After 165 miles in 6 days through some of my all time favorite hiking in the Wind River Range, we took a much needed (and deserved!) double zero in Dubois, WY, at our friend Tabi’s house. (Thanks again, Tabi!!) We were on the verge of taking a third zero day, but our group somewhat reluctantly made it back to the trail that afternoon.
We still managed to get in a 20 mile day with a 12:30 start, a break at Brooks Lake Lodge, and a nearly impassable river ford. The guys crossed first and, like true gentleman, stayed in the river as Hyrobics and I crossed just in case we got swept. This crossing took all of my strength as the water was about waste deep and incredibly swift. I nearly cried tears of joy when I reached the other side. This was definitely the max depth and strength of crossing I can handle. Once we were all safely across, we used the adrenaline rush to power us up the mountain.
The following day, we hiked 29 miles putting us just south of the Yellowstone National Park boundary. Camping in the park requires backcountry permits which we planned on getting in person the next day at Grants Village about 28 miles away.
We entered Yellowstone that morning appreciating the well designed and maintained trail. Later that afternoon, we walked the shore of Heart Lake and started passing steaming hot springs and bubbling geysers.
We arrived at the main road through the park in the early evening and wondered how long it would take for our large and growing group to get a hitch six miles to Grant Village. Gusha had found a ride immediately leaving six of us to find another ride. Within seconds, a RV pulled over with room for all of us. Score!
We reunited with Gusha at Grants Village who had hitched with a park employee. She offered the group free camping for the night and the following night if desired giving us the ability to bypass permits. The next morning, we opted for a road walk through the park ending at Old Faithful Village. We finished 20 miles by 2:00 leaving the rest of the day to eat, people watch, and gaze at geysers.
Though unsurprised by the amount of people, we were still a little shocked to be a part of such a large crowd. Tourists poured in all day by the bus load phones at the ready to see the iconic geyser. The historic inn buzzed with people from all over the country and the world.
At about 6:00, our group hitched back to Grants Village for the evening with our gracious hostess. In the morning, we caught a ride with the Old Faithful postmaster back over to where we had left off. We spent our morning watching Old Faithful blast offs, devouring the breakfast buffet, and trying to find our motivation to hike.
By early afternoon, we made our way from the village down the paved walkway meandering through colorful geysers. Yellowstone quickly became one of my favorite National Parks with countless features requiring minimal effort to enjoy.
We took our time through the first couple miles passing geological wonders created by the super volcano under the earth’s crust. We were amazed that this section was actually part of the CDT. There’s so much more to Yellowstone than just Old Faithful…
We were somewhat sad to leave the colorful geysers behind, but on we went down the trail. We hiked the afternoon away coming to another state line crossing and then the Yellowstone boundary. Another state and landmark were now south of us.
Somehow our group of five stayed together for all of Wyoming, the longest we’ve ever hiked in a group. We continued on into Idaho consistently pushing about 30 miles each day no matter what the terrain. We’re all getting exhausted, yet still trying to encourage each other and ourselves down the trail. With just two states and about 800 miles to Canada, we truly have the end in site, the triple crown nearly in our hands.
For some reason, a bible verse from my childhood has been ringing in my head. I’ll leave you with a few words from 2nd Timothy…
2 Timothy 4:6-8
New International Version (NIV)
“6 – For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 – I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 – Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. ”