Beaver Ponds, Wraith Falls, Yellowstone National Park
Happy birthday to Peri and Happy Anniversary to Jim and Peri!
Jim and Peri met us at Mammoth Hot Springs this morning for our six-mile hike to Beaver Ponds. The first animals to greet us were elk right next to the start of our trail. We skirted the elk that was closest with no incident. As we started up the trail another elk was browsing off to the side. We felt safe from bears as Jim carried bear spray.
The first 0.7 miles (pant, pant) was (pant) uphill (pant, pant). We stopped to catch our breath (pant, pant) along the way. Soon we had a good view of the surrounding mountains. The trail wound us through the forest, across an open high sage plateau with few trees (hence lots of sun), and finally we came upon cool, green forest and the first three beaver ponds. They were okay, but a little disappointing.
|Bob, Jim & Peri|
The trail is a loop and we continued winding up, down and around hills in the cool forest. After another mile or two (hard to keep track without a pedometer), we came to the prettiest of the beaver ponds. Reflections of trees and mountains in the pond made this a good place for photos.
On we went, around more hills, up and down over what seemed like small moranes. Even though we were up high on the mountain, we climbed even more and came out in the high sage plateau. Being 12:30 p.m., the sun was beating down on us. I was hot and hungry and set a brisk pace toward food and air conditioning--the proverbial horse back to the barn. After about one mile of sagebrush, we crested the hill and looked straight down into Mammoth Hot Springs. Ahhhh, close to lunch and a comfortable chair!
We booked it down the hill and into a grill. The grill was a madhouse…the line was four deep to the door, and most of the tables were taken. The guys, bless their hearts, took all our gear (hiking poles, cameras, backpacks) to the cars. While waiting in line, Peri and I said, “The restaurant looked really nice.” We decided to go there instead. We had cell phone service, so I called Bob to let him know we went to the restaurant.
|The prettiest beaver pond.|
|Trail back through sagebrush.|
|Mammoth Hot Springs.|
|Happy to be finishing hike! Lunchtime.|
|Trail down from the viewpoint at Wraith Falls.|
Gardiner is a cute little town which isn’t as crowded or touristy as West Yellowstone. I went to the pharmacy and resupplied my hairspray and we opted for ice cream cones: Moose Tracks for me, and Lemon Custard for Bob. Very yummy ice cream in the pharmacy.
Bob fueled up with diesel for $3.89/gallon. We drove across the Yellowstone River to see the rest of Gardiner and found a very nice, newer grocery store called Food Farm. We stocked up on fruit, meat and salad fixins, even found our favorite Cholula Hot Sauce and Bob’s Red Mill Ground Flaxseed. Can’t beat that in the middle of nowhere.
On the way back into the park, I was able to take a photo of Gardiner’s historic arch without any cars or people in the way. We then booked it back to the 5er.
Wildlife sightings today: elk, bison, bighorn sheep, 6 sandhill cranes, coot, Canadian geese, one white pelican, one Western grebe.
Hiked 7 miles total.
Tonight we’re going to buy 24 more hours’ internet time. Yay!
Travel Bug out.