The hours always seem to pass faster in Yellowstone. I’m not sure exactly how it happens but every day I find myself waking up early and going to bed late solely because I want to see as much of Yellowstone as I can and there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
It started early this morning when Jamie and I broke camp at Fishing Bridge and moved to Old Faithful Inn. I hated to leave behind the best campsite in the park - D128. But like most Yellowstone enthusiasts, I want to share the park with all its visitors and that means letting someone else get the chance to camp in that very spot. It’s the “corner lot” of campsites facing a forest known to house grizzly bears and wolves. During our stay this week one road was closed in the campground due to bears getting too close.
Moving to Old Faithful Inn was an opportunity we weren’t going to pass up. It is our first look inside the Inn with the exception of the gift shop. I can already tell Old Faithful Inn is my favorite lodge inside the Park. Don’t get me wrong, Lake Hotel is marvelous and the view is indescribable. However, the design and materials used building Old Faithful Inn create an illusion making it one with earth. And did I mention our room is in the direct line-of-sight of Old Faithful itself!
There will be more to come regarding Old Faithful Inn as I promise to do a little research of its history and dine in its restaurant. Please promise me this - when you visit Yellowstone spend at least one night at Old Faithful Inn.
After getting things situated, Jamie and I decided today would be a great day for a hike or two. The only obstacle we had to face was time. Time was of the essence this morning and afternoon. I previously booked a Xanterra fishing trip on Lake Yellowstone for 6pm this evening.
Nonetheless, we read a day-hike book and found a couple of trails to explore. First it was off to the Pelican Creek Trail. The hike is merely 1.3 miles but it is a great walk for bird lovers and water enthusiasts. Numerous species of waterfowl can be found on and around the Pelican Creek area to include: swans, ducks, geese and, of course, pelicans. The trailhead warns of grizzly bears in the area but today we didn’t stumble upon any. I asked Jamie what you do when you see a grizzly…her reply, “FAINT!”
We enjoyed the Pelican Creek Trail although it was short in distance and easy in difficulty level.
At 3:00pm we had just enough time to hike one more trail. The Majestic Falls Trail would be our perfect choice for a one, to two, hour hike. It starts in geyser country near the Old Faithful area. Along the Fire Hole River situated in the rear of Biscuit Basin is the trail head. Again, we were warned of grizzly activity.
The trail takes you through the boardwalk of Biscuit Basin along the path of springs and geysers such as Sapphire Pool, Jewel Geyser, and Shell Spring. Our timing was perfect both coming and going as we were able to see Jewel Geyser erupt!
The Mystic Falls Trail makes it way along the Fire Hole River and ascents for several hundred feet along some of the prettiest countryside in the park.
We were able to hear the falls roar long before we reached it. When that time arrived and we had reached our destination, I told Jamie I wanted to get as close to the falls as possible without getting wet. My plan worked out pretty well. I maneuvered my way from rock to rock and across a downed tree to a spot so close to the waterfall that I could feel its splash on my back.
It was now time to head back to Old Faithful Inn. I had just enough time to drop Jamie off, grab my daypack, and head to the Bridge Bay Marina for my fishing trip.
In my opinion, this is the best valued trip Xanterra offers. There are numerous great tours with exceptional guide service but when you’re seeking the total package look no further.
A guided fishing trip can accommodate up to six of your closest friends or family for the same price of a single. Not only that, but your guide is so well educated and prepared for the outing that you are bound to catch fish - even if you’re a rookie. The guides clean and prepare what you catch should you elect to keep it and in addition to all that, the scenery around Lake Yellowstone is second to none. I promise you, the wilderness areas that you come in contact with are some of the most remote areas in the lower 48.
My guide was Mrs. (Captain) Laura. She’s been at her job for 20-plus years and I was in great hands for catching fish. We headed out to Wolf Point Bay - an area I was able to backcountry hike in last year. It is full of grizzly bears, bald eagles and who knows what else.
So needless to say, we were at one edge of Lake Yellowstone where water meets the wild in hopes to land a big one. The lake is enormous in size and depth. Its deepest point is in the neighborhood of 450 feet and its average depth is 140 feet. Despite the summer heat, Lake Yellowstone’s temperature remains steady at approximately 45 degrees.
Capt. Laura’s first cast resulted in a bite. We were in prime fishing area and I was as excited as a Wyoming Cowboy at the Fourth of July rodeo. Soon after I had a bite and landed a nice cutthroat trout. Cutthroats are the only native species of trout in Wyoming and it is against regulations to keep them. It was my first catch in Yellowstone and I had to throw it back! But that’s ok, there is now no record of how big or small it was. So it’s my story and I’ll tell it how I want to. It was 30 inches and so big that when I printed the picture of me holding it, the picture weighed at least six pounds! Just kidding. It was a nice sized trout topping the scales at three pounds.
Thanks to Mrs. Laura for helping me land my first Yellowstone fish. So far, I’ve caught a rainbow, brown and now cutthroat trout, all in the greatest state in the USA…Wyoming!