Yellowstone National Park
Our original plan was to hike the Beartooth Plateau and investigate the reputation of the trout in its lake system. However, our plans changed, and we spent only one night near the Montana-Wyoming border as the wind poured smoke over us from a nearby fire. Finding that rather intolerable, we hiked out and checked our maps, realizing that we were only an hour or so from Cooke City and from Yellowstone. So to Yellowstone we went.
Our improvised Plan B turned out much better than Plan A, and after visiting a ranger station we had permits in hand. The area was noticeably less smokey, even if we could see plumes from several surrounding fires rising like white columns into the sky. We soon discovered that, as far as we could tell, we had all of Wyoming north of the Yellowstone River and west of Hellroaring Creek to ourselves—despite never being more than four-and-a-half easy miles from the trailhead. Not bad for a national park in high summer.
The smoke plume from the Emigrant Fire in the Gallatin National Forest in Montana.
Looking down on the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone.
We found a number of impressive elk sheds in the area—a few several feet in length and nearly all found and relocated by hikers. But none were still attached as with this bull.
The Yellowstone River