Numbers 6: 24-26

The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sepulcher Mountain

This is a repeat hike from last year, and it was just as spectacular. The forecast was for highs in the 50's which translates to really chilly at the peak. Oh, and rain, lots of it.

The first 2 miles looks similar to this. It's just an undulating terrain that eats up your initial energy to get up to the mountain trail.

Some of these pictures are from Bob's blue tinted lens and the others are iPhone. There was a black bear climbing the hill in front of us along the path. You don't realize how fast a bear can run and climb until you see it personally.

Despite the forecast, we decided to not back down and Kathy Haines, a volunteer in the Yellowstone Association store, who has never been able to tag along on this hike in 5 years, came with us.

We crossed paths with a foresome who were coming off the back country after 4 days/nights. They had just seen a moose on a spur trail and showed us the pictures so we went off on a chase to find it about 1/2 mile. These 2 deer are all we found.

This year we got on the trail at 9:00am, a good 2 hours earlier than last year. To do the entire loop is 12 miles, with over 4 of that straight up the switch backs.

Here Kathy is demonstrating the art of removing clothing because it didn't rain and the sun came out! We were thrilled.

The color in the Aspen, Willow, Birch and various trees is stunning this time of year.

 We are getting higher now and seeing the wonderful landscapes surrounding this mountain.

 The mountain bluebird is plentiful out here and we stood for several minutes watching a pair fly from branch to branch.

The peak in the far left is Bunsen Peak which we hiked in the first week after arriving here. It is a killer hike and looks sooo little now.

We are at the top and that is Electric Peak behind us. That is one we have no desire to hike. We can also see Electric from our cabins.

Some of the beautiful vistas from the top.

Kathy and I had sore backs by now so a little rest as we gaze on the landscape was wonderful.

Sepulcher Mountain is named because the craggy rocks on the peak resemble grave markers. :)

On the way up we passed the area where a pack of wolves have their den. All we saw was the scat, which is fine.

Last year there were 3 mountain goats on the trail that we had to pass. Bob got some awesome pictures of them. This year we spotted them along the mountain ridges. Why they want to climb like this is beyond anything sensible I can come up with!

On the climb down we passed through field after field of downed trees. These are primarily from the devastating fire of 1988. In the non-humid climate, this wood stays solid for years as this is testament to.

This is a lovely little pond/lake that we never even saw last year because it was so late when we descended the mountain.

Soo, the rain is coming and we are booking it down the mountain as quickly as possible now.

Here's Bob leading the charge up across the field on our assent. I'm just too tired to move this picture up where it should be. Sorry.

And for all intents and purposes, we are down. Only about 2 miles to go to the truck. This is the point where I tell Bob...enough with the pictures, ha!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Mount Evert

This is not the hike we were hoping to do. There is a way to go across the entire mountain in about a 12 mile hike but there are only animal trails to use and as we are not familiar with it and couldn't get anyone to go with us that knew, we did a close up and down. It looks like a long way but the entire hike was only about 5 miles long.

It was steep going up. Part of the way we were almost climbing.

We passed by a herd of Big Horn Sheep which were very healthy. Unfortunately, one of their prior members seems to have had a hard time over the last winter or so.

Here is the climb we are doing. The top of the tree line is our goal.

Break time for lunch. We're about 85% of the way up. Another ho-hum view while we eat!

In the background you might be able to see what looks like a town. That is Gardiner and where the famous Roosevelt Arch is located and where we go back through to get to our cabins.

We're back at the climb. The funny part is, there is mostly no trail to walk on to get to this point. As we ate our lunch, we watched a guy walk up the ridge to our immediate right and then walk back down with no problem. We knew how to get down after that!

You may have noticed a predominate blue tinge to these pictures by now. Bob inadvertently changed a setting on his camera and this was the result. We went to the camera store in Bozeman and they showed him how to correct it.

Here we are looking down into Mammoth Hot Springs and the Terraces.

See this peak? It is the Sepulcher Mountain and will be our next hike!

Going down went much faster and easier than going up. Beautiful views all around to see.

 Sometimes you just have to include a knarly tree in the group. There are plenty of them out here. They are wind worn and courageous to stand against the rough elements.

Miles hiked: 120

Monday, September 26, 2016


As our season comes to a close in Yellowstone for 2016, I wanted to highlight some of the many animals we've seen this year. It's about the same every year but being wild and free on this land relays the message that this wasn't always 'our' land but theirs.

Brown Squirrel

Big Horn Sheep



Black Bear (Sow and 2 cubs)

Mule Deer (Mom, Yearling and Fawn)

American Bison (aka Buffalo)

Mule Deer Twins

Missing from pictures because they were too far away or have already been posted several times: Mountain Goats, Chipmunks, Ground Squirrels, Blue Birds, Magpies, Osprey, Eagles.

I've probably left out a few but it's been another great year!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Mount Washburn

We got it in! Had to, it's named after!

I'm going to work on that connection before we come back here again. In the meantime, I talked Bob into Saturday rather than Sunday to climb it.

Turned out to be a great idea. We had wind gusts of 30-40mph but sunshine and moderate temps. The wind was so strong I had to put my stocking cap on to protect my ears.

Our destination is the peak you see here. There is a Ranger Station up there with a viewing room.

This is the road we drove on to reach the trailhead. We're already making some progress up the switchbacks.

I believe this is looking west but could be south. The range of the view is the reason there is a Ranger Station on top!

This trail is wider than most and although all uphill (or down depending on your direction :) it is well maintained and easier than most to walk on.

We're getting closer.

This is snow left over from 5 days previous. All the clothes we brought with us are on us right now!

The higher we climb, the better the views and for the first time in four years, although there were fires all around the park, the wind was so fierce that the smoke was dissipating and didn't impede the views. We could see down to the Grand Tetons.

We made it and got the required picture in front of our, I mean the, sign, hats off and all!

This is a good shot of the Buffalo fire. Named for the Buffalo flat it's burning on. A whole section of the park was/and still is closed for this fire. The wind was whipping up all the fires to the point if you passed within several miles you could see the flames and watch the trees fairly explode from the heat. We heard later over 10,000 acres have been burned. That's the info we have from 9/13.

Here is the Ranger Station up close. The white portion is the viewing room. One corner of the room's glass had been knocked in by something and was taped with Duct Tape. Seriously. When the wind whipped up the whole area shook.

Heading down. Can't beat the views!

The next day had 24 hours of solid rain and snow in the mountain tops again. Fires had a natural stop and were smoldering after that.

This is a great shot of Lake Yellowstone in the back and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone in the foreground.

And to end with something cute, here is the comparison of a chipmunk (top) and ground squirrel (bottom). The chipmunk has the stripes come onto it's head to the nose. The squirrel's stripes stop at the neck and is usually more round bodied.

They both came close in the hope of a snack (nope, we don't do that!) and posed very cutely.

 Miles hiked: 108