One suggestion on the logistics

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 10:06:40 04/14/14

In Reply to: Shuttle Services? posted by David K


First, congratulations on scoring so well on your permit application. You did the smart thing, applying well in advance.

Second, I am envious of your itinerary, without knowing its details. I have done this trip twice, once in 3 nights, and once in 4 nights. Having 6 nights will allow for so much more exploration and relaxing. If you have done this trip before, you know how much there is to see, e.g. Shoshone Geyser Basin, thermals up the forks of the Bechler River, and waterfalls all over the place!

Now, here is my suggestion for how to orchestrate your trip; and it is based on hard experience. Don't try to arrange a shuttle pickup at the end of your trip. Try to shuttle your vehicle to the exit trailhead in advance of your trek. I learned to use this strategy after a particularly crazy experience on a rather long, high elevation day hike, off-trail, in Rocky Mountain National Park. We planned to thumb a ride from the west side of the park back to the east side, where we left our vehicle. Unfortunately, this rather aggressive itinerary had us watching the sun set from a mountaintop one mountain short of our destination. We had to descend that one, and ascend the last one. We watched the lights coming on around Grand Lake from the top of the last mountain. We got to the exit trailhead well after dark on the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend, and there was hardly any traffic. We didn't get home until well after sunrise on Labor Day.

Over the years, I have used the strategy of doing the shuttle before commencing the trip for backpacking the Bechler, and all kinds of long day hikes in Yellowstone, including Upper Pebble Creek to Pebble Creek Campground, Upper Pebble Creek to Slough Creek, Specimen Ridge end to end, the Mary Mtn. trail from Hayden Valley to the west side (multiple times), Howard Eaton trail through Hayden Valley (both directions, multiple times), and a host of exotic one-way off-trail adventures.

There is so much that can happen on a long trek, and it is so comforting to know you have transportation waiting at the distant end, if you have to exit early or get delayed finishing. (In one case, back in 1989, we had horsepacked up to Three Rivers Junction, and were heading down Bechler Canyon in mid to late August. We encountered a profusion of berry bushes along a hillside in the lower canyon, and stopped to gorge ourselves on the delicious fruit. We were en route to the Dunanda Falls area to spend the last night of our trip, but had we been headed for the exit trailhead, we might not have had the luxury of extensive berry picking.

It just struck me that you may not have lodging reserved at Old Faithful the night before your trip starts. If your plan is to stay in a campground or West Yellowstone, then the logistics get a little more complicated. I know you can hoof it up to the Lone Star trailhead fairly easily from the Old Faithful complex, if you don't feel like "soliciting" a ride from someone driving that direction.

Feel free to come back with any comments (like "you can't be serious") or questions.


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