Sunday, August 4, 2013

July 31, 2013
Just outside Yellowstone to Old Faithful Village
~20 miles

Oh man, was it cold this morning! Probably not down to freezing, but it felt pretty frigid nonetheless. I donned my mittens for the first time in a while and began hiking. I slowly stripped off layers as the sun rose higher and warmed things up, but that took quite some time since I started hiking at 6:15. At 6:30 I was at the park boundary, and less than an hour later I was officially in Wyoming! Montana and Idaho are a thing of the past now, and its onward to new mountains, lakes, and vistas. 

Just as all the hikers I met in the days leading up to the park told me, the hike into Old Faithful was flat and easy. The miles passed quickly to Summit Lake, where I drank a liter of water and grabbed another for the trail, before continuing on. Upon arrival I first went to pick up my maildrop, then tried to get a backcountry permit but they were out to lunch, so I decided lunch was a good idea myself. I grabbed some grub at the cafeteria, charged up my devices, and then headed back to the office. Once there I met another CDT SOBO hiker Bert who I previously saw in Lima, MT. He had just gotten a permit and I was going to jump on his permit, but after hanging around the office for a time while I got rid of garbage and replaced my food, I also had a chance to chat with the backcountry permit ranger, Beth. After lamenting how I wanted to take a shower and do laundry, and therefore camp someplace close to the village, she offered a place I could camp over in the employee housing area by the horse stables. Beth also got me a campsite near Heart Lake for tomorrow night, which will be just right (~30 miles). I quickly took her up on her offer of the campsite so she drew up a map of where to camp and she even watched over my things while I went to shower and do laundry. Very cool lady! While talking to her I found out she is a retired homicide detective from Houston, TX, where her area of expertise involved, among other things, analyzing blood spatter patterns at crime scenes. Crazy cool. Now that she is retired (she retired at 44) she has been a backcountry ranger in Yellowstone for 7 summers and is also trying to work on her golf game so she can make it on the Senior LPGA! 

After getting all cleaned up, I went back to to pick up my backpack from the office, but when I got there it was closed! After some eavesdropping and talking to other bystanders it turns out there were three medical emergencies that came up at nearly the same time, two of which were going to be life flights via helicopter, and the third a trip to the hospital via ambulance. National Parks, man. Lots of people and lots of crazy. Eventually I got my stuff from the office and then proceeded to go eat more food. I got some ice cream first, then went and had dinner at the cafeteria where I was treated to a show out the window by none other than Old Faithful herself. Not too shabby. 

I'm camped by the horses tonight (and apparently the road too) so I'm hoping it won't be too loud tonight. Oh well, too late to do anything about it now!

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