I love it when you show up for work and are not on the schedule. Such was the day that I decided to head up to Mt. Washburn. Hiking alone is really not recommended in YNP, but this peak was not only very accessible but very popular. I had already checked out the trailhead and was feeling pretty confident about going it alone.
Yet as soon as I pulled out onto the main road I met two hiking companions, Kathy and Will from Taiwan. These two were literally standing on the side of the road holding a sign saying Washburn. I really thought these younger kids were going to whip my butt on the trail but, they did not. We ended up hiking from the far side trail to the peak, “Chittenden trail” which is literally an old service road. Will had never seen snow and I built a little snowman, it totally made their day.
From the peak which is 3 miles either trail head we had a great view in the remodeled fire lookout. Interesting fact at the top there is a Ranger posted in the lookout for the season. We were also treated to Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep clambering a ways off. The wild flowers were explosive despite the alpine dwarfing.
We decided to hike the Bunsen pass trail down the other side. Though the mileage is compatible the trail had more tree’s and of course more snow. Will had taken to making snow balls and I kept expecting to take one in the head, after a while of never getting smacked by a snowball I had a conversation with my Taiwanese friends about snowball fights. It had not occurred to sweet young Will that he should chuck a snowball at us girls. A couple of trail turns later my friends and I ran into a huge snowball fight with kids and adults going at it. Will and Kathy stopped for a bit and then Will shook his head and said “American boy’s”. We all laughed at that.
Before we reached the trailhead we were treated to a Grizz a ways off near the trail. He didn’t mind us a bit and kept doing normal bear stuff, aka ” minding his own business.” From Bunsen pass I caught a ride with an older gentlemen cruising in a upgraded rental. He was trolling the trailheads looking for the “younger generation” in his party, who were hiking the peak. I advised him that the trail was easy, busy and safe. Back at the car I was thinking how easy it was to make friends and felt pretty confident about hiking in Yellowstone. Besides I have a new guide book to take a chunk out of.