July 7, 2009

Fairyland Basin, Part 2

From their trailhead at Artist Point, our 3 hikers had views of Lower Yellowstone Falls from the first quarter mile. After that, they continued on Wapiti Lake trail through the Lodgepole pine forest. The pine forest was poor bear territory, but all along they blew whistles periodically and kept pepper spray handy just in case.
The established but lightly traveled trail took them to this small lake.
Many yellow Pond Lilies floated on the small lake's surface.
Pink alpine laurel frames a reflection of trees and sky in the water.
Globeflowers grew in the nearby marshes.
Above is a variety of Indian paintbrush blooming in the surrounding meadow.
From the unnamed lake, the hikers continued a short distance to Orange Rock Spring. Water from the spring's flow was warm, but not deep enough for a soak.
From Orange Rock, our intrepid explorers struck out cross countrytraveled, bushwacking through a Lodgepole forest and some blowdown to an extensive thermal area including Whistler Geyser and many fumeroles and bubbling hot pots.
This water was plenty deep enough for a hot tub, but the temperature would remove a person's skin. 212 degrees fahrenheit or more, continually boiling.
Above, Chris checked out a thermal and was nearly obscured by steam.
They encountered masses of mosquitoes in the forests and meadows. Steve's 35% DEET kept the bugs at bay, but Eric and Steve still managed to attract a horde whenever they stopped. Chris wore a short-sleeved shirt, but seemed to be swarm-free. When they checked the label on his repellent, they found it was 98% DEET -- high octane, indeed. No wonder the bugs ignored Chris!
They passed Josephs Coat Springs, shown above. (The name comes from the biblical Joseph's coat of many colors.)
Not far from there, our hikers located their designated campsite, 4 B1.
The campsite is an open meadow with a fire pit and a few cut logs for seating.
There's no bear pole for hanging food. A tripod about 15 feet high which might have worked for that purpose, but it was too close to the best tent site. Eric improvised a line between trees for hanging the food.
Broad Creek was 100 feet away. They didn't see any fish in the clear, weak tea-colored water.
Pumping water would have been okay, since there wasn't much cloudy particulate matter to foul the pump filter, but they either boiled or used iodine treated water instead. The water tasted fine, with no mineral taste after adding the iodine neutralizer.
The boys climbed into their 3 man tent under clear skies and a Comanche moon. (This is a half moon, which the Comanche Indians considered good for raiding. A full moon would be too bright, allowing the raiders to be easily caught, and a new moon would be too dark, not good for finding anything to raid. Half is perfect.) Of course, our hikers weren't planning to raid anyone, and they hoped having their food cached high in the air between two trees would keep them from being raided by a hungry bear. The portable electric fence was set up around the camp, and they each had pepper spray inside and at hand.
Trail-weary after a 12 mile trek, they welcomed a mosquito-free shelter, and hoped no wild creature disturbed them before morning. They listened for wolf howls and coyote yips as they drifted into sleep, dreaming of the next morning's planned hike into the park's mysteriously unmapped secret treasure, Fairyland Basin.
To be continued.


  1. This is such an awesome story unfolding before my eyes. I feel like I might be there with them...deet free of course!!!
    Love all the pictures and descriptions...I would love to see this part of our country one day. Thanks for sharing ...can't wait to read more.

  2. This is so much enjoyable Janie. I enjoyed the trip along virtually. Too good.

    Moon and Sun in One Photograph

  3. Great hikind/camoing trip with so much to see and experience! Nice post.

  4. This hike is so amazing. I'd have been wishing for that just right thermal pool. After all the grief they got from the Ranger, and then no pole to cache food. Can't wait to see the next part.

  5. OMGosh what gorgeous pictures! I have an obsession with water Lilies of any kind and wow to see Geysers like that up close, must have been wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing, looks like a wonderful time. :)

  6. I've never heard of using pepper spray on bears! It makes so much sense though. Wow!

  7. Great little hike. I've been through on many day trips but have never hiked any distance or camped. This is really interesting to me.

  8. I am enjoying the hike in Yellowstone. It is an amazing place. I watched a full moon rise over Yellowtsone Lake in 2000. It was awesome and still so vivid.

  9. Thanks for the backcountry tour!

  10. what an enjoyable trip, I'm glad they decided against a soak in the hot tub. Once I did sit in a bubbling sulfer pot at the bottom of blue lake in Wendover. I think it was something like 90* so it was safe. It sure pounded away and felt good.

  11. This is such a great post, I am thoroughly enjoying the trip and look forward to the rest of the journey. Hope the weather stays good!

  12. Thanks so much Janie for taking us on Steve's (and the others) long hiking trip... The detailed report is just so special and I appreciate you sharing it with us. Did Steve keep a journal---or did you jsut write things down as they told their story?????

    I love this so much --and can't thank you enough for sharing it with us. I do have one question. Were you ever concerned for them???? I would be---even knowing how experienced they were.


  13. What a wonderful hike you're taking us on. Thanks for the adventure -- the great commentary and gorgeous pictures.

  14. So exciting. :) That first picture makes me feel like I'm there on that path. I just love it.

    Mosquitoes eat me alive. I fought them in Ohio, and I fight them (and other bugs) on a daily basis here in KS. My hubby's son-in-law had some of that 98% deet when they were here last w/e. I'm going to have to find that and buy it! Off does nothing for me (only 15% deet). They still swarm me.

    On to the next post and Fairyland Basin! :)



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