Friday, June 7, 2013

Trail Update and Gear Report

Because the Mystic Trail was closed for Bear activity, I routed through the Madison Campground in Yellowstone National Park. This hiker-biker site was $6 bucks. I met Lenard there. He was in route from northern Montana to a job taking care of indigents in Arizona. His bike and trailer were an interesting combination of handyman tools and camping equipment. He told me he was a disabled veteran who had planned ambushments in Afghanistan.

Once I hit West Yellowstone, I found a hotel, which is called Madison Hotel, located on Yellowstone Avenue, across the street from the Police Station. I quickly unloaded my pack and hung the Brawnygear prototype tent to dry. The last couple days were frosty. Packing up this morning, the  slight condensation was still frozen on the inside. They charge $36 a night. A good deal if you're not camping here so close to the park.

My tent is supported by two hiking poles. By cocking the entry pole off to one side, entry is much easier. This tent has a full floor, zippered screen and half back wall, allowing good ventilation. Its been so cold, I did close off the air flow, which added some condensation issues. This custom tent is only 76 inches long and weighs 22 ounces with 6 stakes and guy line.

As my trail wound its way through the mountains, I came upon this informational sign detailing the great quake registering 7.5 on the Richter scale, the largest ever recorded in the Rocky Mountains. On a moonlit night on August 17, 1959, near midnight, the earth shook, an avalanche took out a mountain road, 28 people died. The lake 'tilted' and a roar of mud and water took out campgrounds all along this beautiful  mountain pass.

Before heading south of the park and resuming my journey on the Divide, I decided to take a couple days. Its still a little early in the season to be backpacking at 9,000 feet.

Base camping with my South Col tent is luxurious. I did a gear review on this four season tent and created a video you can watch on you tube. Because my car is parked nearby, this is really sweet and relaxing. Baker's Hole Campground is 3 miles west of West Yellowstone on HWY287-191. Its only $16 bucks a night, as cheap as you're going to find this close to the Park. There are campground hosts too which can help direct you to the best eateries in town.
Hike along the Madison River near the campground and you'll find peaceful mountain vistas, blue waters, and plenty of prime bear habitat.

Store all food and drink in your car or bear box unless you are within sight of it and awake.

A typical site at Baker's Hole Campground.

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