Day 108: Yellowstone National Park Day 3… Old Faithful Village

Miles Hiked: 26.5

Total Milage: 1805

This morning 12 pack and I left camp earlier than any other day in a while. We were on a mission to get to Old Faithful village and hang out there as long as we could. We had 26 miles to hike today and 10 of them were after the village. The first thing we did when we left camp was cross a very cold stream that made my feet cramp up. I didn’t make my usual protein shake for breakfast because I was in a rush. I had one carnation breakfast packet and my stomach was growling by mile 3. I then ate a Met-RX bar that has 340 calories and 34g of protein in 3oz. What a steal! We passed the shore of Shoshone lake and I was finally warm enough to take off my hoodie dress. There was a lot of small hills with very flat sections of trail intermittently.

About five miles in to the day we crossed a very muddy bog. Luckily I had my pants rolled up because the mud was gooey and deep. I took some pictures of some cool looking lily pads and we could see some steam rising all around us from thermal vents. After the wet big we got to walk through Shoshone Geyser Basin which was so cool. There were small geysers and thermal pools everywhere. The ground was bubbling and hissing and the air smelled like sulfur. Occasionally I got to walk through some hot blasts of steam. One of the geysers was erupting quite a bit as we walked by and it was so cool because no one else was around. After the Geyser Basin I took a short break at a nice cold spring. I had some tuna and a chai tea. I’ve been having to force myself to eat all my tuna lately. It’s a trail food I get tired of eating very easily so I try to do it sparingly but I over did it recently. It also weighs a lot for not that many calories and the garbage from it stinks so I try to get rid of the garbage from it as fast as I can. The rest of the way to Old faithful village was through an evergreen forest like the rest of Yellowstone has been but it was very pretty. I saw two wolves at once and it was probably one of the coolest wildlife sightings I have ever seen. They crossed the trail in front of us and one of them was pure black and looked right at me as I made noises to scare them away from me. Almost a mile later I saw a massive bird that I found out was a sand crane from one of the rangers.

On the way to the village we met so many SOBOs and all of them were so happy and nice. It was great to be reminded that there are so many other people on this trail even if I hardly get to see them. We met Bangarang, Wildlife, Woodchuck, Rooster, Bambi, and Jiggy. They all gave us advice for the upcoming trail. They took the Big Sky alternate because of a fire that keeps getting bigger everyday and has closed a large section of trail along the Montana and Idaho Border. They made it sound very enticing and Rooster even gave us a paper map for it. I’m not sure what we will do yet since I already had shoes shipped to a town we would miss (Lima) and 12 pack and I both have food boxes there as well.

We got to Old Faithful village around noon. 16 miles done with hardly any breaks at all! I was tired and my feet hurt. The first thing we did was go to a gift shop and get food. I had a veggie burger and some fries along with a sprite. I then sent some things home at the post office. After that we found some huckleberry ice cream and a place to sit down and charge our phones and figure out what to do about the massive fire closure ahead. We gave two forest service offices a call and ultimately didn’t get any useless information. At the moment we are proceeding to the next town (West Yellowstone) that we already planned on staying in. We need to download more maps and the cell phone service at Old Faithful is hardly existent. It was 3:30pm by the time we started walking towards the geyser which had an absolute zoo of people. It’s always so jarring to run in to so many people directly on a trail I’ve been hiking for over a thousand miles without hardly seeing anyone. We talked to a ranger about some of the cool stuff we saw in the backcountry while we waited for the geyser to go off. Old faithful was really cool as we watched it from a distance but I think I prefer the backcountry much better. Some of the things we got to see this week were so special!

We decided to stop at one more general store for one last cold drink before hitting the trail for our last ten miles. We ended up meeting another awesome SOBO named Yaya who really helped us out by giving us a free one month trial of Gaia. Gaia is a mapping application that usually costs $40 a year and we will probably need to buy it for the reroute. I’m so excited to try it out and very glad I don’t have to spend $40 on an app I’ve never used to get around such a large fire closure. We also met another NOBO named Darmahbum. We ended up hiking to camp with him. It’s the first time I’ve hiked with someone else in SO LONG. He is from India and did the AT the same year as me.

The last ten miles to camp were awesome. We got to walk by so many geysers and thermal pools. I took tons of pictures and videos. The only downside was that we were on a narrow path with other people who were walking so slow and we were all on a mission to get to camp. Eventually we left the crowds as soon as the geyser Basin ended. What a surprise! After that we had a 1k foot climb. The first in a while. It was steep and I was sweating in the hot evening air. Eventually I made it to the top and rewarded myself with a giant Twix bar I got at the store today.

At camp we camped with 5 other people! Cutthroat and Don Quixote were there with two of their family members, Darmahbum and Sweep. This is the most people I have camped with on the whole trail! I was happy for the company but it was so late that we all just went to bed as soon as I arrived and put my tent up.

Today was a great day on the trail. We have two more days until we are in the next town. Lately I feel like I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster ride. Sometimes in the middle of the day I think I’m having the best day ever and there is nothing else I’d rather be doing. All of a sudden a wave of homesickness and fatigue will hit me and I just want to be done with this trail. It just feels like I’ve been out here for such a long time and I really can’t believe I walked here all the way from Mexico. It doesn’t feel real. This summer feels like it has absolutely flown by. I’m excited for things I have planned this fall but my body is also so tired. Relaxing sounds nice yet I also love staying in shape to go on a 20 mile hike or a 10 mile run. At the end of the day I always think I had the best day ever. As long as the day ends with good feelings I know I’ll keep walking to Canada but oh boy it’s tough sometimes. I just have to remind myself that the wave of fatigue will pass and eventually I’ll get another energy burst. It’s worth it to keep going.

Happy Trails!

-Early Bird

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