Daily Miles: 13
Total Miles: 863
We made it back to West Yellowstone this morning and headed straight to the post office. We had two packages waiting for us…one had all of our “bear country” accessories, like our bear spray and our alcohol stoves (we had to use canister stoves in CO). That package also had new shoes for Beardoh.
Our other package was rain gear from Montbell. After going through a few ponchos (the cuben fiber on our first ponchos was going bad, and the second ponchos we had were just cheap $10 ones we picked up on the way), we had decided to get rain jackets and rain pants. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we won’t need to wear them, but at least we know that we have reliable rain gear now.
After getting all of our stuff sorted out, we drove to the MT/ID border on Highway 20…the same spot where we started the trail almost two months ago. We said goodbye to MountainMan and Ace, then instead of going north from the road like we did in June, we walked south from the road.
What a difference a small change (one side of the road or the other) can make. Our first day back in June was a total beat down, but today the trail was really quite nice. The tread was soft dirt and pine needles, the grade felt either flat or slightly inclined/declined, and the trail barely went over 8,000 feet.
Unfortunately, when Beardoh was getting out of the car at the trail, there was a dip in the ground and he twisted his ankle pretty badly. It was sore and aching the rest of the day. He took some ibuprofen and it seemed to do ok when he was walking, but after breaks, it felt quite stiff and painful. Hopefully it will feel better over the next few days. It is too bad that just as his stomach is better, he hurts his ankle. Geez.
The walking was easy today, but we took things at a slow pace for Beardoh’s ankle. We took several long breaks and stopped to make dinner around 5pm. When we were packing up after dinner, the craziest thing happened. We were putting things in our packs, and then we looked up and saw a fox walking down the trail towards us. He seemed very unperturbed by us and appeared ready to keep walking up to us. Once he was about 15 feet away, we waved our poles to scare him off. He did a half circle around us and got back on the trail, and started walking back towards us. Then we started making a bunch of noise to scare him off and he ran off. We have never had a fox get so close us before. Usually they run off at the first sight of us. When we have walked through national parks before, the deer are always way too comfortable around people, but we have never seen that behavior in a fox, plus we are still 22 miles from the Yellowstone National Park boundary. Very weird.
We made it to camp just after 6:30pm. We are surprised at how warm it still is as we were getting camp set up. We are quite a bit lower in elevation than what we have been used to in Colorado. It is a perfect temperature and the woods are completely silent.