Days 1 & 2: Getting there via Billings and the Beartooth Highway
Day 3: visiting the Norris Basin and the Artist Paintpots; hiking the Beaver Ponds Trail
Day 4: Exploring Mammoth Hot Springs; visiting Lamar Valley and hiking to Slough Creek
Day 5: Conquering Mount Washburn; visiting the Mud Volcano; leaving Mammoth for Yellowstone Lake
Day 6: hiking the lower rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Day 7: visiting Old Faithful and the other geysers; leaving Yellowstone Lake for the Grand Tetons
Day 8: hiking to Two Ocean Lake; visiting Signal Mountain
Day 9: hiking to Taggart and Bradley Lake; leaving Colter Bay Village for Grand Targhee
Day 10: running the Grand Tetons trail marathon
Day 11: Leaving Grand Targhee for Bozeman, MT
Day 12: returning to Boston
Mount Washburn is reputedly to be the one Yellowstone hike that one must do if one only has time for one hike, because the summit affords views the entire park. It’s about 6 miles round-trip with 1400 feet of elevation gain on a wide, non-technical dirt road. After only a few days in Yellowstone, we quickly figured out that 90% of the park’s visitors do not venture more than .25 miles off of the main road. But with Mt. Washburn’s reputation, we still started early. There’s nothing that the Ps hate more than crowds.
Uphill climb up Mt Washburn -- Why am I the only one smiling?
Very soon, our destination came into view, marked by a prominent lookout tower/visitor center. It was a very good motivation for Little Boy!
Lookout tower near summit
Little Boy was, at times, surprisingly game for the journey…
With his kiddie hydration pack!
But other times, I had to resort to bribery-by-candy to get him to move. And, at times, I may have insulted his masculinity, but that’s for him and his future therapist to decide.
We're. Freaking. Hiking.
The view improved and I got that giddy “ooooh, mountain!” feeling.
View on the way up
And suddenly, we were on the summit. Little Boy looks so jaded, like, wateva.
People oohhed and aahed over Little Boy on the summit. “Wow, I can’t believe… wow, how old is he?” But Mt. Washburn was actually minor compared to some of his other hikes (I’m remembering you, Moosilauke, with your 7.4 miles and 2450 foot climb). Dare I say ma belle-mere struggled a bit more?
The views were amazing, of course.
View from Mt. Washburn
As we made our way down, we encountered dozens of hikers ascending Mt. Washburn. This is why we come early! we affirmed to ourselves.
We didn’t bring a picnic, but after coming back to the car, we readily found a picnic area nearby with a nice space for some football.
We continued driving to Yellowstone lake. We encountered traffic, of course.
Other bison, looking scenic
We also encountered the hydrothermal mud volcano cluster known as “mud volcano.” Keep in mind the photographs do not convey the sound, smells, or motion of these mesmerizing features!
The Dragon's Mouth
Massive Mud pot
There were fires burning near us. And trails closed due to bears. I thought about how strange it was — in Massachusetts, a road closed due to construction will induce pure blinding rage. But, I cannot argue with a road closure due to bears and fire. We eventually made it to Yellowstone Lake Cabines, only to find out our cabins were not ready. Talk about a blinding rage! (I’m looking at you, belle-mere).
What a great day! I’m so proud of my little hiker who can seriously hike big mountains!