Perfect Hiking Weather

Note: A couple of years ago, I started doing semi-regular posts that focused on pictures from Yellowstone…I figured today was a good chance to re-start that tradition.

It’s Memorial Day weekend, that means Spring is In full-swing!

Now, for most folks — those from, say, California or Florida or Colorado — the concept of Spring conjures images of blooming flowers, warm breezes and lovely, vibrantly green vistas.

Erm…when you live in the caldera of a supervolcano?  Yeah, not so much…

This is what I woke up this morning, standing right in front of my trailer (and, yeah, my front yard doesn’t suck): B4984518-E43F-4536-B58F-C29FF57ED199

So, me being me, how did I react to a nice late-season snow?  I immediately put on my good boots, grabbed my gear, and headed for a favorite trail of mine: A1D0EDC0-E350-49F7-B2AC-9BA577F9364C

By the way, that thing about “good boots” was no exaggeration — this is what most of the trails look like during the late spring snow-melt: 728CF9D7-6C20-4D6D-A0DA-46BD5E6E495E

No matter how much you warn them, new hikers in this park are always surprised by the (relative) lack of trail markers.  It’s not for a lack of trying, that I can promise you.  Unfortunately, when a 2,000-pound bison decides to scratch, no signpost in the world is going to remain standing for long: 8BBB6170-D5EE-4BE1-A1AB-F455B53DA461

Okay, so the other thing you have to really work to get across to visitors and new staff is just how “nearby” the predators really are.  The bears and wolves are around…and they’re bigger than you think.  This (not particularly large) wolf was a couple of hours ahead of me on the trail — she was accompanied by a pup, but the little guy’s tracks were too faint to photograph well: EE3B9479-1DA5-4E4E-AFD5-915B09738F0E

This grizzly was ahead of me also — he was also not particularly large, but he was…ahem…big enough: FAFF67E0-992C-44D6-9A0D-34226DDB7398

Although the trail itself runs all the way from the Canyon area down to Fishing Bridge (about 15 miles), my destination was only about five miles in — this is one of the major wildlife areas of Yellowstone, and one of the coolest places to hang out.  Take a nice gander at the “animals’” view of Hayden Valley, and keep in mind that it looks one hell of a lot different to the humans on the road a few miles away: 1E248229-B37C-4782-9C93-0A29140ADCB2

I’ve had people ask me, “I can understand living one season in Yellowstone, that would be cool, but why go back?”  My answer?  “Gee, I wonder…”: 7A6745F7-740D-4FD2-BCBF-A75E4747B394

And, finally, just a handful of other pics I took on my walk:

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