• Mary Anderson

From Yellowstone Exit to Dubois

More remote geysers. White pink yellow orange red and turquoise rocks. Lots more mushrooms. More wonderful trail angels. Sitting in birthday suit in hot-tub like witch river keeping one eye out for bear in area. Soaking for half-hour while eating sandwich from camp neighbors the night before. Also eating chips from someone who gave me a ride the day before. And eating a clementine from yet another person who gave me a ride and played for me a piece of beautiful music he wrote and performed on trumpet with his added dubbed whistling. Feeling really clean and relaxed after soak. Learning I hiked in one of hottest, driest summers on record. And hiked in wettest stretch in Yellowstone in memory of ranger who worked there since 1945. Having serious hiker hunger no matter how much I eat as nights drop to below freezing. Camp by some gorgeous lakes. Watching the sun set over them. Having the full moon set over another. Seeing Yellowstone Lake, the largest lake above 7,000 feet altitude in North America. Walking near the most remote point (farthest from road) in lower 48 states.

Seeing the parting of waters, where a stream coming down the Divide splits and goes to both Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Touching water going to two oceans at same time. Meeting a woman and some of her numerous adopted children who all are on the Asperger spectrum. Feeling something inside changing but no idea what. Each day going with flow and changing my Yellowstone permit three times. Trying not to think ahead to end. Sometimes it feels so hard, yet I know it is getting close. Heavy pack from nine-day food carries. Being in a bog in mud up over my knees. Really bad smoke in air. Some crystal clear smokeless days with intense blue sky. Struggling but succeeding in hanging heavy food bag over twenty-foot-high bear hangs in park by making a modified dead man like what I used when I sheetrocked a ceiling years ago. Watching bald eagles fishing. Seeing and hearing whistling swans, loons, and herons. Seeing lots of western and mountain bluebirds. Eik trumpeting, coyotes and wolves howling. Biggest river crossings of trail. Lots of them . . . sometimes five in one day . . . cold, fast-moving and almost crotch-deep. Crossing wet ford at 8 a.m. with ice on ground. Beautiful fall colors. Cool days to hike in. Getting lots of itchy bites. Almost walking into huge porcupine. Watching a mink along one river. Falling down steep scree slope and being amazed not to break my wrist. Slipping a lot going down one mountain. Realizing the tread I have been gluing back onto my boot for a few weeks is worn almost off. Might be why I’m sliding so much. Hoping boots will hold up for two and a half more weeks. Just trying to enjoy last part and not push. Having my water bottle freeze halfway while in my tent at night. Eating some good food and warming up in Dubois, Wyoming.

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