November 1, 2014 § Leave a comment
Our last morning began with the usual queuing for the cat-hole trowel. I was first (as was getting to be normal) and afterwards I grabbed my fly rod and headed down to the pond for one last native trout fishing experience. Forgotten was it that my one week license was purchased through Friday, and that technically I would be fishing illegally, but as they say, ignorance is in fact bliss. I fished the edge for a while until Larry abandoned The Point and then I took up his former location as this was a prime location. I was still fishing the dry cadis, but the morning felt different and I was pretty sure I had the wrong fly. A few casts, and I was about time to hang it up, when a fish took my fly and I managed to set the hook in time. It would be fair to note here that it took me more than a few tries the previous evening to get the hang of “setting the hook”. I could feel immediately that this was no small fry, so I pulled him in and as it turned out he was just barely legal. I was fishing for fun, so catch and release was the name of the game, and after Larry helped me extract the hook, I placed him back in the water and off it swam.
October 22, 2014 § Leave a comment
My initial focus this morning was what I could see. Facing south because I like to sleep on my right side, my view was open as that was the direction I had set my Tyvek shelter the previous night. In those first moments of consciousness I couldn’t help notice the clouds; The dark clouds; While coming into focus they appeared to be coming our way up the basin. “Rohr Oh” were the only words I could mutter and I jumped out of my sleeping bag with definite purpose. If a storm was coming, then I needed to re-orient my shelter away from the wind. I quickly stiffed my bag, and rolled up my sleeping pad. I decided to take another look. Maybe the clouds weren’t heading right for us. Maybe they were moving right to left across my field of view. Maybe I jumped to the wrong initial conclusion.
October 20, 2014 § Leave a comment
The day would prove to be a lot more challenging than the 4-ish miles we calculated we had to travel. On paper it seemed like it might be an easy day. Eighth mile return to the H55 trail, and then 3.5 miles to and over Bluebell. We had studied the lake documentation and we decided to camp on X25, one of the unnamed lakes without camping restrictions, and we hoped some native cut-throat trout. 🙂
October 17, 2014 § Leave a comment
Day 4 is upon us. We will be moving camp from our current elevation, back down the Yellowstone, and then up the Bluebell Pass trail to Milk Lake. The net change in elevation will be almost +300′, but we need to lose 600′, and then gain back the 900′. We will be covering some of the same ground that we did on Day 2, however, we will hang a left when we get to the first trail junction. The hike back will have us recross the Yellowstone again, and we will have also to recross Milk Creek, which was a little dodgy the first time. Once we make the left onto Bluebell though, the terrain changes from a long valley walk, to a hill climb. The map indicates switchbacks, but there isn’t anything written which says how many, and how long they last. Reading the map says, there is about 1.2 miles of initial switchbacks, and then it levels off for a bit, re-connects with Milk Creek, and then ascends a little more mildly to the trail junction with Milk Lake. There, a spur will climb the final stretch to the lake where we will commence the search for a fire ring.
October 16, 2014 § Leave a comment
“Them mountains are mean!!”
I don’t really recall where that statement comes from. It might be from a weekend trip a long time back in West Virginia, but there is a certain wiseness to the statement. Mountains can be mean, because weather can form quickly. The higher the mountain, the more air it traps, and forces upwards where it is cooler, and the moisture begins to precipitate out, forming clouds, and later rain and lightening.
October 15, 2014 § Leave a comment
October 13, 2014 § Leave a comment
Full packs carrying everything we think we need with calculated duplicates (cat hole shovels, TP, pumps, etc), and starting out at 8400′ elevation. Destination is the trail junction up to the Garfield Creek Basin. The trail head sign says 9 miles, and the trail follows the Yellowstone Creek the whole way. It is important to keep in mind that this is a high basin that gets a lot of snow in the wInter, so the trail cannot follow the creek at its current water line. Therefore it meanders higher above the creek at times, so there are gains and losses, but in general we gain elevation the whole hike. 9400-9600′ is the final elevation for the day.