Friday, September 7, 2007

My Hike of the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone

On Wednesday, my friend Rachel and I set out to hike all 20 miles of the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone in 2 days. It turned out to be one amazing hike.

Leaving from the Hellroaring Creek Trailhead, in less than one mile we crossed a suspension bridge over the Yellowstone River.

Then a mile after that we had to ford Hellroaring Creek, which was no easy task. The water was a little over knee-deep and the rocks on the bottom were covered in a slimy, and slick algae. After more than a couple close calls of me going swimming, we made it across.

After the ford, we were out in the open in a little valley that was littered with animal bones and elk antlers. Pretty neat stuff.

Soon we entered a mini-canyon and saw bighorn sheep. Unfortunately we didn't see any rams.

Then it started to rain and we donned our rain jackets and pack covers. Rachel did a pretty good impression of a ninja turtle.

After the valley and mini-canyon, we entered the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone.

9 miles into the hike, we set up camp under a big Douglas Fir tree. Good thing we did, as about 30 minutes after we got the tent up it started raining and really didn't stop until noon the next day. Fortunately, the tree helped to shelter us from the storm.

Here are some shots of the canyon in the morning from our campsite.

All along the route we kept crossing some neat little bridges over a number of streams and creeks. There fit in really well with the atmosphere of the place.

Here is Knowle's Falls. All 15 feet of it.

About 3 miles from our campsite we found some black bear tracks on the path headed in the direction we had just come from. He was a little bear, as the paw wasn't any bigger than the palm of my hand, and it was odd that we never ran into him seeing as how the tracks were pretty fresh, not more than 3 hours old.

hand Further on in the canyon we found a neat little cave that was cut right into the cliff wall. Nobody was home though.

Now it's starting to look like a canyon!

Part of the trail along the river actually led us outside of the park boundaries.

Quick! Everyone get your guns, fireworks, moonshine, and orange hats...we're going hunting!!

Finally after 17 miles of hiking, the canyon began to end. But it went out with a gorgeous bang!

Finally after a grueling 20 miles, Rachel and I made it to Gardiner, MT and indulged in some well deserved pizza and beer. All in all, a great hike!


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