Forty years of backpacking in Yellowstone

After landing in West Yellowstone, I jumped on my bike and rode to the backcountry ranger station. I wanted to hike more and drive less, so I chose a trail near Old Faithful. I love doing loops, so this was perfect. I got my permit and watched the education video, that actually, helped me a lot!

Next, I rode back to the airport and rented a car to get to the trail head. I packed my pack and was ready to go early. I wanted to be a tourist on my way to the trail.

Ahhhh! Yellowstone

That last photo…..yup. That was me. I’m the hiker. I saw a grizzly that same morning at the lake. It was running away from me and was far across the lake. Just the way you want to see a bear in the backcountry.

I was singing, and making noise on the trail…..and then came face to face with a juvenile. I thought about the training they gave me…..don’t run, back away. I did. The bear kept coming. I got out my spray, I kept backing away…..the bear kept coming. I sprayed, and then the bear went by.

My next thought was where’s the mom????? I skirted the trail for awhile, holding my spray in front. I hooted and called. After awhile, I stopped shaking and put my spray away. The rest of the hike was without excitement.

Old Faithful and the Lodge

This is my 40th year anniversary of working in the Park. I was probably on a backpacking trip on the very same day in July 1982.

Never have I encountered a bear on the trail. In fact, I hiked 250 miles that summer, and never encountered a bear at all.

I LOVE Yellowstone. It’s a grounding place for me. Bear or no bear, I’ll be back again, for sure.

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