Sunday, August 11 – The Roar of the Harleys

And we continue to wind down, with only 4 weeks left in our season. This was a highly interesting week. Saturday we hiked DeLacey Creek to Shoshone Lake with our neighbors, Richard and Susan. The trailhead is not far from the Old Faithful area and required us to drive south to the West Thumb area, then turn west and north toward Old Faithful. As we made the turn from West Thumb we saw a cluster of activity near the parking area where we left the truck for last weekend’s hike: Duck Lake. One of the pulloffs was closed off with yellow police tape and another nearby pulloff was full of official vehicles. When you see stuff like that around here, you know something not good is happening, but we couldn’t tell what was going on.

The 3 mile hike into Shoshone Lake along DeLacey Creek traversed a varied landscape of what appeared to be glacial valleys, old-growth forest, grasslands that had once been creek beds, and gently sloping hillsides. It was a pleasant stroll with an awesome reward: the lake was beautiful! We lingered at the lake for about 2 hours eating lunch, skipping stones, and exploring the area, before heading back to the truck.

On the way back home we observed the Duck Lake parking area was still a beehive of official looking activity.

Sunday morning we got an early start with the bikes loaded into the truck and headed for Lone Star Geyser. The “trail” to the geyser is just over 2 miles long but is a relatively flat, unmaintained old service road. By bike it took no more than 20 minutes to arrive at the geyser and then another 40 minutes for the first minor eruption. That was followed after about 35 minutes by a major eruption.

As the eruption tapered off we got back on our bikes and began our ride back to the truck. Richard and I led, followed by Mary Ann, with Susan bringing up the rear. At one point I noticed a small snake slither across the trail and pointed it out to Richard. A few seconds later, as Mary Ann passed by the same area, we heard a whispered shout from behind us. Richard and I assumed Mary Ann had seen the snake and was pointing it out to us. But as soon as we turned around Richard could tell from Susan’s body language that something big was happening. It turns out that as Mary Ann passed by the spot where we’d seen the snake, she spotted a mamma grizzly bear and her cub coming across the adjacent stream and they were now both up on the trail not 50 feet from where we’d just ridden. I got there just in time to video two bear butts but Richard shot some good photos.

2 Bears part 1

 

2 Bears part 2

The Sturgis bike rally was this week. Normally the park is a pretty tranquil place with only the occasional beat of the life flight chopper to interrupt the peace. But beginning a few days leading up to the rally and for several days after it ends, the park literally roars with Harleys and Harley wannabes. It’s always nice when it ends but then that only means the season is that much closer to done.

This week we dropped our 5:45 PM trip on Thursday so we’re now down to 5 daily trips through the end of the season. The bison rut is now in full swing, which means visitors arrive late for our scheduled trips. This creates some interesting tension: since we have fewer available trips they’re all pretty much sold out. But because people get caught in bison jams and arrive late we occasionally leave with fewer passengers than a full boat OR we leave late because we delay getting underway waiting for the tardy guests.

Note to Harley riders: shhhhhhhhhhh….

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