Day 86: The Big Climb

We chose our camp site last night because it was the last place before the 2000ft climb that has been placed in front of us. If we had any other choice we should have taken it. Not only did the jingling of horse bells keep waking us up the spot we camped in has to be the coldest and wettest place so far. The tent built up a good layer of condensation on the inside during the first part of the night and then this froze solid in the morning hours. Our tent was like stiff cardboard. As we pack it the ice cracks and most falls off but plenty is folded into our packs.

We have a couple of miles before we start the climb up the hill and as we pass through the bottom of the valley we walk through willow bushes. The willows are covered in a layer of heavy frost. Although it is cold  we are actually thankful for the frost as it means we don’t end up soaked as we push our way through the willows that have grown over the trail.

The hill climb takes us a while as we are all out of practice of climbing hills. We have many stops to breath as we take the switch backs and climb higher up the mountain. Our plan is to have breakfast at the top of the mountain but hunger beats me and we stop about 2/3 of the way up for a break and some snacks.

The trail at the top takes one last zigzag to reach the highest point. It is obvious from the second trail going straight ahead that many people skip the summit. We look at the lower path for a second or two but know we will love the view from the top so turn and continue up.  Reaching the top was well worth the effort. We take a few photos and pull out our wet tent and sleeping bag to dry in the sun. Fireant unrolls her tent and it still has a thick layer of ice on the inside.

As we have reception Yeti rings the backcountry office to change our permits again. We have realised we will be in Grant Village on Saturday and the post office is not open on Saturdays. We now want to spend two nights in the campground in Grant and hitch up to old faithful on the Sunday to look around. We should have planned on this all along as there is a lot to see in Yellowstone. Yeti also takes the opportunity to get Fireant added to our permit so we can continue to travel together.

That afternoon we reach the border of Yellowstone. We are all very excited as it is one of the highlights of the trip for us. We stop to take photos with the Yellowstone sign and give each other high 5’s.

Today’s campsite is BC9.