We planned our day hike over Bunsen Peak and down to Osprey Falls for Wednesday, September 28th. In 2004, Dave had taken this same hike with some of our family members on a large group trip. I was unable to go on this hike because I wasn't up to it physically. I had been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease a few weeks prior to that 2004 vacation and had just been released from the hospital after receiving blood transfuions the week before. I had managed to do the Mt. Washburn hike but that had taken a lot out of me. I was eager to do the Bunsen Peak-Osprey Falls hike since Dave had told me what a great hike it was!
The night before our hike, Dave suggested we keep our Camelbak's out in the car after filling them up so that the water would be really cold. Dave put his in the trunk and I laid mine flat over the cooler in the back seat of the car.
When we awoke, the fog was so thick and it looked so gloomy that I had second thoughts about attempting the 10 mile hike. The weather forecast was for sunny skies and Dave figured the fog would burn off. We bundled up in layers since it was chilly out. Along the way we stopped so Dave could photograph a bull elk in the fog and mist.
We started our hike at the base of Bunsen Peak, the fog made everything look surreal.
As we climbed, switchbacking up the mountain we were able to see Mammoth Hot Springs down below since the clouds were starting to break up.
We also heard wolves howling back and forth to one another. Hearing the wolves was a highlight of this particular hike; one of those memories etched deeply in your mind just as sure as if it had been chiseled in granite! Nearing the top of Bunsen Peak where we heard the wolves exchange howls with one another!
Zooming in you can see the trailhead far below.
After we reached the top we ate our power bars and drank from our Camelbak's. I had already taken my wool hat from my head and now I shed my fleece jacket as the temperatures began to rise. I mentioned to Dave that I must've really sweated on the way up the mountain because I felt clammy. I shed my turtleneck as well, leaving only my long sleeved shirt to hike in. We took our photos, our break ended and it was time to move on.
High atop Bunsen Peak with Swan Lake below and the Gallatin Mountain Range in the distance.
We descended the peak and made our way over to where the Osprey Falls trailhead begins. I went to take a drink but nothing came out. I thought it unusual and told Dave that when we stopped again I would have to check it, thinking that I must've somehoe gotten a kink in the tubing. We hiked further along and I was really getting thirsty so we stopped again for a drink. I took off my pack, looked inside only to find not a single drop of water left!!! I was shocked because I'd only had a couple of drinks that entire morning. Apparently, I had not properly closed the seal after filling the hydration bladder on my Camelbak and it had leaked all night long inside the car. What was left inside the pack had been draining all over my back while we were hiking. I wasn't sweating as much as I thought, it was my drinking water soaking the back of my shirt! Dave was a perfect gentlemen and shared his with me. He had decided to leave out his water purifier at the last minute because he didn't think we'd need more water than what we had packed.
The view of Sheepeater Canyon before we made our descent.
It was steep climbing down into the canyon to get to Osprey Falls but when we finally got there, we had the place entirely to ourselves, we ended up taking a one hour break there! It was really beautiful and I hated to leave.
The Gardner River tumbles over the 150 foot Osprey Falls.
It took us an hour to climb the mile back up out of the canyon. By then I was getting pretty tired and we still had over 3 miles of level ground to hike until we got back to the trailhead where our car was parked. Climbing out of Sheepeater Canyon I am beginning to tire!
As we hiked, we saw a solitary bison off to the side. We kept a watchful eye on him and he did likewise. There was no cover in the event he decided to "investigate" us. By now, I was dragging quite a bit. Just as a second wind came over me, Dave told me to stop, and of course I did. He thought he had seen movement ahead on the trail. He strained his eyes to see if it was a bear. Unable to make anything out, he pulled out his telephoto lens to use as binoculars. He told me he didn't think it was a Grizzly Bear but he whipped out his can of bear spray from the holster just in case. That sounded like a good idea to me and I did the same only I took off the safety as well! We crept along the trail, ever alert in the event we encountered a possible bear. As we got closer we realized it was a tree trunk that had fallen on its side and that the grass in front of it, which was golden colored and swayed in the wind, had resembled griz fur. Where we thought we had seen a Grizzly!
We had a good laugh at ourselves and our over-active imiginations but we were quite relieved that it wasn't a bear after all! That was my motivation to haul my butt on out of there. Well, that and the cold can of tangerine soda waiting in the cooler!
When it was all said and done, we had hiked those 10 miles in 8 hours. A great dayhike! Bunsen Peak at the end of a great day!
We were both pretty tired at the end of the day and decided to go clean up and have dinner inside the Snow Lodge's Dining Room. We had gotten into a routine of watching the Ranger's various slide presentations and talks every night in the Old Faithful Visitor's Center. However on this night, there was no energy left in us and we were in bed by 9:30!