Day 5, Yellowstone: Bechler River Traverse

View from our tent site - The Teton Mountains in Wyoming in the distance

Day 5, Thursday, August 7, 2014

What a joy to wake up without rain!

It still looked a bit sketchy in the East, but with blue showing through the clouds, we were all quite confident that this was the day that would be showering us with sunshine and warmth, not rain.

After another fine breakfast, some of the group started out on a hike with Nate, on the opposite side of Boundary Creek. Chris, Ryan and I stayed behind to relax (take care of my sore feet and give my legs a rest), then head back to the hot springs for the rest of the morning. The hiking group were then going to join us when they completed their morning trek. Ryan and I spread out in one of the pools and, using rocks and smaller stones, attempted to stem the flow of the cooler water entering the enclosure. We managed to block a significant amount of that cold water, affording us more hot water in which to luxuriate. 

Looking up at the cliffs above, marveling at the cascading falls, absorbing the days sunlight and thankful for once again seeing blue skies, I was feeling VERY relaxed and renewed. After awhile the hikers did arrive and were soon enjoying their soaks in the hot spring waters. 

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As lunchtime was approaching we returned the short hike up to camp, ate and prepared for the remainder of this fine day. Chris this time led those interested on another afternoon hike, while Nate stayed in camp with Ryan and I. Nate busied himself with clean up and maintenance around camp. Before the hikers had left camp we were visited by 3 park rangers on horseback from the Bechler Ranger Station (where we would be heading and ending our adventure the next day). They inspected our camp and visited for a short time before mounting up and returning to their station. The rangers are aware of who is in the backcountry and inspections like this are not uncommon.

My plan for the day was to read more of a book of stories about the early explorations of Yellowstone, clean my feet of old wrappings, and simply relax and enjoy the very warm day. Drying my feet, now free of bandages and wrappings felt so good as I also dried out. Later in the afternoon I checked that my wet clothes were drying in the tree by my tent. All were dry which allowed me to pack up those items and get a head start on the next days departure. I scouted about for more dry wood for the evening’s campfire and returned with an armful from down on a lower slope. 

The others returned by late afternoon, being welcomed by a comforting campfire. 

The remainder of this restful day was without drama, mishaps or RAIN.

The next day, our last day, was an 8 mile hike to the Bechler Ranger Station. As we were to arrive there between 11 a.m. and noon, we would need to be on the trail by 7 a.m., by far the very earliest time for departure than the previous days. The last segment of this trek would be mostly level with minimal elevation gains, and, if hiking at about 2 mph, we would arrive within our scheduled time period.

My personal belongings, already packed in a plastic bag, were ready to simply add to the backpack along with Wildland Trekking’s equipment so that the early morning preparation would be simple and without stress.

Early to bed was no problem. I planned to be up early, joining Donna, the early bird, and further ease into a stress free departure by 7 a.m.

Sophia

Nate

Debbie

Geert (G)

Derek

Donna

Ryan (bear spray in hand)

Me