Yellowstone- the first National Park in the world. After returning from a summer in Tanzania, two of my best friends flew out to Denver, Colorado to meet up for an epic backpacking adventure. After leaving the airport, we drove through Lander, Wyoming and pitched our tent in the Lander City Park overnight an excellent free camping location in between Denver and Yellowstone. The next morning, we headed up to start our backpacking adventure.
We began the trail and within 30 minutes, we were immersed in the rugged wilderness. Yellowstone is filled with almost 60 different species of mammals including black bear, grizzly bear, bison, gray wolf, elk, moose and mountain lion. There are over 30,000 elk in the park currently, which makes them the largest population of large mammal species in Yellowstone.
We hiked a total of 3 days about 10 miles per day. As we crossed streams and rivers we looked up to see a bald eagle flying above us! In the park, these large raptors normally feed on the carcasses of elk and bison. They can often be seen flying near lakes and rivers.
Corrine and Lena taking a break on the trail to check out some more thermal features. There are around 10,000 thermal features in Yellowstone National Park and our trail had its fair share! When we originally when to the ranger station looking for available back country routes, we specifically asked for a trail that contained minimal human encounters and lots of geysers. The park rangers were eager to help us find the perfect trail! These geysers lined our trail for a good portion. They were so pretty and crystal clear- I wish they had been cool enough for wading! We went to Yellowstone in August and the mosquitos were EVERYWHERE. No matter how much repellent we used, there were bugs swarming us. So we decided to play a little game- we danced and yelled as we squashed as many mosquitos as possible. The more style you had while killing them, the better!
There are an estimated 600 grizzly bears leaving in the Yellowstone ecosystem, and although there are rarely encounters with humans, we were prepared with bear spray and ropes to tie up our food at night. Above is Lena demonstrated how a bear cannot reach our food.
We also found this old skull by our campground, so Corrine decided to try it on for fit. Now she belongs in the park. Our final day ended with a gorgeous sunset by a lake. Couldn’t have been much better. We drank hot coco and sat on the rocky beach as we soaked in our last night in the wilderness.