Monday, August 13

Back to Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park is ablaze. There are at least three large forest fires burning in the park right now. One of the fires is 90% contained according to a parks worker that I ran into on Saturday. A large fire near Yellowstone Lake burst to life a few days ago and in the words of a fire specialist in Wyoming, "it is 0% contained", at least that was the word on the street this morning at 8:00am.

Even with the fires looming, a group of five of us headed for the park Saturday to hike into the backcountry for a night. The central section of the park is far enough from the fire that it was safe to hike and camp, however I did wake up to smells of smoke, and views of a thick haze that blocked the southern horizon.

Saturday night, one of the members of our party suggested that we get up before dawn and hike to the summit of Observation Peak for the sunrise. We all agreed to do it, some of us less enthusiastically than others, setting our alarms for 3:30am. I have to admit I was tardy, crawling out of my sleeping bag at 4 am. It didn't take me long to realize that myself and my tent partner were the only ones getting up. The predawn hike wasn't even our idea! We grabbed a bite to eat in the pitch black morning, saw a few shooting stars, and inquired with our snoozing adventurers whether they were going to get up. They promptly informed us that it was too late to see the sunrise from the top of the peak since it was a three mile hike, and were back to snoring in no time. Mike and I looked at each other, irritated at the situation, crawled back into our sleeping bags and finished our night's sleep. Observation Peak will still be there when the sun rises, I suppose. I wish we would have thought of that before I stuck my contacts in at 4 am!
Observation Peak @ 11 am, instead of 5:30 am

Remnants of an Elk near Cascade Lake

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