With a temp of -2 degrees F., we pulled up at the trailhead in the town of West Yellowstone, which abutts the Park. The snow was really squeaky under our feet.
The temp had dropped way below the dew point, so there was nice frost on everything.
The route starts out with a 1+ mile run thru the trees, the shadows preserving snow, but keeping one's hands frosty. Yeah, for the first few hundred meters, one shares the route with electrical poles.
Finally, out in the sun, and it is time to start stripping off clothing, as the push thru the woods generate lots of internal warmth. Susie is on the left, followed by Donna, Scotty, and Mike.
The first 1.5 miles or so is occasionally groomed, but it had been a while. Mike and Scotty, both fishing fanatics, are headed out to look at the Madison River, mecca for fisher-people, while Carolyn, Kem, and Donna wait, and Susie and I catch up.
Some heavy frost on the pines.
After leaving any sort of trail maintenace, we skied down near the river, and saw two bald eagles sitting in a tree. We had seen two near this same spot a few years ago.
Donna is photographing while Kem, left, waits patiently.
Donna had to strike a pose in front of this frost-covered bush.
This route is hike-able in the summer and thus, the picnic table. Left to right are Roger, Donna, Carolyn, and Kem.
Skiing along the banks of the river.
When we say this is skiing along the river bank, we mean it. Here, Roger is being very careful.
A nice shot of the mountains on the south end of the Gallatin Range.
Here Carolyn is inspecting some coyote tracks in the track we are following. The snow was pretty unconsolidated, so getting off the track meant sinking knee-deep in snow. The coyote was not dumb.
Carolyn, Scotty, Donna, and Mike at a nice viewpoint overlooking the river.
It is neat to see all of the critter tracks in the snow. But we saw no evidence of bison this year.
The view upriver.
Roger photographing the view while Scotty and Mike drink in the scenery.
Lunchtime. Roger found a sunny spot, critical on this day, that seemed perfect for lunch.
After lunch, we decided to make our own way downriver. This involves a lot more trailbreaking. Kem, Donna and Carolyn are waiting for Susie (middle of photo) to ski down a ledge. In a few spots, it is definitely one-at-a-time skiiing.
Scotty, in front, is doing all the hard work. Mike, Susie, Carolyn, Donna and Kem follow. Roger is documenting the whole process.
Mad river view.jpg
A panorama shot from the near the turnaround point. This is looking downriver at the southern end of the Madison Range.
Apparently, we are coming to the forced return point.
Scotty and Carolyn approach the point of a penninsula in the river. Way too much water for snow bridges.
Is Donna sleeping? No, just lying down to photograph. Always tough to get up. But Kem is enjoying the entire process. Roger and Mike are coming along in the far left.
An ambitious otter went this way. Maybe to its den?
OK, we have turned around and have to climb up some of the drops that we skied down. Here Kem is showing how you herringbone up a narrow track.
Heading back, everyone seems to be doing his or her own thing.