Shoshone Lake, Riddle Lake, Lewis Falls & Moose Falls, Yellowstone National Park:
A ranger recommended two lake hikes to us: Shoshone Lake (6 mi.) and Riddle Lake (5 mi.). Today we decided to do both.
At 8:30 a.m. we left on the DeLacy Creek Trail for Shoshone Lake, the biggest backcountry lake in the lower 48 states and the second-largest lake in Yellowstone. The 6-mile, roundtrip trail was rated easy and we pretty much breezed in and breezed out. Having hiked many mountain trails in my life, I was most intrigued by all the grasses growing along the trail and throughout the forest. See photos.
The mosquitoes didn’t start dining on us until we were almost at the lake. Bob was the target as he wore shorts and a T-shirt. He was killing four mosquitoes at once! I had on long pants, a T-shirt and a long-sleeved sweater. They only bit my face and scalp. I killed a couple on me and was swatting at Bob for about ½ mile trying to kill the little bloodsuckers. The mosquitoes abated part way back to the car. We finished the hike at 11:40 a.m.
|Grasses growing all over!|
|Huge toadstools/mushrooms growing throughout the forest.|
|A lot of the hike was along the edge of meadows.|
|Columbian monkshood wildflowers.|
|Love the pattern of the grasses in the light.|
|Shoshone Lake--looking left.|
|Shoshone Lake looking right.|
|Bob on DeLacy Creek Trail on the way back from Shoshone Lake.|
|Anyone know what these are??|
The Shoshone Lake is huge and very pretty, but both of us decided we like flowing water better. We like the sound of rushing streams, creeks and waterfalls while we’re hiking.
When we finished Shoshone Lake hike, we went to the Grant Village Visitor Center. The theme of the Grant Village Center: the 1988 fires that consumed 36% of Yellowstone. We learned about types of fire, how fire spreads, ecological implications, how plants and animals were affected, and saw a film about the fire with updates on how Yellowstone is recovering from the fire.
Lunch was at the Grant Village Grill. Must replenish our energy for the next hike!
We headed south of Grant Village to Riddle Lake trailhead and set off through the trees. What struck me about this trail is how beautiful the grasses in the meadow are. The trail itself was grass, roots, grass, roots, dirt, so I dubbed it the grass-roots trail.
The Riddle Lake Trail was easier than the DeLacy Creek Trail to Shoshone Lake. For one thing, it was much more level; for another, there were no mosquitoes; oh, and one more thing, the trail was a mile shorter. We saw two trumpeter swans nesting by the lily pads, too far away to take a good photograph. We sat on a downed log and took photos, ate some cookies, drank water, enjoyed the view and let the breeze coming off the lake refresh us. The five-mile Riddle Lake Trail took us one hour and 40 minutes (that’s counting 20 minutes sitting on the log).
We think all the downed trees are from the fire 24 years ago. After about 25 years they fall down or blow over.
Since we were in the southern portion of the park, we decided to see Lewis Falls and Moose Falls. Both of them are at least four-star waterfalls, and only short walks required from the road. (Actually, you can see Lewis Falls from your car if you’re driving southbound.)
|It's August 9. Glad we're clear on that!|
|Riddle Lake Trail.|
|Lots of downed trees!|
|Such pretty hiking. Flat and easy too.|
|Goofing around taking photos.|
|Bob at Riddle Lake.|
|Trail skirts meadows.|
|Again, so much green grass. Isn't it pretty?|
|Susan and Bob at Lewis Falls, Yellowstone.|
|Lewis Falls, Yellowstone National Park.|
|A group swimming in the pool at the base of Moose Falls.|
|Moose Falls close up.|
We made it back to the 5er at 4:30 p.m., fed the cats and headed back out to a Ranger Talk at 5:00 p.m. at Fishing Bridge. The ranger talked about the “intricacies of the web of life at Lake Yellowstone” (Bob’s words). Her focus was on the Cutthroat trout native to Lake Yellowstone. Cutthroat trout support 42 other species in the park. Because of the introduced lake trout, which eat cutthroat trout, the cutthroat trout population has diminished rapidly. As we learned on our boat tour the other day, the park service is hiring gill-netters to come in to catch and kill as many lake trout as possible.
As we drove back to our 5er, a mule deer crossed through the campground two sites away from ours. We got all comfy and were eating dinner when the neighbor behind us knocked on our door to let us know a bison was in front of our 5er! Whoa, first bison we’ve seen in the campsite. Apparently a herd of them crossed over Fishing Bridge this afternoon and a number of them have come into the campsite. We’ve had bison roaming around the road and forest in front of the 5er.
If there’s bison in the road, we have to stay at least ten feet away and leave at least ten feet between us and any cars in front of us. If the bison want to cross the road and you haven’t left space, they will move your car, causing quite a bit of damage!
|Bison behind our pick up.|
Nature rules here.
We opened our 5er door and just have the screen door closed. The cats have been “hunting” camp robbers (gray jays) and chipmunks through the screen. Then a bison walked by. Bowie’s tail fluffed out and the fur on his spine went up. Guess he knew a threat when he saw it.
Tomorrow’s plan: Bechler area in the southwest corner of Yellowstone National Park. We will exit the park through West Yellowstone and head south on US 20 across Targhee Pass, go to Big Springs (headwaters of Henry’s Fork of the Snake River), Harriman State Park, SR 47 Mesa Falls Scenic Byway (to see Upper and Lower Mesa Falls), and into the Bechler area of Yellowstone to see Cave Falls and Bechler Falls. Tomorrow will be quite a full day!!
Right now, we’re going to Lake Lodge to pay to use the internet, and then heading home to sleep. We’ll be up early.
Travel Bug out.