Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

lamar valley

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Last month I hiked Specimen Ridge, an almost 19-mile hike that has been on my Yellowstone wish list for years and years. Steve has always had this hike on his "no" list, so luckily I was able to convince a coworker to join me.

We hit the trail around 8:30 a.m.

And the first thing we saw were wolves! Members of the Lamar Canyon pack. We paused to watch them for a few minutes, and then continued on.

After a couple of miles we reached a river crossing, at the Lamar River.

And from there it was up, up, up. We climbed until we reached the top of the ridge. There isn't exactly a trail per se, and animals are continually knocking over the trail markers by rubbing against them, which makes it hard to stay with the trail in certain places on the hike.

Lots of wide open vistas.

And then gorgeous views of the Lamar Valley below.

After losing the trail briefly a couple of times, we found a sign that confirmed we were on the right trail and finally getting close to the top of Amethyst Mountain.

We ran into a few bighorn sheep, and they had no idea what we were. They don't see people very often, and they just couldn't figure out what we were doing up there.

Another view of the valley.

Finally, reaching the top of Amethyst Mountain.

Looking south, you can see Mt. Washburn in the right corner, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in the middle.

The second half of the hike had wide open views of the whole area.

A piece of petrified wood--the trail doesn't go through the petrified forest, but we did see a ton of petrified wood as we hiked.

We also hiked past too many sets of antlers to count.

It was hard to tell if you were getting close to the end of the hike, because it just looked like it went on forever.

We hiked past three large herds of bison, who couldn't quite figure out what we were either.

As we neared the end of the trail, a curious pronghorn started to approach us, and we had to clang our hiking poles together to get him to move on and away from us. We didn't see another person during the 10 hours that we hiked, and it was clear that the animals were not used to seeing people up there.

We finished the hike around 6:30 p.m., 10 hours total on the trail, just as the sun was starting to set.