HART LAKE – YELLOWSTONE NP
CDT Day 100: 27 miles/ 43km
CDT SOBO Mile 1015.0 – 1040.0 (+2 Lewis River Channel Trail)
Thursday July 25, 2019
As we were camped close to Moose Creek, it was a cold night. So cold not even the birds wanted to wake in the morning. An upside of the cold is that the mosquitoes were not active while we broke camp.
By the time we emerged out of the river valley it was getting lighter and my happy bird was singing. Its happy song echoed throughout the forest.
My feet were beginning to warm just as we reached another river crossing. Snake River where it leaves Shoshone Lake was wide and flowing swiftly. Luckily it was shallow, about knee deep.
From this junction we followed the Lewis Lake trail which followed the river banks to the shore of Lewis Lake. It was 2 miles longer then the CDT but much nicer landscape. Circulation returned to my feet and they warmed up about 3 hrs after the river crossing. Hammers’ took a little longer as his shoes take longer to dry. It was incredibly peaceful and still until the mosquitoes woke up. Huge numbers trying to land on every bit of skin not covered by Deet, including nostrils and eyeballs.
We made it to Route 191 by 10am. Very satisfying to cover 10miles by 10am. Crossing the Highway and the short walk along it was a bit sketchy as the road was busy and there is little shoulder by the road.
We joined the busy Hart Lake trail for a gradual uphill followed by a steep decent to a meadow with a few hot springs and great views of the huge, mountain backed Hart Lake. This is the section of trail that was closed for bear management until the 1st July. And it is obviously a popular trail with bears and hikers.
We stopped for lunch by a stream before reaching the lake, only to find that the water was too hot to filter. Leaving Hart Lake we began a slow exit out of Yellowstone NP. It was a georgeous clear blue sky day and it was hot. There were numerous creek and river crossings as we followed the Heart River and then the Snake River valleys. Not really practical to take shoes off at each crossing so it was shoes and all. Hiking with wet shoes and socks was not pleasant. But the profusion of wildflowers more then made up for any unpleasantness. Huge dense fields of Mariposa Lillies were so stunning, each flower unique and perfect. I wanted to take hundreds of pictures.
Late in the day it was obvious we were not going to make it to our designated campground in daylight hours. We didn’t want another finish after dark so we stopped earlier and camped by the trail.