We weren't sure the views would be all that great--and really, they weren't--on account of all the rain and low hanging clouds. Still, we really wanted to go and the hike seemed enjoyable and easy enough no matter what view the top held in store. So off we went.
There is a pull-out for the trailhead about half a mile north of Lake Junction. The trail runs parallel to the road for a short distance before hanging a right into the forest. There were lots of lofty lodgepole pines in every direction. Matt and I both like them a lot. They're cool looking since they get so tall and remain surprisingly slim in diameter. The mature trees don't have branches on the lower half either adding to their imposing effect and allowing for more open views at the forest floor. We don't know our tree IDs very well, but we know lodgepoles. Since they don't have deep roots they are easily blown over so there was quite a bit of lodgepole deadfall. We're always hopeful this will mean woodpeckers, but that wasn't to be the case on this particular hike. We did see one lodgepole pine that had been bent so strongly that it had two long cracks running the length of the trunk--but it was still kicking, with green growth and everything, for now.
As we climbed the obsidian kept giving us reason to stop and take a breather--even if we didn't need one. I've never seen so much obsidian in one place before. At one point the surface of the entire trail and surrounding hillside were largely composed of it--small, shinny marbles of obsidian. Most of the pieces were very small--little black pebbles--but there were some more impressive pieces, too. We picked up, played with, marveled at, and photographed a lot of them before putting them back where we found them. It was really neat.
|All the dark earth in this photo is actually pebbles of obsidian. It was crazy.|
|Matt balancing a piece of obsidian on his nose for my amusement, with Lake Yellowstone visible in the background.|
Pelican Creek, site of a different rainy-day hike. As I said though, the views weren't great. It was awfully grey that day. The sky was grey which made the lake grey. It was raining which made it hazy with mist. We must come back on some nice, clear summer day. I bet the lake water is just dazzling.
man was killed by grizzlies while hiking two months back. Matt and I were prepared with bear spray, of course, and always give a good announcing-ourselves holler when coming around a blind turn or rise in the trail. We weren't worried, but still, it gave me pause to think a bit. I realized that all the hubbub around bear attacks steals focus from the reality that most trips to the woods, most interactions with wildlife are indeed safe ones. The deadly ones are the aberrations. This was just like any other hike. We'll have to do it again some sunny day. I want to see that lake sparkle from my hammock.