Great Loop Section #2

9/6/14-9/13/14   135 miles down- Flagg Ranch to 9 mile trailhead.

Resupply days are always fun.  It is like Christmas morning.  You can’t help but be excited about all the fun food you will be eating over the next few days.  There is a downfall to all that food, it is heavy.  Our packs felt like they were full of bricks as we headed back up the road to the South Entrance of Yellowstone.  Just behind the Ranger Station we forded the Snake River and were back on the trail.

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Playing around in camp along the Snake River.

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Hiking up the west side of Big Game Ridge turned out to be much more difficult than we had expected.  Multiple times we felt like we had reached the high point only to turn the corner and see that we had more climbing to do.  The view from the top was worth every step.  From the ridge we could see for miles; Yellowstone Lake, The Tetons, Heart Lake, Mount Sheridan, and beyond.  Not far from the top of the ridge the trail briefly leaves Yellowstone, we camped in a clump of trees just outside of the park boundary.

 

Yellow September 114

We received a friendly reminder that we were in bear country.  During a snack break at the Harebell cabin we couldn’t help but notice the claw marks all over the cabin.  The cabin looked like it was a grizzly’s personal scratching post. Bears aren’t the only critters around,we followed wolf tracks on and off as we made our way up Big Game Ridge.

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Ran across this guy on the trail just east of Fox Creek Patrol Cabin.

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Just as the last light was leaving us at Mariposa Lake we heard the bugle of a bull elk.  We could see him making his way though the meadow next to our camp.  His attention was directed towards a small stand of trees in the middle of the meadow.  Zack pointed towards the stand of trees and whispered “bear”.  Sure as shit there was a bear meandering around the stand of trees and heading in our general direction.  In full light this would have been an uncomfortable situation, with the fading light it was even more unsettling.  The bear continued to move towards us.  We began to shout “Hey Bear” and clapped our hands together.  I shook a small tree that was next to me.  The Elk startled and ran off, but the bear wasn’t being as responsive as we would have liked.  Eventually our yelling and clapping got the bear’s attention and he turned and headed away from our camp.  After about 30 minutes without any sign of the bear we gathered up enough courage to crawl into our tent.  Most nights we would lie side by side in the tent and read before we drifted off to sleep.  On this night we made a point to read out loud any excerpt from our books we thought remotely interesting. When we read out loud we would do it at full volume in an attempt to keep any unwanted visitors away. There we were  shoulder to shoulder in a tent yelling at each other throughout the night.  Very little sleep was had!

Yellow September 186

Hiking along the trail through the Thorofare with the Trident in the distance.

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Stopped at the Cabin Creek Patrol Cabin for a break.

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Zack looking at the braided Yellowstone River just south of Yellowstone Lake.

The following day would be our second resupply of the trip.  Katie and Nic were going to meet as at 9 mile trailhead, with 5 days worth of food.  They were also going to join us for the next 5 days of hiking!


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