Saturday, August 2, 2014

Day 54: Mink Creek to Beaver Creek

The soft early morning sunlight glistened on wildflowers covered with dew. Still bundled up against the chill of the morning, we waded into Mink Creek and felt the icy water nipping at our toes. 

We caught up with Soulshine (AT '12, PCT '13) a northbound CDT hiker we haven't seen since Leadville, just after the Mink Creek crossing. We shared Yellowstone itineraries and campsite numbers in the hope that sharing sites might provide each other with more flexibility over the next few days. Soulshine would like to hike beyond his assigned site tonight, and sharing our site would allow him to get in a few more miles. Similarly, Sierra and I would like to get closer to Old Faithful Village tomorrow night, and sharing Soulshine's site would allow us to do so. 

No sign marked the entrance of Yellowstone National Park. We found the sign hidden behind the Fox Creek Patrol Cabin, but the cabin was locked. No ranger. 

We followed the Snake River as it wound its way down the valley, wading across it and its tributaries several times. Then we followed Heart River upstream to Heart Lake, crossing the Heart River twice, and countless smaller creeks. Whenever our feet began to warm up or dry, we reached another crossing and waded on in. 

Clouds gathered throughout the day. Thunder rumbled over a nearby ridge. Late in the afternoon the rain came, briefly pelting us with raindrops, but stopping shortly after we put on our raingear. 

We stopped for the night at our assigned campsite near Beaver Creek, complete with two large metal bear lockers, a high food storage pole, and several downed logs Sierra enjoyed climbing on. Beaver Creek snaked through the nearby meadow, making several u-turns along its slow, meandering path. Soulshine joined us. 

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