Day 3 Walk The Parks!
Miles: 19? Check Strava Steps: 40,829 Vertical gain; Strava Liquid consumed: 180 oz. Wildlife: Frog, Toad, really cool birds that sucked their heads all crazy when they ran from me, mosquitoes, and I heard something really big but didn't get to see it. Faith in Humanity: good conversation with strangers, free campsite sharing, free venison burger! Damn, my new life is a bit stressful! Crazy lightning and thunder as I was trying to go to bed last night and it lasted quite a while. Quite close to me and my tent, too. These first few days sure have been trying: going the wrong way, pouring rain, crazy creek crossings, the ever present threat of Yellowstone wildlife (haven't seen any bears, though which I'm happy about). Flash! BAAAAANG! The rain pounds down. It's hard not to be at least a little afraid. Lightning seems so random though, unless you're the highest object around, so is my fear irrational? Probably, but regardless it's still impossible to sleep through. It rained a lot. Hopefully the creeks aren't up too much. Going to get drenched the second I start hiking too. Haha, doesn't everyone wish they were out here doing this with me??? Oh wow what a day! It's 8pm now and pouring outside with the daily thunderstorm. A beautiful morning hike through meadow after meadow. Beautiful birds, wildflowers and silence of the wilderness. But the Snake River was on my mind. I knew this was the most serious ford of my trip and the reports of this crossing were pretty pessimistic leading up to the trip. When I saw the Snake river my jaw dropped. Not only was it huge, but the waters were murky from all of the new water of last nights rain storm. I laughed a bit. Worst case I could spend the night or hike all the way out, but I was going to at least give it a shot. My first attempt was quickly abandoned. It was deep and swift. Uh oh. But then I explored a bit upstream and found a place that was significantly wider and gave it another go. Not so bad! Up to my waist and quite slippery, but the flow wasn't overly strong. Another 8 inches and it would have been terrifying! I was so relieved to reach the other side! I celebrated by drying out all of my gear in the sunlight and eating some ramen. I knew. Know that Yellowstone was conquered! The park wasn't complete until another beautiful 6 mikes of forest was traversed, in which exhaustion set in again. My pack is too heavy. Excess gear I have that I won't have for too much longer: ice ax (1.5 pounds), crampons(2 pounds), bear canister (2.5 pounds), bear spray (14 oz). That's almost 7 pounds. Haha, I even got made fun of for my pack size today. Made me giggle. Some of the exhaustion is caused by dehydration too, so I really tried to drink up. I passed a couple of Yellowstone's famous hot springs and saw a sign marking the border of Yellowstone. 1 down, 46 to go! Yeah! Next I took an unmapped trail to the Sheffield creek Trailhead. The trail ended in a stock camp. I chatted up the workers but they didn't really want to chat. I did get some information about the upcoming trail though, so that's good. Next I walked a mile to Flagg Ranch: food! I already had a bunch of food in my pack but I wanted to take an "easy" day (still did 20 miles) and food sounded amazing. As did the potential for socializing! I had 2 liters of Powerade and two microwaveable burritos and some fresh fruit. I met 2 cycle tourists doing the Continental Divide cycling route. They were from VA and nice to talk to. They really liked the adventure cycling maps. He owned a bicycle shop that he ran out of a school bus, which I thought was really cool. Next the F and B manager of the restaurant came out. He was into long distance backpacking and had recently done the Arizona Trail. He mocked my backpack for its size and told me I'd get the weight down. I explained my trail name is Deluxe because I always carry far too many things. Haha. He is right though and thinking about this made me giggle some more. I left after quite a while at the store and headed back to the Trailhead. I passed through the full campground and realized I didn't have any water. I checked my map and it didn't look like there was any water on the trail. Oops. So I turned around, asked the first people I saw if I could camp with them and they kindly agreed. I offered to split the cost and they said no. Very kind of them! Faith in humanity! Nice college boys from Alabama, Auburn specifically. They even offered and cooked me up a venison burger that was mighty tasty! Faith in humanity again! Then a thunderstorm came sweeping in, causing me to retire to my tent. I asked my other camp neighbors if I could use their bear box and they said yes. How nice. Now I'm writing this and about to go to sleep I think! Tomorrow it's the Sheffield creek trail to the Arizona creek trail to a roadwalk to a place that may or may not have space for me! The adventure continues. Another amazing day of Walk the Parks!