Friday, August 9, 2013
Day 53 - Back to reality
We 10 more beautiful miles in Yellowstone this morning, hiking above and then crossing Snake river seveal times. All of the rivers here are named thematically after local animals, Snake, Mink, Buffalo, Fox. The river was our guide, and we heeled it as we walked out of the hiked out of Yellowstone and into the Grand Tetons.
Last night, we also camped with Steve and Sparrow. Steve is an impressive guy, a triple crowner. He's doing the CDT again, as a victory lap. He'll share interesting tidbits about the his '07 hike--such as the patrol cabin at Fox Creek where he took a two hour lunch. Steve's also an early riser and late hiker. Since we leave camp much later, it's rare to see him during the day. We thought we might see him at the patrol cabin, but must have just missed him. We had a nice lunch in the shaded area in the back, and it was back on the road. We passed a few horse packers, one of which was holding a dog in the saddle. The poor thing was frightened by the thunder of the rapidly approaching storm.
After the first 20mi of the day, we were hit by rain just as we were ascending the last pass of the day. We climbed the ridge in the rain, in full ponchos, steaming and sweating under the plastic. We climbed forested switchbacks without view, until we emerged into an amazing vista--the jagged, looming peaks of the Grand Tetons. Just then, a herd of ten elk trotted across the trail, with their noses pointed snootily in the air. They turned to look at us, then trotted a little faster. Beautiful, graceful creatures.
We also found a clean, white horse skull on the trail, pointing uphill. This was the second set of prominent large animal remains. The first was an enormous set of antlers, so heavy. I've seen other thruhiker photos with these antlers, so it must be a trail tradition to photograph yourself with them as you leave or enter Yellowsone.
As we descended back down into the valley, we crossed Two Oceans Creek. This creek splits into Atlantic and Pacific, indicating each creek's respective watershed. Truly an amazing sight to see the parting of the waters on the Continental Divide.
At the base of the pass, just before our last crossing of Two Oceans Creek, we found Steve. Or rather, we found a tent pitched, with Steve's voice coming out of it. He was going to push on a few more miles, but he pitched early because of the rain. Always nice to see a friendly face out here. We discussed the amazing view of the Tetons, and the elk. Then Sparrow rolled in, so it was a true Sobo party.
Tomorrow, we push deeper into the Tetons, which should be spectacular.
Mileage: 28mi from Heart Lake camp to the Parting of the waters