Continental Divide Trail – Day 100
August 31, 2023
Miles Today/ Total: 26.5 / 1801.0
I forced myself up before daylight this morning. It was very cold and I didn’t want to get out of my sleeping bag. But the thought of a hot lunch at Old Faithful Inn was stronger and I started getting things packed up early.
I was on the trail by 6:30am and it was just light enough to see. My day started with a wet crossing of Moose Creek. My feet were already cold and the water just made them colder. The trail had frost on the ground. Today was the first day on this trip I wore my puffy to start the day.
The trail started with a gradual climb upwards. It seemed so gradual I didn’t realize how high I had gone up until the trail started going back down. It was probably 4 miles of climbing and less than 1 mile of descent back down to Shoshone Lake.
The trail dropped to the shoreline and followed along a sandy shore for about 1/2 mile. It then turned and began crossing a marsh. There were a few bridges, but it was mostly a walk through the mud. This was the beginning of a geothermal area so at least the mud wasn’t ice cold.
After the marsh I officially entered geyser basin. There were several bubbling pools and lots of sulphuric steam vents. I didn’t get to see any geysers go off as I walked through, but it was still cool to see.
Leaving the Geyser Basin the trail returned to forest and there was some pretty sections I walked through. About 5 miles from Old Faithful Village I came across a work crew valiantly working to build a raised rock walkway through a muddy bog. I talked to them for a minute and thanked them for their work. Then I turned and hurried down the trail – my lunch was calling me.
I arrived at Old Faithful Inn a little before 1:00pm. They have a Western lunch buffet featuring pulled pork, bison brats, salmon, baked beans, bison chili and Mac & cheese. I ate 2 full plates, a bowl of chili, and a big brownie for dessert. I was thoroughly stuffed before I paid my bill and headed to the General Store.
At the General Store I picked up 2 days of food to get me to West Yellowstone. I found a table outside near an electric outlet to charge my battery bank and repacked my food. I also took some time to update a couple of days to social media.
With 10 miles to camp, I needed to get back on the trail. The trail led right past Old Faithful which was just starting to go off as I went by. I then walked the boardwalk through the upper geyser basin as I started down the trail. The geysers, pools, and springs were awesome to see. Castle Geyser was blowing a huge cloud of steam the whole time I walked through.
Soon I was leaving the geyser area and headed back uphill in the forest. There was a pretty good climb for the first mile then the trail leveled out as it gradually climbed to Summit Lake. I arrived at my designated campsite about 7:15 and was totally shocked to see the conditions. There were blowdowns all around the campsite, a huge snag (fallen tree that is hung up in another tree and hasn’t fallen to the ground – yet) , and numerous dead trees in the area. This is not a safe place to camp – designated or not.
I noticed a small clearing a few yards up the trail on the way in and backtracked to that and set up my tent there. At least I won’t have a dead tree fall on me tonight.