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Aug 19

Number 5: Clear Lake Yellowstone National Park

Clear Lake YellowstoneNumber 5 is a photograph of Clear Lake in Yellowstone National Park.  It is an enticing picture of Clear Lake and from the photograph you can see how it got its name.  The reason I like this photograph is because it has a great story that goes with it.

Karen and I (well more me than Karen) decided we should take the Clear Lake Trail to the South Rim Trail and back to our parked car.  It is roughly a five and half mile loop.  Pulling into the parking lot there was only one other car, and as we walked to the trail head the two people who owned that car had just finished the loop.  I asked them if they saw any wildlife, and they said just a couple of buffalo on the trail.  You could tell these were experienced back country hikers.  They both had two bottles of bear spray one across their chest and the other in a click draw position on their belt.  They also carried hiking bells which jingle when they walk letting any bears know that they are hiking in the vicinity so the bears are not startled by a human appearing out of nowhere.  Not to mention the mud slickers they had on along with their professional hiking boots.  Karen and I were impressed.  I’m sure they had the same impression of us with our backpack with water, our hiking book, and our loud voices. (bear spray will now be with us every time we go into to bear country).

We started on the trail and things were going well except for the massive amount of mosquitoes buzzing over our heads.  Good thing we put on the deet that day.  We walked through the marshy trail, side stepping two buffaloes who were grazing nearby, and kept going.  The first two and half miles were pretty easy.  We entered into a wooded area, rounded a corner and there was Clear Lake, and it was very clear and just beautiful.  We stopped, drank some of our water, and Karen ate her granola bar.  As we got up to leave and continue the hike I heard a distinct growling sound coming from around the bend.  I stopped Karen and asked if she heard it.  She thought I was trying to scare her, and in those few moments that we were silently paused I did not hear it again.  So, we took a few more steps and that is when Karen stopped me and asked if I heard something.

We cautiously inched backward, looked around and started asking each other what do we do now!?!  Neither one of us wanted to go back through the marshy mosquito infested area, but we were not sure if we wanted to move forward either…  We stopped and waited a moment, listening for the sound.  It was not getting any louder which we figured was a good thing.  We decided to take a few more steps in the direction of the sound, and Karen remembered that when you are hiking in bear country you should talk loudly (for the same purpose the hiking bells serve) so she had me read aloud from our hiking book.  I started to read the description of the trail we were on when we rounded the corner and saw what was making the sound.  It was a serious of steam vents which were intermittently growling out large puffs of smoky steam.  We had a really good long laugh about it, but we were extremely lucky.   We also learned a valuable lesson that day, always be prepared when going into bear country.

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1 comment

  1. freda phillips

    Oh my goodness, you really had my heart beating fast. I really thought you had walked upon a bear!!!! I had to go get Paul and read the blog to him. It was sooooo scary.
    Clear Lake is beautiful. How would you like to water ski on that lake. There never has been a lake that smooth in Oklahoma.

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