car and I grabbed my pack, said Thank you and goodbye to Chris and was on my way. Which way is that, you ask? I didn't know either. I remembered reading something just the other day about this part of the trail being confusing, but I had no idea what that was. I asked for directions, took them, and there was even a sign that seemed to point directly to the trail I took. Sadly, 2 miles later and I was a mile from where I needed to be. Haha, lost for the first 3 mikes of the trip! I said before I felt a bit hurried but now I felt I was rushing. Not ideal, but at least the terrain ended up being pretty easy all day. Mostly flat with some fairly minor ups and downs. But don't just think it was easy. Mosquitoes were just insane for parts of the day. At one point I took a video because the buzzing was so loud! I don't think you can hear it in the video, but it was comical. I put on my headnet and continued on. Next up? Pouring rain! It rained pretty hard for several hours straight. I was soaking wet. The trail also was very wet in spots, sloshing through swamps with the skeeters buzzing. I even stepped in some quicksand/mud that was pretty deep! It sucked my left leg and trekking pole down pretty deep! Really cool to pass through some geyser basins in the backcountry. Never hiked through steaming trails before. Pretty cool. The last few miles I got a second wind which was really nice. I felt good, on a day when I wasn't my normal self, mostly due to lack of sleep. I finally made it to the campsite and set up my tent. A CDT hiker from the Netherlands also camped here unexpectedly . He was nice to talk to for a bit but I was pretty excited to lay down in my tent. It feels great to relax and hopefully Ill get some nice sound sleep tonight. Nice picturesque campsite today with some rain sprinkles coming down as I write this at 8:30pm. So many mosquitoes still swarming outside of the tent! Overall, a good day! I was exhausted and felt rushed, and it poured and the mosquitoes, but it was good. The nice thing about backpacking is it's rewarding, and rather quickly. You may have a goal to complete a 5k or marathon and it feels so good when you reach your goal. Out here, it can kind of suck when you're getting poured on and there are 30 mosquitoes on your left hand. But, it's also quite rewarding when you overcome this. I don't know how to explain it well, I'm sure I'll come back to this topic in future entries though!

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