Day 106: Yellowstone National Park Day 1 … Heart Lake

Miles Hiked: 20.9

Total Milage: 1758.4

Today I didn’t leave camp until almost 7am which feels so late compared to our normal early morning start. Since we only have to hike about 20 miles I wasn’t as concerned about getting that early of a start. I was also feeling very exhausted from yesterday still. I feel abnormally fatigued for how easy the trail has been lately.

The first five miles of the day felt easy although my legs were feeling sore. We ran into a SOBO hiker named Yard Goat who we saw hiking the opposite direction as us in Southern Wyoming about 1-2 months ago. It’s funny to run into other hikers who have flipped all around the trail this year as well. We took a break immediately after the Yellow Stone National Park boundary at a ranger cabin. We sat on the front porch and ate some snacks but no other people were around. I was just excited to be in Yellowstone although nothing about the terrain really changed.

We crossed the Snake River quite a few times today. Almost every time my feet would get soaked and then caked in dust and mud. My socks are becoming painfully crusty. Around lunch time we found a place to take a break but it wasn’t great. It was on the side of a sloped hill but there were lots of flowers around and a view of a river. We took a break for two hours. I ate some food, wrote my blog, studied the map, and tried to close my eyes. After two hours the smoke in the air got a lot worse. It was honestly a bit concerning but I figured the wind must just be blowing it in our direction and that someone would most likely come to evacuate us if it was an immediate threat. As we hiked away from the break spot the heat of the day became intense. There would be some gusts of cool air mixed in with breezes of very hot air which felt strange. We were still walking along the Snake River and I wanted to put my head in the water so bad. We ended up stopping for another break to do just that. I got my hair soaking wet and washed my socks that were caked in mud. It felt great.

We met some more SOBOs named Too Hot, Pilgrim, Stamps, and Gasket. Two of them asked us about the smoke and I thought it was odd because the smoke was definitely coming from the direction they just left. After leaving the Snake River we started to walk along Heart River. There were lots of grassy green meadows and tons of flowers. For dinner I made some hot mashed potatoes near the river and then walked about one more mile to camp. Right before camp we entered a green tunnel of young conifer trees. Our campsite was 0.5 miles off the trail but it was totally worth it. We walked along Heart Lake with a smoky view of Mt. Sheridan. Our spot was very flat and even included a pit toilet we had all to ourselves. When we got our permits the rangers told us we would be camping with other CDT hikers our first two nights in the park. I was excited to see who it was but they never showed up. I was a little disappointed. The sunset over the lake was so nice and I fell asleep easily.

Happy Trails!

-Early Bird

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