Hellroaring Creek Hike, Day 7

Wednesday, June 3
Editors note: We are actually home now. The past 6 days we’ve been busy with all that is involved with kickstarting our city life and putting to bed our travel life for now. I’ll post this and our last 2 day in Yellowstone to complete the trip. Hope you enjoy.49183-HellRoaringMorning was a bright one – something we haven’t seen much of lately. It was great to feel the sun so early and see the blue, blue sky. I was a little concerned that the light would get harsh quickly, so I was out and on the trail pretty early. I left Mary snuggled up tight in the Lazy Daze. I stopped once on my way toward Tower-Roosevelt when the road rose up into a large area of fog. As I came to Phantom Lake, a break in the fog cast some light over the meadow behind it, but only just briefly.49186-HellRoaringThere were just a few cars in the dirt lot at the trailhead. Probably they are backpackers or fishermen out for a few days. The trail to Hellroaring Creek starts off with a 600’ drop over 1 mile. From the top, I had a terrific view of Hellroaring Mountain and the Yellowstone River. The trail descends sharply down the side of a very green grassy steep meadow. The trail was good shape and the switchbacks made the angle less sever so walking was relatively easy. It was sunny and warm with a light breeze. This might be a lot more difficult on the way up if it gets too warm, but if the pattern continues, clouds should start forming any minute now.49192-HellRoaringWildflowers were a little sparse at first. Only a few blooming Arrowleaf Balsam Root were seen. But soon they appeared all over the slope. It was quite sunny, so finding a nice angle and background was a little challenging. I saw some tall Beargrass blossoms and Alpine Forget-me-nots. Several other varieties as well. I just had a dandy time along this stretch. As usual, it took me an hour to go that first mile.49200-HellRoaring 49211-HellRoaring 49219-HellRoaring 49232-HellRoaring 49224-HellRoaring 49236-HellRoaringOnce down off the steeper part of the descent, the trail moves into a very nice forested area. Still very green with loads of flowers. After passing the Garnet Hill Trail Junction, I began hearing the rushing waters of the Yellowstone River. The trail leads to a suspension bridge over the river and once on the bridge, I was mesmerized by the sights and sounds of this white water streatch. I skipped photos of the river itself because by now the cloudless sky and bright sun were making the conditions to harsh. I just photographed the bridge and moved on. Maybe later on the way back it will be better.49249-HellRoaring 49268-HellRoaring 49281-HellRoaringAfter the bridge, the trail levels out even more and continues through the forest a bit more before breaking out into a large sage meadow. About a mile from the bridge, I had the option of going straight out to Hellroaring Creek, or continuing on down the banks. I chose to walk about another mile down the banks. Well. it wasn’t really the banks of the river because the trail is set quite far back and mostly up higher than the river. In fact there were only a few places where I could even get down there comfortably even if I wanted to. It runs fast and quite loud – hence the name I’m sure.49284-HellRoaring 49292-HellRoaring 49301-HellRoaring 49357-HellRoaringJust as I was about to turn back, I found a set of elk antlers sitting next to the trail. Of course I had to mess around a bit. No one to see me. I took that as an omen that I should keep going, so I hiked a little further until I came to another stand of trees. Seemed like a nice spot for lunch.49304-HellRoaringAgain, flowers all around me, and now, clouds were indeed beginning to form. This gave me even more options for lighting.49335-HellRoaring 49373-HellRoaring 49382-HellRoaringI started back, once again enjoying the flowers and lovely trail.49418-HellRoaring 49403-HellRoaring 49407-HellRoaring 49411-HellRoaringThe river itself was not the most exciting of scenes, but it was loud and rushing nicely. I made a few pictures, then headed back.49421-HellRoaringBack at the bridge, the cloud cover was now enough to cut the super contasty conditions so I could now make some pictures of the river as it passed below me. The banks were pretty nice as well. A nice rest stop before I have to tackle the climb back up to the trailhead.49427-HellRoaring 49430-HellRoaring 49442-HellRoaring 49448-HellRoaringBut it wasn’t so bad. The clouds made it much cooler and the little breeze kept me from struggling too much. Of course, I stopped often on the way up because all the flower spots were now even more evenly lit. More nice scenes.49453-HellRoaring 49462-HellRoaring 49456-HellRoaring49468-HellRoaringGetting back to the top, I turned around to take in and appreciate the view once again. It was a wonderful hike on this spring day. I think summer would be way too hot, and fall would be mostly brown with no flowers. I passed maybe 6 people the entire day. 600’ I guess has an effect.49472-HellRoaringNext post, Mary is back in the saddle with me on another walk together through Norris Basin.

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