July 27, Day 35 – Trail Magic!

The first 20 miles of today was along a river in Yellowstone Park and was filled with lots of hot springs and thermal pools. It was really fun hiking and while the views weren’t vast they were filled with interesting features. Once out of the park, the majority of the remainder of the day was on dirt road and that led to getting a free beer and a homemade cookie from a woman who works for the forest service and had hiked the PCT in 2018. After enjoying a roadside beer, a man drive by and offered me a ride down the road so I accepted. He dropped me off 6 miles down the road at an unused guard station that had a water pump, outhouse, picnic table and a pretty nice view. I spent almost 2 hours here before finishing out the rest of the miles for the day. The rest of the day was all on trail and took me down through a beautiful canyon. I finished my day by walking into a equestrian trailhead to find a couple from Park City, Utah with a nice fire going. They handed me a few beers as well and I spent an hour talking about the trail with them. 35 miles of hiking and several beers had me fall asleep pretty quick!

Miles: 35.2 Total Miles: 566.2

Elevation of Camp: 6,544’

One of the many hot springs flowing into the river
Trail magic!

July 26, Day 34 – Enjoying the amenities of a National Park

I got out of bed pretty quickly this morning and for good reason. There’s a $15 breakfast buffet at Old Faithful Inn that starts at 6:30am. The road was pretty desolate this morning so I was worried about how long it would take to get a hitch but it only took about 20 minutes. In order to improve my odds for a hitch, I walked down the highway a bit to get to an intersection and came across about 15 elk standing alongside the road. They didn’t seem to mind that I was there and I was able to get some pictures and videos of them. Right after walking away from them, someone picked me up and took me all the way to the front door of the buffet. Rob, Trashalope and Approach showed up over the next hour and we had a wonderful breakfast together. We spent the rest of the day relaxing outside the general store and talking with other hikers. Our campsite for the night was only 12 flat miles away so I waited until 4:30 to start hiking. This also gave me the chance to talk with Colleen for over an hour. It was great to catch up for a bit! Rob, Approach and I all camped together and went to sleep as soon as the sun went down. All that eating really wore us out. The first half of the trail today was on the CDT but the second half and our campsite are not. We are headed straight south in order to hike the Teton Crest Trail for a few days and then see some friends of mine in Jackson. We won’t be back on the CDT again for at least a week.

Miles: 12.3 Total Miles: 531.0

Elevation of Camp: 8,372’

July 25, Day 33 – Wyoming and Old Faithful

This was some of the easiest trail I’ve ever hiked. It was flat or slightly downhill all the way into Old Faithful from the border of the park and I was eating hot food by 12:30! The last few miles before reaching Old Faithful Village took us by some beautiful geysers and thermal pools. Unfortunately I only took photos of them on my other camera and not my phone and then forgot to copy them to my phone before I sent the camera home. We spent the rest of the day eating and lounging around. At 4pm, we hitched over to Grants Village in order to do laundry, shower and camp at a campground. Here we met about 10 northbounders and got to share stories of trail all night. It was nice to have a little bit of community and make new friends.

Miles: 18.2 Total Miles: 518.7

Elevation of Camp: 7,350’

Only 3 states left: Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. We hope to be in Colorado around the 18th of August.

July 24, Day 32 – Idaho!

There’s not much to write about today. We walked on dirt roads for the first 22 miles and there were very few views and overall it was a pretty boring day. I listened to A Thousand Splendid Suns and Harry Potter on audiobook all day. The one exciting thing was that we crossed into Idaho around 2pm! We will only be in Idaho until tomorrow morning but this is my first time in the state so I’m pretty excited. We ended the day by camping 10 feet outside of the Yellowstone National Park boundary. We don’t have permits to camp in the park so this is the farthest we can go today. The one water source we had today was a nasty pond that ended up clogging my filter so bad I’m going to have to buy a new one as soon as I can. Tomorrow we finally enter Wyoming! Oh, and I crossed the 500 miles hiked mark!!!

Miles: 25.9 Total Miles: 500.5

Elevation of Camp: 8,147’

The only picture I took today. This was the best view I had all day.

July 23, Day 31 – The Skyline Trail

We got moving pretty early this morning and had a hitch in about 10 minutes. Since we were going to be going back through West Yellowstone this evening we decided to leave most of our gear at the hotel and only carried our food, water and bear protection. These light packs made our 2,200’ climb very easy. Once at the top of the climb we walked a few miles across a basin and then descended down into a different river valley. The wildflowers were beautiful and the trail was smooth! We then had a 1,000’ climb over a few miles and I saw a lone bull elk at the top. He was majestic! The other side of this last ridge had us looking down at Hebgen Lake and the town of West Yellowstone in the distance. This meant I had phone service so I made a lot of calls. It made the long and windy descent go by really fast. We got down to Red Canyon Trailhead and I went down to the creek down a dirt road to get some water and found a couple heading back to town who graciously gave us a hitch. Look at that, another quick hitch! I really hope our luck doesn’t run out any time soon. We spent a few hours in town doing our resupply and resting before hiking 3 miles straight south out of town along some dirt roads. These roads will lead us back to the official CDT, which we haven’t been on since the day we camped at Many Glacier in Glacier National Park.

Miles: 22.2 Total Miles: 474.6

Elevation of Camp: 7,075’

The trail we hiked today is called The Skyline Trail for good reason