Monday, July 11, 2011

Getting Yellowstoned

Yesterday, we drove to Yellowstone. I got my very first speeding ticket. It was really absurd and unfortunate.

We got to Yellowstone and went to the nearest rangers office. We got a backcountry permit and was forced to watch a 20 minute video. Needless to say, with the delay of the ticket as well as the video, we got a late start on our backcountry backpacking/camping adventure.

We camped at spot 4G4. It was a 4 mile hike through sand, mud, and creeks to get to the site. We passed and old couple and later a young couple, both coming back from fishing. 20 minutes in we decide to re-bug spray ourselves. Sean had to double back to the car because we left the canister on the bumper.  We wouldn't have survived without it, though it really seemed as if it did nothing. The bugs were virtually immune to this deep woods spray. We are going to pick up some DEET before heading out to our next backcountry or camping trip, whichever comes first. The bugs made it so uncomfortable and nearly impossible to enjoy Yellowstone camping by Grebe Lake.

We went to bed early because we couldn't function by the campfire. It only kept the bugs away for so long. Plus, we were running out of firewood and it was getting dark. These spots seems to be used frequently for fishers, leaving barely any downed firewood.

Getting in the tent and away from the bugs was such a relief. We fell asleep early with intentions to leave early.

I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of rain. I woke up not long after that to the sound of a thunderstorm. I could feel myself getting wet. I tried waking up Sean, idk what good that would've done if I succeeded. I ended up falling back asleep, luckily.

We got up at 7am and started getting our things together. My brand new sleeping bag leaked down so there were clouds of feathers in our tiny two person backpacking tent. I went and collected more firewood as Sean fired up the WhisperLite. We lit a fire too, to try and keep away the bugs. We had freeze dried scrambled eggs with bacon for breakfast. I wasn't a fan, but it was sustenance that would give me energy for the 4 mile hike back to the trail head.

The hike back was worse. Sean lead us onto the wrong trail, but we quickly turned back. The bugs were even worse than I could imagine on the hike back. They were resilient, I guess this time because we were hiking in the morning. It was impossible to stop and take a break because the bugs would just flock to us immediately. They would bite through our clothes. I couldn't wait to get away from the clouds of black flies.

We got back to the car and just threw our packs in. We grabbed Gatorades and headed for Old Faithful. It was pretty amazing to see that eruption, though it was about 15 minutes late on its prediction. We walked into the building to watch the eruption from inside. We got an empty bench luckily. It was pretty funny walking into  these areas of the park which had high traffic volume of people when we were covered in mud, we smelled, and looked like we went through hell. Sean kept talking about how other people think their outdoorsy when they come to parks like this...then there's us who actually roughed it.

Leaving Yellowstone was sad but also a relief. A relief from the bugs. The scenery was beautiful, though i wasn't able to take pictures. We got to see a lot of wild life and the world's natural beauty. I think that everyone needs to see Yellowstone and Montana in their lifetime. It really made me think about preserving the planet. Growing up in the suburbs, I have never experienced nature in such a pure, raw form.

Tomorrow we are headed to Kennewick, WA. I am super excited about this destination. We are going to Tulip Springs, which is a horse farm/ stable owned by my Aunt's college roommate at Princeton. I haven't rode a horse in years, and I am really excited to get back on that proverbial horse. Also, it may act as a revenge to my cousin for making me go through all the heinous bug situation in Yellowstone.

Looking forward to an early start tomorrow.


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