The past week and a half or so has been an absolute blast.
I met Zoe and Mary-Clare in West Yellowstone as I was getting our permit to hike south through Yellowstone. Unfortunately many of the campsites were booked so we took two campsites that were super far apart… Not sure if we would make it or not…
We hitched a ride in the back of a pickup to Macks Inn where we started hiking south into the park. What a weird feeling to be going the wrong way! Those first miles were on a road and dirt road for a while, a nice dose of road walking boredom and word games as an introduction to the CDT for Murc and Zo. The next day we entered the park and started running into northbounders I hadn’t seen since Colorado. Pretty cool!
Along the way, we came up with some trail names: Lemondrop for Mary-Clare and Slothbaby for Zoe. They stuck pretty well.
The terrain in Yellowstone before we hit Old Faithful was pretty flat and burnt, but Summit Lake was a nice campsite (not technically our campsite but we didn’t see a ranger). Old Faithful was pretty neat, I’ve seen it before so wasn’t geeking too hard like all the tourists around us. I actually really enjoy people watching in national parks. Yellowstone is gold for that.
That night we ended up illegally camping again with a barefoot hiker who had a run in with a huge grizzly. Yikes. We didn’t wanna walk through that area in the evening. We ended up walking into Grant Village the next afternoon where we spent the night.
From there, instead of hitching back to West Yellowstone and heading north to Lima, we decided to go east, hike down the east side of the lake and over Eagle Pass back towards Cody, where we would meet up with Slammin Sammy Brooks and Ian to hang out at Club Brooks for the night.
Taking that route turned out to be a great decision. We had two amazing campsites, one by the lake and the other way up high under the pass. We crossed over and walked through Eagle Creek meadows where I had wrangled on a pack trip three years ago. I can’t get over how gorgeous and unique the Absaroka mountains are. Not many people go back there too, which makes it even cooler.
After three days of tough hiking, we made it to the north fork highway and got a ride from an older Cody couple. Sadly, I snapped my guitar neck by accidentally shutting the trunk on it (I guess the pack wasn’t all the way in the trunk). I’m incredibly bummed.
However, our moods were quickly uplifted as we walked into Club Brooks to find Sam and Ian awaiting us with a stocked fridge and the porch ready for ultimate chilling. It’s the best porch ever. It overlooks Jim Mountain and you can sit out there and talk all day and night in the presence of Wyoming beauty. Thanks again for the hospitality, Club Brooks. I owe you one!
The next day, Sam dropped us off in Fishing Bridge where we hitched across the park to West Yellowstone. Just like that, a week later, I ran across the street to hitch back to Macks Inn and parted ways with Slothbaby and Lemondrop who were headed back to Bozeman. It was so awesome having y’all adventure with me for a bit. I had a blast and hope I didn’t cause too much blisterful pain on our 115 mile trek… See you in Claremont along with the rest of the #fam.
Heading out of Macks Inn was confusing. I was pumped to be hiking north again but was already missing my adventure buds. I was also feeling a bit homesick and ready to get back to Claremont. After climbing up to a ridge and breathing in that smoky, fresh air as I looked out for miles in 360 degrees, everything felt ok again. I’m ready to walk the rest of this trail and enjoy every moment of it.
Still, things are different. I finally feel like I’m walking towards something and not away anymore. I’m walking to my friends, to my family. Home, wherever that may be. As I rest up in Lima with a few other hikertrash friends, I know that I wouldn’t be here without them. It’s amazing how much we understand each other, our relationship with the trail and the outside world. I’m pretty happy right now. Too happy for my hasty words to explain.