I’d been planning this trip since a week or so after my husband died in a climbing accident back in September. Eric and I began our journey together on a road trip to Yellowstone and I needed to go back to the place that I have always considered my home town to cleanse myself and begin my journey forward in life. Adam, a friend of both myself and my late husband Eric, agreed to join me on the journey even though he has never set foot in any kind of ski!

Adam and I left Washington at 1:30pm on Thursday, eastbound for Yellowstone National Park. We expected the Journey of 850ish miles would take until Saturday afternoon to complete. We slept in my CRV at a Walmart in Ceour D’Leane, ID on our first night. On Friday we continued east on I-90, pausing in Missoula to check out Freestone Climbing Gym. As it turned out the stop was well warranted after spending too long in the car. Plus the bouldering features at the gym were amazing. We stopped at Big Sky Brewing Company on our way out too. They give free samples!

The going was good on the road even over the passes since snow fall has been light this year. As it turned out we ended up arriving in Gardiner at 8:30pm. Thus we spent the night just outside the gates of Yellowstone curled up in the car. We would get an earlier start than expected.

We drove into Yellowstone just as the light began to touch Mt Everts. We were surprised at how light the snowfall was. In fact there was none until we reached the higher elevation of Mammoth Hot Springs. Even there it was spotty. Luckily, The Upper Terrace Loop was mostly covered with sufficient snow. It should be noted that the lower part of it only has a thin layer. We carried out skies until we reached deeper snow.

As I expected, Adam was a natural at skiing. No surprise since he is a grappler, cycles everywhere and is a lifeguard/swim instructor. He fell only twice on the long downhill potion of the track. I remember falling about ten times there last year!

Next I introduced Adam to snowshoeing on the trail of Golden Gate (accessed via Snowy Pass Trail). The trail was unbroken as usual and I am still uncertain why someone would want to ski it. We saw no wildlife along the way, but plenty of tracks.

We met up with Marc, my former NPS co-worker, at the Mammoth General Store. From there we headed into Gardiner to meet up my former supervisor’s supervisor, Katy, and some new folks I didn’t know. We all took the road to Jardin up into the hills and turned left on the road to Eagle Creek. After some issues with my car getting stuck in the snow, we all XC skied the Eagle Creek Loop which had good snow and excellent views. Adam kept up great with everyone to their surprise!

Marc stayed in town while we headed to his place at the Buffalo Ranch in Lamar Valley to clean up and have dinner. He is the  manager of the Yellowstone In is it I the now and lives in a log cabin that is rustic and beautiful. Marc didn’t return until after 9:30 since he drove his car off the road and down a hill just a mile away from the cabin. Luckily he is safe and the car seems to have faired well. They will be towing it out tomorrow morning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *