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Three days in the Beartooths and Yellowstone - Trip report
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wes.outside
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Joined: September 08, 2008
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Location: Cody, WY
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:27 pm    Post subject: Three days in the Beartooths and Yellowstone - Trip report Reply with quote

I am slowly putting my van in trip-worthy shape, so I haven't had a lot of opportunity to do overnights in it. The last trip, ostensibly to the Black Hills, ended in Gillette, WY when the van decided it was time for a new air flow meter.

My wife and I own a shop in Cody, WY - the town closest to the east gate of Yellowstone. Watching the parade of Westies, buses, and Vanagons past the front door all summer finally got to be too much to bear. Last week, I finally decided just to take off on a quick three-day hiking and fishing weekend in the nearby mountains. Since my wife had had enough of the work-inspired grumpiness, she basically threw me the van keys and banned me from work as soon as I mentioned leaving.

So - roadworthy or not - off I went.

I drove from Cody up through Sunlight Basin on the Chief Joseph highway and onto the Beartooths. I found a nice spot on a spur forest service road south of Island Lake and set up camp for the night. The van pulled both passes beautifully.

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Before dark, I walked over to a nearby lake and caught a few cutthroat trout. I went to bed happy.

The next morning, a longer hike took me to a small lake where golden trout have been continuously stocked over the last few years. I caught around twenty fish, six of them golden trout. The trip was off to a great start.

I hiked back to the van, and drove down to the Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone. I parked the van in a spot with a great view of Pilot and Index peaks.

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The fishing was great, and the scenery better. Before I knew it, the afternoon was slipping away, and it was time to head to the next campsite.

I decided to take a chance and see if I could find a site in YNP. The northeast corner of Yellowstone is very mountainous. The combination of the scenery, great wildlife viewing and hiking opportunities make the campgrounds in the Lamar Valley extremely popular. I thought my best chance would be in one of the big campgrounds in the center of the park, so off I went.

I drove in through the Northeast gate, and shockingly got a spot in the Pebble Creek campground - the first campground you get to from Cooke City. The campground is usually packed by noon, but someone had just pulled up stakes. Yahoo!

Taking this as a sign, the next morning I decided to fish the upper reaches of Pebble. I packed up camp, and drove back to the Warm Creek trail. The trail ascends steeply and crosses a ridge just east of Baronette Peak. The views on the way up were amazing.

Here's a view of the Thunderer - such cool name for a mountain. On the other side of this mountain is Cache Creek, one of my favorite spots in the park.

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After @ 1300 feet of elevation gain in 1.5 miles, I finally topped the ridge and saw my first glimpse of the upper Pebble Creek valley...

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The upper end of Pebble Creek was beautiful, but relatively fishless.

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So, off I went down the valley. The wildflowers were still blooming, so it was beautiful. You can see Cutoff Mountain here - there were mountain goats up in the cliffs that were visible through binoculars.
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That's the north face of Baronette. Not far from this area, I definitely got into some fish. Beautiful area, and an amazing day. I also got to startle some Spaniards with my bear-avoidance routine - bellowing loudly as I pick my way through chest-high willows.

You can still see the result of the 1988 fires here.
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Unfortunately, it was time to head back home to Cody. Here was the view on my way out - Meridian and Wolverine Peaks. The trail crosses the low ridge on the right, and plunges down to Soda Butte creek.
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I drove back through Canyon, after catching an early dinner at Roosevelt lodge. I came back out the east gate and drove the scenic 50 miles back home.

The van ran great the whole way - the temp gauge stayed locked just above the LED, and we powered over all the passes. Of course, since I returned, I have been madly planning all of my next rehab/upgrade work on the van - my wife commented today those three days are going to cost her big in the end. But she said it with a smile, and asked if we could do a quick overnight tomorrow, so... Smile

What a great trip. Thanks to everyone on here that keeps me excited and able to do what work I can on my syncro.
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BillWYellowstone
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Joined: July 16, 2011
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Location: Yellowstone NP
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to my world. I live and work at Old Faithful. Just did the Pebble Creek trail, started at Warm Springs.

Heading out through Gardiner this weekend. Hoping to grab one of the USFS sites for the night, then head to Bozeman for food shopping. Then down through Big Sky and back home.

Don't you wish they had a tri-state fishing permit?

Great pics, sounds like a wonderful getaway.
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wes.outside
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would love it it WY/MT/ID could figure out reciprocity for permits.

You definitely are right in the middle of it, being in Old Faithful. My daughter loves the area there - one of our favorite things to do with the folks who come to stay with us and go see the park, if they fall into the category of semi-outdoorsy, is to buy some food at the grocery store at Old Faithful and then hike out to Lone Star for lunch.

We get a lot of visitors, and we always have to hit Old Faithful. I think I have been there eight times this year.

Wes
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BillWYellowstone
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I work with Yellowstone association, we run the bookstores, next time (weekdays) you are in, ask for Bill. I am usually in back.

Where is your business in Cody, we are due for a Cody trip.
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wes.outside
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill,

It would be great if you stopped by! We have Sunlight Sports www.Sunlightsports.com , the local outdoor shop. We are on the main street - Sheridan Avenue - across from the Irma.

Give me a couple of days warning, and we'll take you to lunch.
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VwMomofthree
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:04 pm    Post subject: Wow Reply with quote

What a beautiful country we live in! Smile
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jackbombay
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Three days in the Beartooths and Yellowstone - Trip repo Reply with quote

wes.outside wrote:

My wife and I own a shop in Cody, WY - the town closest to the east gate of Yellowstone.


What about silvergate? Wink

Nice pics!

Its been a while since I visited the park in summer, maybe we'll get a quick fall trip in this year. We'll be spending this weekend on Hebgen lake though, and the weather lately has been, dare I say, almost hot? Laughing
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wes.outside
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What about silvergate?


You can make an argument that Silvergate is the closest town to the NORTHEAST gate... And you can make the argument that Wapiti is a town, and so closer than Cody.

It has been pretty warm ...
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