Friday, July 27, 2018

Day 102- Tourist Grade

Wednesday July 25, 2018
Surprise Creek(1979.5) to N. Shore Shoshone Lake(2006.7) 27.2 Miles
Total Miles: 1762.9 
Elevation: 7864 feet

My new morning routine was a little bit faster today. I’m slowly adapting to having to get my bear bag down before I can pack up. When I left camp I was immediately greeted by a stream crossing. I went to a lot of trouble last night so that I could start my day off with clean and semi dry socks. I backtracked through my campsite so that I could cross on a log. I successfully made it across the stream, but then I had to bushwhack my way back to the trail. This caused my legs to get torn up on the willow thickets and my shoes to get soaking wet from the condensation on the willow. I should have just stuck to the trail. 

Bear hanging pole 

I had only gone about a mile and a half when I had my first bear encounter. It went exactly how I wanted it to. As soon as the bear heard me it turned and ran. It was a very small grizzly. I immediately froze and searched the area for the momma bear, but it seemed to be alone. I kept my hand on Mace Windu just in case I needed a quick draw, but it was unnecessary. I could tell that it was a grizzly bear by the footprints it left behind. I was stoked about how my first grizzly encounter went. 

Today was all about speed for me. My campsite tonight is located on a lake and I was hoping to get there early enough to enjoy myself. I was hoping to hike ten miles without taking a break, but I failed miserably. I hike about four and a half miles before I had to stop for water. The next thirteen miles would be dry. There would be water, but my map said that is was  undrinkable   I wasn’t sure why, but I filled up with extra water. I think this was the first time in hundreds of miles that I have carried two liters of water. I took a quick break at Heart Lake while I filled up. After leaving the lake I came upon four Park rangers. I’ve heard horror stories about how they treat cdt hikers. I didn’t have that experience. They were all very friendly and didn’t hassle me the slightest. They did however hold me up. I had hoped to have hiked eight miles by then, but I was only at five. It was time to pick up the pace. 

Mt. Sheridan reflected in Heart Lake

Park Ranger Cabin

The next section of trail was a total surprise. I hiked through a geothermal region of the Park. It was beyond cool. It was like hiking on a different planet. The landscape was smoky and stunk of sulphur. This was my first experience in a geyser basin and I loved it. It was also the reason there was no drinkable water. 

So freaking cool

I was in and out of the geothermal area before I knew it. I wished it would have lasted longer, but it was a good intro for what was to come. The next six miles flew by. The great thing about hiking in a National Park is that most of the trails are what I like to call tourist grade. Most of today was like hiking in Florida. It was extremely flat. I was able to keep up a 3 mph pace without breaking a sweat. Part of the hike was on a smooth, wide, dusty trail. I could see the prints of a black bear for close to three miles. The prints were coming my way, but I never got to see the bear. 

Black bear prints 

I saw several trail crews today. I stopped and chatted with them all. Some were park employees, Forest Service workers, or Youth Conservation Corps kids. I thanked all of them for their hard work. Twelve miles into my day I came out into a major trailhead. There was a privy and trash cans. I took advantage of both. You know how much I enjoy getting rid of my trash while on trail. I had a dangerous .25 mile walk down a highway with no shoulder. There was a lot of traffic and no shoulder to walk along. I was glad when I turned into yet another trailhead. 

No shoulder 

Tourist grade trail

As I hiked along the super nice trail I met my first two SoBo hikers. We talked for over twenty minutes, filling each other in on what was to come. I hope to see even more in the coming days. I made it to my next checkpoint on schedule. I rewarded myself with a longer break. Once my break was done I had to walk through a lake to reconnect with the trail. It was two o’clock and I had managed to keep my feet dry until then. 

Waste Deep and icy cold

Loving the tourist grade trail

S. Bank of Shoshone lake

Notice the nice blue sky in the above picture. Within two hours of this I got hit by a major thunderstorm. I went from really enjoying the hike to huddling under a pine tree. I was hoping that it would pass quickly and it did. The worst was over in about twenty minutes. After that it was a gentle rain that lasted about thirty minutes. 

Dark skies beginning to clear up

The Sobo’s told me that I would have to hike through a marshy big with calf deep mud. Knowing that I had to deal with that I stopped trying to keep my feet dry. It was even worse than I thought it was going to be. Not only did I have to walk through a muddy bog , I had to do it while being stalked by a horde of mosquitos. For only the second time this trip I put on my insect headnet. That kept the blood suckers from going for my face and neck. 


About one mile before reaching my campsite I went through the Shoshone Geyser Basin, there were geysers all over the place. I was in awe. The trail went so close to them. I silently wandered if it was a good idea to have hikers in such close proximity to the thermal pools and geysers. I didn’t ponder over it for very long. I was in awe of what I was seeing. Geysers are really neat and I was stoked to have this area all to myself. I didn’t have to fight through any crowds. 

Shoshone Geyser Basin 

You can see my trail in the background

What a great section

The sun had come back out and I was able to get my rain gear dried out. I didn’t realize that my campsite was almost a mile off trail. It was a nice spot next to the shore of the lake. The major downside was the horrendous mosquitos. At least it wasn’t biting flies. I went down to the lake to wash the remains of the swamp off of my socks and shoes. I got my tent set up and began to cook dinner. As the sunset the mosquitos really came out to play. I was sorely tempted to eat dinner in my tent, but that didn’t seem like a good idea in grizzly territory. Even with the swamp and mosquitos, today was a good day. 

Dark cherry almond quinoa salad that I dehydrated at home. It was yummy

Food prep and bear hang area

Nice sunset over the lake 

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.”
- Abraham Lincoln


  1. Love the scenery you are experiencing as well as how you are handling the good and the problems of the day. Play on words with the quote?

  2. Love seeing the geysers and I am surprised that hikers are allowed so close to them. Beautiful scenery. Great to see your footprint next to the bear's, stay safe.

  3. A fun day even with the bad parts. Your dinner did look good. Glad the dehydrated food has worked out. Love the geysers, too. Trail looks much better than the willows. Much easier with the pole to hang food. Enjoy the sights. LU

  4. When I was in Denali the guide told us he would rather run into a Grizzly in the wild than a Moose because the Grizzly is more predictable. So careful of the Moose! Great scenery!

  5. What a great day of scenery and wildlife. The geysers are so cool! I have been so afraid of you running into a grizzly, so glad it was small and it ran from you! Stay safe my friend!

  6. Hi Yoda - I’m having trouble posting but will keep trying - I’m following your blog since we met on the way to Steamboat Springs Tom and Lauren.

    Am reading your AT blog - Lauren from San Antonio