After camping near Quake Lake Friday night, we headed over to Yellowstone, (you can check out the trip map here). I had originally wanted to explore the southern part of park, but most of it is still closed. A lot of hikes are still covered in snow, so we stuck to the northern part of the park. After a quick stop at the Madison Junction Information Center, we decided to head out on the Sentinel Meadows Trail to the Queens Laundry Hot Springs, a five to six mile loop, most of which is considered back country, which means no tourist.
The day was perfect for hiking and the hike was really easy. There was little or no elevation gain. I did get a little nervous when it started to feel like we lost the trail, which the guide books will tell you is common since there is nothing to attach the markers to in the meadow. We could see the white mounds of the hot springs and knew we were headed in the right direction. Once we could see around a hill, we could see a marker on the far side where the trail picked up again.
There was no one else on the trail and it was awesome. We wandered
on around the hot springs and checked out the first structure that was commissioned in the park. It was suppose to be a bathhouse fed by the hot spring, but the park commissioner changed and it was never finished.
The second half of the loop was much easier to follow through a wooded area. We did have to go through another mush area and I was not wearing the right shoes for it. We were thinking about continuing the hike down to Fairy Falls, but we spent so much time wandering around the hot springs, we headed back to the truck see more of the park.
After the hike, we went over to Old Faithful, we were not interested in seeing it erupt, we were interested in looking at the Visitor Center. It was the first project I ever worked on. Due to budget, a lot was cut, a lot of what I worked on, but it was still cool to see. After seeing the center, we headed over to the West Thumb Geyser Basin. After a stroll on the boardwalk between the geysers and Yellowstone Lake, we did one more little hike to Duck Lake.
The hike to Duck Lake is only a mile round trip. Along the way, you can see both Duck Lake and Yellowstone Lake. When you come across the power lines, head up the hill and check out the view of the lakes from there. The trail comes out of a dense woods onto a nice little beach. Across from the beach is the road looping around at a higher elevation. People were stopped taking pictures of the lovely view. I like to think that when they saw movement across the way, they thought some typically unseen animal was coming out. Nope just us. Someone had build a tepee like structure on the beach for us to hang out under and watch the people watching us.
Once we were over the lake and getting hungry we headed to our campground at Bridge Bay via a beautiful drive along Yellowstone Lake.
Stay tuned for the last day of our awesome weekend.