Originally I was planning to be backcountry hiking until Friday, so I wasn’t going to head to West Yellowstone until late Friday afternoon, but since my plans chanced, I went ahead and booked a car from National at 10:00 and figured I would get a head start on the day.*
On my way back from Trapper Lake, I passed two rangers who made made small talk with me, wished me a good hike and then came across a third ranger just behind the first two who stopped me and asked to see my backcountry permit. Less than a quarter mile from the trailhead, so I wasn’t expecting that, but I took off my pack and pulled out the permit which he looked at for a few minutes and then told me, “You really should keep that somewhere more accessible so you don’t have to take off your pack.” True, but I should also have been told that rangers would randomly stop me while I’m hiking and ask to see my permit instead of being told to put the permit on my tent and that rangers may stop by to see them.
Since I got out of my campsite by 8:00, the morning views on Leigh Lake were even better than the first time!
I did a quick stop at the race expo and then headed to my hotel for a shower. When I checked into the Super 8, I was the only car in the parking lot and the only other people around were from the KOA next door heating up their food! After a great nap, I grabbed my stuff and headed back into town for dinner before my volunteer shift at the Yellowstone 5k. When I was at the hotel, I asked where I should head for dinner and the woman at the front desk recommended the Wild West Pizzeria & Saloon downtown. Much to my surprise (and delight), it ended up being a Steelers bar!
I had volunteered for the Yellowstone 5k earlier in the week because they were still asking for volunteers and were offering 50% off a future race for anyone who helped them out. Since I didn’t have any plans for Friday night (other than sleeping in a real bed), it was an easy choice for me. My role was to help out at the t-shirt exchange at the end of the 5k. The cool part was that we were stationed right at the finish line and got to see everyone come across the line. It was also a perfect evening – sunset over the mountains and lots of cheering for all of the finishers!
After the 5k, I headed back to the hotel and re-arranged all my gear again since I would be living out of the car again for another 3 days after the race.
Up next the Yellowstone Half Marathon race report!