OPUS THREE- hike report: Crater Hills to ???? 1

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    Posted by Roadie ( on August 01, 2005 at 14:20:46:

    July 23, 2005.
    This is long and veers off in new directions from where we begin. Get a cup of coffee. Ballpark, feel free to piggyback and add your insights, particularly as we get further into this exploration. In time all our questions will be answered, but for now I will get this out as things stand today. I reserve the right to make additions later! If you have no interest in this trail mystery, speed read when you get to the last half! Hopefully, you veteran YNP hikers may have just the answers we need…. Read on!

    This day began early, with the plan being to meet Ballpark in Hayden Valley at 7am. Yawn. The forecast was for high 80’s to low 90’s. That’s hot in Yellowstone, but so much better than Livingston, or Billings!! Anything at 8000 feet has got to be better than the heat wave in the lowlands! I was ready to be out in the open. This trek was designed to continue our exploration of Hayden Valley. Starting on May 31, Ballpark has been leading us all over the sagebrush with the Crater Hills/Carcass Canyon hike, Opus One: Follow the Road, Opus Two: Mary Mountain to Crater Hills, and now Opus Three: Crater Hills to Glen Africa and Beyond. The series was designed to totally familiarize us with Hayden Valley including figuring fastest routes in and out of various locales utilizing known trails and off trail routes. We dropped one car at Trout Creek and packed up from the other at the Crater Hills pullout.

    A large bison cow-calf herd was just starting to move towards the road and our projected path so we loaded our water laden packs and scurried off ahead of them. We hit the trail at 0750. We thought we knew the plan: go in on a direct route from Crater Hills to Glen Africa, follow the road beyond Larry’s Lunch station to Highland Hot Springs, then decide whether to head back on the Trout Creek Road, or back overland off trail the way we came. We could time one way in, and get a time on the other path out. Another objective was to definitively locate the junction of the east section of the Mary Mountain trail with the Trout Creek road. KenT was waiting by his computer for that bit of information.

    Passing Crater Hills to the south, we saw nice bear tracks in the thermal “soil”.

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