Friday, September 7, 2012

Backpacking Yellowstone—Southeast (5 of 5): East Yellowstone Lake; Thorofare; South Boundary Trail

Headed down to Mariposa Lake.

 More smoke to the south.

Smoke makes a dramatic sunset.

Grizzly bear across the lake, about a quarter mile from camp. I was a little concerned it might turn the corner and head in my direction, but it continued on into the forest.

Early morning at Mariposa Lake.

Miles down the trail, at the Fox Creek patrol cabin.

The upper Snake River near the park's south boundary.

A CDT thru-hiker left this note to alert southbound travelers of the North Buffalo Fire, which was burning across a portion of the CDT by this time.

There was a lot of personality in both the note and in the map drawn on the back. I especially liked the truck and the car traveling the highway at the bottom.

Starting the 2,000-foot climb up Big Game Ridge.

Still climbing.

And climbing.

 Good views of the fire from high on Big Game Ridge. 

The Tetons to the southwest.

Looking northwest toward Heart Lake, with part of Yellowstone Lake to the upper right.

 Looking north at the Cygnet Complex fires between Canyon and Norris on the far side of Yellowstone Lake.

Another view of the Tetons.

Still on the trail at sunset. 

I had planned to camp just outside the park boundary a few miles southeast of Harebell Cabin, but, unlike all the other areas I've been in this summer, the park boundary west of Big Game Ridge wasn't marked, so I ended up walking too far and going all the way to the cabin. There was actually a ranger there, but he was no help, so I continued another two and half miles toward the park boundary along Wolverine Creek in the dark, hiking with a headlamp.

Fording Harebell Creek in the moonlight. I turned south along Wolverine Creek and made my best guess about where the unmarked park boundary was likely to be and made camp for the night.

Early start the next morning, traveling with the Snake River, which was a little larger than it was the last time I'd seen it.

Snake Hot Springs.

Yellow-bellied marmot near the hot springs.

Outlet channel from some of the hot springs.

After the hot springs, the trail traveled through dense forest for the last few miles. I saw a young bull moose through a gap in the trees, but I couldn't get a decent photo.

Last ford of the Snake River just east of the South Entrance Road.

Part 1 of 5
Part 2 of 5
Part 3 of 5
Part 4 of 5

Next trip: Pitchstone Plateau; Bechler; Lone Star Geyser.


  1. What an epic trip man....the Thorofare has been on my list for a long time. Strong work!

  2. Thanks, Mick! I hope you get out there one of these days.