Tag Archives: Yellowstone National Park

Cycling in Yellowstone [Day Trip]

Untitled

This spring I finally had the timing right and was able to bike in Yellowstone before the park opened to motor vehicles. Every spring, depending on the snow melt and clearing, there is a two to four week window where you can ride your bike in the park from the west entrance. That means the dates are never the same, but typically in April. For the first time since moving back to Montana, I was able to make a ride happen this year.

Untitled

It was awesome. The Sexy Master Electrician and I loaded up our road bikes, a picnic, beers and our tiny camp chairs and headed to West Yellowstone. There was a larger group of people who had talked about going but couldn’t for one reason or another when the day came. I maybe shouldn’t have gone because I was still trying to kick this endless cold. It was worth the hacking cough afterward. We were worried the weather was going to suck, and it was a bit chilly, but layers fixed everything and the sun was sun was shining. I will admit the last couple miles with a head wind did suck, but it was great for a 30ish mile ride in to Madison Junction and back out.

Untitled

It was so wonderful to be in the park without cars or motor homes and big fifth wheels. There were several people out biking. Most probably doing the same ride we did. It’s pretty flat and easy and with all the stopping to look around and what not, it only took about three hours. Next time we want to go a bit farther up to Norris or maybe try to make a one way run up to the north entrance, but that is not a flat ride and its pretty long. I need to get back into better biking shape for that.

Untitled
Untitled
The road follows the Madison River and buffalo were all over. I was surprised we didn’t see more elk. The scenery was breathtaking. The mountains were still snowy and the ground was green. We didn’t spend much time at the junction before turning around to claim a picnic spot at one of the turnouts. On the way back, TSME had to race who ever he could catch on the road. I took a slightly lazier approach. It was a great way to spend the early afternoon.

Untitled

Advertisements

XC Skiing in Yellowstone [Bunsen Peak Trail]

Untitled
For the 2016 Superbowl, The Sexy Master Electrician decided to give cross country skiing another try after not being too fond of it last winter. We went back to Yellowstone and rented gear at the shop by Mammoth Hot Springs. We picked up a map and advice on where to go. They had just received new snow so we were pretty excited to go. We decided to try the trail around Bunsen Peak. Thankfully, the guy at the shop told us which way to go, I was thinking it would be easier to go the other way. That was not the case at all.

Untitled
We could have waited for shuttle to take us to the trail head but we decided to hike/ski up the road a few miles and not have to wait and hour or pay. Plus, this meant we got to ski through the Hoodoos. It was a bit longer than the guy thought to the trail head, but we made it. We were off on a beautiful blue sky day with no evidence of anyone being out there before us yet that day.

Untitled
The road up to the trail was mostly up hill, nothing terrible, but still up hill. The trail around the mountain was pretty flat and lovely. We eventually reached a junction to a trail that continued south were you can go to Indian Creek and later we ran in to some people who were on their way back from there.

Untitled

We stopped for lunch on the east side of the peak just before it started going down hill. And this was serious downhill with switchbacks and all. Something that I had no practice with on cross country skis and we both spent plenty of time on our butts. It’s hard to stop in these skis. We started to get the hang of it as the slope became less sever an there wasn’t a cliff on one side of us to worry about.
Untitled

In total it was just over 9 miles long and a nice fellow skier gave me a lift back to Shorty. After we dropped off our skis we headed down to the boiling river for a lovely soak before heading home.
Untitled

Northern Yellowstone [Weekend Trip pt.2]

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.

Love not being the one who got up first to start the fire. Or breakfast

Love not being the one who got up first to start the fire. Or breakfast

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.

Black Canyon

Black Canyon

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.

Petrified Tree

Petrified Tree

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.

Muddy Slope

Muddy Slope

Petrified Stump

Petrified Stump

On Specimen Ridge

On Specimen Ridge

Lamar Valley from Specimen Ridge

Lamar Valley from Specimen Ridge

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.

Suspension Bridge

Suspension Bridge

Beartooth pass 2014 (145)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. Beartooth pass 2014 (147)

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.

Boiling River

Boiling River

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!