In the earlier part of this year my friend Ruth got ahold of me. She had secured a back-country permit for Electric peak. I had never heard of this peak untill now. Of course I said the traditional “I’m In!” and marked my calendar.
It turns out that Electric peak is actually in Yellowstone. So we’re just going to go out and camp where the Bears are! I felt somewhat comfortable with this as I think the bears in Yellowstone are used to seeing people. People are always trying to take a picture and sometimes get a little to close. I expected to see a bear on the trail for sure this trip!
Ruth put in early for the permit. If you’re not familiar with permit hikes it’s like gambling. Only so many permits are awarded a day. Half or more are awarded early in the year and it’s names out of a hat deal. Usually they have 1 or 2 permits available at the rangers office the day of. Sometimes this is due to permits that were not filled. So say the permit covers 6 people, but we had 4, so if Joe-blow and his wife applied at 0800( the day of, the hour exact) he might get a permit fo two people. There’s usually a line for that. Basically if your invited on a permit hike do it, because it’s a once in a lifetime chance. Or twice 😉
Arriving at the rangers office we were schooled. The office itself is quite something; huge stuffed bears, maps, signs. First things first was watching a video about bears, and how to use your bear spray. No guns are allowed in Yellowstone, unless you’re an officer. Then we did some mandatory reading about bears and back-country stuff. Last but not least the ranger went over a bunch of rules and regs, then we signed our life away that we understood everything and headed out!
We had three days to make it up Electric peak! The first day was a 6 mile hike with 2000 feet of elevation gain. This would be base camp.The next would be a 4 mile hike with 3000 feet in elevation gain. This would be a day hike straight up the crazy peak. Then back to base. The last day we would hike out the 6 miles. From the trailhead that peak was very daunting.
As there was still snow on the summit I carried 2 litres of water. It was hot but Yellowstone was still having some spring run-off, I expected lot’s of water on the trail. The trail was beautiful, as you can see a lot of wild-flowers. It was hot but the wind blessed us. I kept my eye’s peeled for wild life!
After a stream crossing we made it to base camp. We put our tent way out in the field (300 feet). Hung our bear-line for food storage (15 feet up and 10 feet between trees) even had a small fire. The size of the fire is regulated by the size of your fist, no wood thicker than your fist ( Floyd has a huge fist, wished he could have come). No cutting of wood, no breaking of branches ect. It felt safe to have a fire. Plus the mosquitoes were wall thick and miserable.
Unfortunately that night someone in our party had some health problems. After much thought and consideration we decided it unsafe to bag the peak. You always wonder what if… I break my leg…..I get giardia…. I fall in crevasse? So when one of your partners has been ill all night it’s just common sense. Plus your always responsible for yourself and your partner in the back country. What if things got worse?
The next day we packed it out. We never saw a bear, elk, wolf, or bison. However I loved it! Absolutely gorgeous, wild, remote and so scenic! I am so lucky to have been able to backpack in Yellowstone National Park!