Day 81: 23 Miles
We were fortunate to be offered a ride out of town today. Not only was it 26 miles back to the trail, but hitchhiking is illegal in Dubois, so it really was a great offer. The driving made me nervous a few times, but we made it back to trail in one piece and started hiking before 10:00 am.
We are approaching Yellowstone National Park, and the permit system requires that we reserve our campsites in advance. This means for the next 5 days or so we will be hiking shorter days. We’re approaching through the Teton Wilderness. The scenery has been very nice today. Plenty of flowers, views of rocky peaks, lakes, and fairly gentle terrain.
We got some sprinkles around lunch but we ate under the shelter of a tree. Our feet were wet most of the day again due to numerous creek crossings. The water level in the highest creek reached up to my mid-thigh with a strong current. Challenging, but not death defying.
Day 82: 25 Miles (Plus a misadventure)
We decided to sleep in today since we didn’t have too many miles to do today, and we didn’t leave camp until around 7:00.
We were hiking with another thru-hiker named Z, and blew right past a trail junction we were supposed to turn on. Eventually we figured out we were off trail and decided to save time and bushwhack back. Somehow we still went the wrong way and eventually did 3 challenging creek fords only to eventually just backtrack back to the trail.
We wasted about an hour on zero forward progress. Fortunately we didn’t have a big day ahead of us, and having three people in a situation like that helps keep it from getting as frustrating, so we were able to laugh about it. Tonight we are camped near a forest service cabin just outside the National Park boundary. Yellowstone tomorrow!
We had our first campfire of the trail tonight, and it so happens our stove broke tonight, so we cooked dinner over the fire.
Day 83: 16 Miles
Into Yellowstone we go! Our campsite permit for tonight means we only had 16 miles to hike today, so we slept in and enjoyed a morning fire with hot coffee before we started hiking today.
The terrain was mostly pretty easy, with many creek fords just as the past few days. We hiked all together today, 5 of us all sharing the same permit for campsites through the National Park.
We had a relaxed pace and took many long breaks, and still made it to camp before 5:00 pm. We’ve got a bigger day tomorrow so we’ll go to bed early tonight and rest up.