Day 40: Mt. Washburn in Yellowstone

Since we weren’t really able to hike yesterday, we decided to do a decent one today. Our two options were to attempt the one from yesterday again or summit Mt. Washburn. In addition to the abundance of mosquitoes, we all agreed that yesterday’s hike wasn’t even all that pretty, so we ruled it out.

The alarms went off at 6 and we were out of the room by 6:30. We grabbed coffee and drove the hour or so to the trailhead. It was a nice, simple hike, 3.2 miles to the summit and 1300 feet in elevation gain. We made it in less than an hour and a half. When we did this hike four years ago, I’m sure we were passed by countless groups. Today, we were the group passing everyone else. That made us all feel confident. The hike was stunning and I cemented my preference for mountains rather than geysers. There was a herd of just over a dozen big horn sheep at summit. All were female or babies, and were freaking adorable. It appeared to be a big playdate and the moms were all hungover on wildflowers. The babies would rest by their mamas and then they’d all leap up and trot around a bit. I swear I could see the moms roll their eyes and tell them to come back. The babies would obediently cuddle with their moms a bit, before one would get all the kids hyper again. Freaking adorable.

We spent a good amount of time talking to the ranger who resides at the summit and is in charge of looking out for new fires in the park. He only gets supplies brought to him every two weeks and politely complained that the fresh fruit and vegetables don’t last long. After talking to him, we decided we weren’t ready to return to the bottom, so we took the primative trail on the other side of the summit. This trail was an out and back (at least for us) and hiked the saddle. We added an extra 1000 feet in gain (and super slippery loss) in 1.3 miles. The wildflowers were stunning and the (almost) 360 views were breathtaking. The hike down the rest of the mountain was quick despite the thunderstorm and hail. Or maybe in spite.

After the drive back to the Old Faithful area, we snagged some WiFi at another lodge, watched Old Faithful erupt again, showered up, and got just enough text service to find out the renovated house on our block was listed for $600,000. Anyone want to be our neighbors and really like the color mint green???Dinner was our last meal in a lodge dining room and it was phenomenal. We’re all in bed and are ready to move onto the Tetons tomorrow.

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