The second day of our weekend was suppose to be nice, or at least no rain. That didn’t really happen. It was still cold and the sun refused to shine. But we went on a couple hikes anyway. And they were pretty awesome.
Let me back track for a minute. We had a pretty busy day planned for ourselves. We had two hikes planned, one up to the see the Petrified Trees on Specimen Ridge and the Bridge on the way to the Hellroaring Creek. We also planned to stop at Tower Falls and go to the Boiling River and not get home too late. Because of the weather, we were a bit lazy getting out of our sleeping bags and into the cold air. If we had drug ourselves up a bit earlier, we would have maybe completed all our hikes. Since there was snow, yes in August, the night before (even if it wasn’t on us), we were lazy and cut all things a bit short.
We did stop at Tower Falls. I don’t know why, but I think it is one of my favorite in the park. We went down to the river and hung out for a bit before heading out. We also spent extra time looking around at the canyon area, which I hadn’t done before. It is such a beautiful part of the park.
Our next stop was the petrified trees. And not the one linked above. This was a hike to the top of Specimen Ridge, but not the long way that you can go, it’s like 10 miles. This was from an unmarked parking lot on the south side of the road just west of the Lamar River bridge. If you cross the bridge you went too far. The trail itself is pretty obvious. It follows an old jeep trail for the first bit, then it splits and heads south east up the hill. And it is steep. STEEP. It’s only three miles round trip, but it will kick your ass. The weather was threatening rain the entire time, and parts of it were muddy and slick from the rain the day before.
The trees made it worth it. We would have completely missed the first one you pass on the trail had it not been for the couple stopped next to it. We were focused on getting up the hill. We turned around where the trail hit the hill top. We could have continued on the ridge line for a bit, but it didn’t look like the view was going to get much better. We managed to make it back down the hill will out sliding on our butt through the mud and moved on to the next trail.
The trail to Hellroaring Creek is actually a four mile hike round trip. The bridge is about half way in over the Yellowstone River and the trail to it is the most difficult part of the hike. You switch back down a big hill with great views of the river. They make up for it. We were really hoping to see a bear in the meadows beyond, but had not luck. The bridge is really cool and worth the trip, even if my legs were hurting from the earlier hike.
We forced ourselves back up the hill and into the truck to head to the Boiling River. We stopped briefly at the Mammoth Hot Springs since The Sexy Master Electrician had never been on the way. The sun decided it was finally time to come out as we arrived at the river. Naturally. Why wouldn’t you want it to be sunny and hot as you enter a boiling river? I don’t know why not either. It still felt great. We found a perfect spot that didn’t have terrible scalding and freezing alternating currents. My muscles needed it. It was a perfect end to the weekend.
So that’s the end of our last summer weekend in the park. It closed early October and some roads closed after Labor Day for construction. We will be going back to the Boiling River this winter and hopefully do some snowmobiling too, but I can’t wait to head back next summer for more exploring!