When my kids were young, we went on a vacation with my brother Steve and his wife Hana in N. Carolina near the Smokey Mountain park. Steve announced to all of us that he found a “moderate” hike suitable for all including the 4 kids ranging from 6 to 12 years of age.
This began a quest to achieve the mountain top. A quest is when you start something and you won’t quit until you succeed or die.
My bike rode to Glacier was a quest.
Easy Hikes can Kill!
This hike almost killed us. We didn’t pack any supplies and quickly ran out of water and consumed the few snacks someone brought. One kid (Jesse – my son) ran ahead of us on the trail so we couldn’t just stop and retreat. Also this was a quest so there is that…we had to go on. Steve’s wife Hana hurt her knee and suffered a lot to make it up this mountain. When we all got to the top, we were all dehydrated and felt like we were dying. As soon as we got to the summit with it’s incredible views, biting flies swarmed and drew blood. The way down took hours and we all went back to the rented house and piled into the sauna displacing most of the water.
Why tell you this old story?
Why tell you this story? Because Steve suggested we do a little hike to a mountain gap by Indian campground in N. Yellowstone. The hike started nice enough with beautiful weather and awesome views. We eventually pass the only person we were to see that day at about mile two. I didn’t get his name but jokingly called him Ranger Rick. RR approached us and gave us a long sermon on the dangers of Yellowstone backcountry and how grizzlies are angry right now after hibernation and having cubs. He described Moose attacks how quick and violent they can be. Badgers will tear are legs off. Elk will charge us to defend their fawns. He showed us not 1 but 2 bear sprays cans and made a huge point of how one can was oversized and he still doubted it would be effective or stop a charging beast. He wanted to know if I can climb 12 feet in tree as that would provide a safe refuge from the griz.
Ranger Rick Warns Us…
He then hiked a little further ahead of us before he started back once he hit a stream crossing. The stream crossing was truly painful. Take off your shoes and socks, roll up pants and start wading. the first two steps in the water seemed ok. Then the current hits and you start to topple. This coincides with stepping on a sharp rock piercing one of your toes. This hurts, but not like the pain you get from the near 32 degree water from snow melt, causing you to gasp for breath and your feet going numb. She how we both made it across this stream and even a second one without drowning.
This is the point I realize I’m on another little hike with Steve. I will never learn, will I?
Don’t Hike with Steve….
All told we hiked 10 miles across meadow and mountain. After Ranger Ricks scare, we never saw a bear, badger or wolf. Once again the threat of bear was nothing near to the threat of a Steve hike where we go too far, under provisioned and nearly drown.
Bike – Don’t Hike!
We returned, eventually, and went to the town of Gardiner for dinner and a beer. Let me suggest biking all day against a headwind on interstate 90 would have been far easier day.
All in all, a great day in Yellowstone and a epic hike as well.