Yellowstone National Park – day 3

Hiking The Storm Point Trail48716-Yellowstone2Yesterday’s experience with crowds convinced us to take a different tac for today, especially since it’s Saturday and crowds will be potentially larger. We’ve discovered there are a lot more hikes here than we ever knew before. We enjoyed our ride in on Thursday so much, we decided to go back to Yellowstone Lake for a nice little hike along Storm Point.48679-Yellowstone2Since it was so early, we thought we’d drive up to Dunraven Pass. This is one of the best areas to observe wildlife and being here early or late is best. We’ve seen black bears and cubs within a few feet of us up here.48681-Yellowstone248686-Yellowstone2While the pass was open, Chittenden Road leading up toward Mt. Washburn was closed. Most of the dirt roads still are. That was too bad because there are some amazing views of the burn areas from up there. Miles and miles of them. It gives me a real sense of how catastrophic the big burn was. I was looking forward to seeing how far the forest has regenerated. We’ve really noticed all over the park how it has changed through regrowth. In the 30 years we’ve been coming here, we’ve seen it go from old growth, to severely burned, to regeneration.48684-Yellowstone248685-Yellowstone2The new trees, now as thick as fur on a bison in winter, still only come up to the shins of old trees. It takes a while.48694-Yellowstone2We saw lots of nice views, but no noteworthy animals this time. We got to the summit, went beyond a bit before turning around and heading for Yellowstone lake.48699-Yellowstone2The Storm Point trail is 2.3 miles of easy walking, first through a bison studded meadow, then forest, then lakeside, before circling back to the parking area. There were a number of cars here, but on the trail, we saw people only from a distance. Just what we’d hoped for.48705-Yellowstone2 48715-Yellowstone2The trail peeks in and out along the shoreline, giving nice views of the lake. It was sunny with high clouds and the lake was quite calm. Along the shore we found still pools reflecting sky and clouds.48729-Yellowstone2Further on, we stopped for lunch at Storm Point which juts out into the lake a bit. We were greeted by what we thought were hundreds mosquitos, but maybe not. They didn’t seem to be biting. The strong breeze served to keep them pushed back a few feet from the edge where we sat and allowed us to finish our lunch. 48744-Yellowstone2We continued on down the trail, then took a short spur off to another point where we found wildflowers in the sand and some interesting boulders on the lake edge.48738-Yellowstone2From here it was an easy hike through forest and back across a nice sage meadow – complete with some rather shabby looking bison. Many haven’t quite shed their winter coats. This one looks more like a shawl.48751-Yellowstone2 48747-Yellowstone2We made our way home slowly after the hike. The light was lower now and really making some of the valleys and meadows look great. We found a nice vantage point for a coffee break and to watch another bison herd from afar and watch the light change over the valley and hills.48780-Yellowstone2 48784-Yellowstone2A nice day. We will be moving up to Mammoth Hot Springs tomorrow and for the next few days. There is so much still to do here in the Norris area, but we want to get in before the weekend up there because it is a smaller campground and will probably fill fast. Next post from there.48779-Yellowstone2

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