Daily Miles: 30
Total Miles: 913
Today feels like it has lasted three days. We got up at 5:00am so we could get to Old Faithful Village as earlier as possible. It was completely dark as we packed up and we used our headlamps for the first twenty minutes or so of walking.
We entered the northern boundary of Yellowstone almost immediately this morning. About an hour later, we crossed the border from Idaho into Wyoming for the first time. We even saw our first bear print in about six weeks!
Within a few miles, we got our first hint of sulphur in the air. We could see steam rising from mineral pools near the trail. The smell would come and go all day, sometimes being almost overwhelming.
We met two northbound CDT hikers, Princess and Moonshine, as we got to our first water source of the day. We asked them some logistical questions we have been having about New Mexico. Their info should help us formulate a plan when we get to our final state of the season. Seeing CDT hikers is a treat. This pair was just the 9th and 10th of the whole trip.
As we got closer to Old Faithful Village, the trail popped us out on a nice boardwalk that passed along different geysers and mineral pools/springs. It was really cool to see the crazy colors and the clear, steaming water.
We got to the village, and went straight to talk with a ranger about getting a camping permit. We were told that permits could only be gotten over the phone this year. The phone number only had a voicemail and so we left a message, but got no response. We continued to try every 15 minutes but only got the voicemail.
After waiting for about three hours, and knowing our window was shrinking, as their office was closing soon…And knowing that we needed someplace to sleep that night, Beardoh went to look for the law enforcement rangers hoping they might be able to get in touch with the permitting office.
While we waited to hear from the permitting office, we did get to see the Old Faithful Geyser erupt several times. We managed to get a second lunch at the cafeteria, and one of the rangers at the visitor’s center even offered to have us camp near his trailer if we didn’t get a permit for tonight. Everyone was very helpful, but we just wanted to keep making forward progress since we have a limited amount of food with us.
Luckily, the law enforcement ranger was able to get the permitting office on the line for Beardoh to make reservations for the next two nights. We were happy to have been able to get anything, but the campsite for tonight was further away than we had wanted. We had already hiked 18 miles to get to Old Faithful Village, and now the campsite was about 12 miles further. And we didn’t start the last 12 miles until just before 5:00pm. Ugh.
Needless to say, we walked fast toward our campsite. We knew we would be cutting it close as to whether or not we could make it before dark. Luckily the trail was easy and quiet, so we could just keep plugging away.
As dusk was setting in, we came to an area which looked like another planet. All around us was steam coming up from the ground, pools of water boiling and percolating, and small geysers erupting. The color in the landscape was amazing. We wished we could have just sat there for hours taking it all in, but our daylight was dwindling, so we just appreciated it for a few minutes before continuing on.
For the final mile before our campsite, we were told by the ranger to expect wet shoes as we would have to go through a bog. A comment from a previous hiker said to make sure your shoes were on tight before starting the bog…not encouraging words. And, yep, the bog was a muddy, messy, gross and luckily short stretch. At one point, crossing a stream in the bog, the water was over SweetPea’s knees. Our shoes, socks, gaiters and compression sleeves were pretty much caked with mud. We ended up walking around in a clear stream
near camp in order to clean off our shoes at the end of the day.
We made it to camp just as we wanted to put on our headlamps. We were so tired that we didn’t make dinner (we didn’t want to stop on the way to camp to cook), so we just ate a few snacks and went to bed. This turned out to be SweetPea’s biggest mile hiking day ever.