Trip Report: Yellowstone, Fall 2015

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swalker

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It has taken a very long time to get through the pictures we took during our September trip to Yellowstone. I have finally done so and am now ready to write a bit of a trip report.

My hope is that some of those reading this will be inspired to do something like this, whether it is Yellowstone or something else. I have been so inspired by others on this forum. I doubt that I would have embarked on our ambitious plan of travel during 2015 without the encouragement I received here.

The trip was wonderful. At that time, it was becoming apparent that my ability to tent camp was coming to an end. We booked 1 week at the Madison campground and 2 weeks at the Old Faithful Lodge.

We were joined by close friends on their honeymoon for the first few days of the trip. They helped set up camp for us, which was hugely appreciated.

We had so many adventures. On the first full day in Yellowstone, my wheelchair had a fatal breakdown. As I have reported in other threads, my friend was able to repair the wheelchair with phone-support from NuMotion. It really saved the trip!

We went on numerous hikes in the backcountry. The first was on the Mary Mountain trail. The trail is beautiful and the wheelchair was handling it fairly well. We then found the trail and surrounding meadows completely occupied by buffalo. This stopped us short of our objective, and we only managed to do about a mile into the backcountry.

We enjoyed the trail so much that we decided to try it again a few days later. We were able to get further into the wilderness, perhaps 2 miles or so. It was wonderful.

We also did a hike to the Fairy Falls overlook. It was a great hike, but we were again turned around by a large male buffalo just off the trail (at the 2.5 mile mark).

We went back to try that trail again a few days later and made it past where the buffalo was only to find a bridge the wheelchair could not cross (and a single board raised trail over a marshy area on the other side. So, I stopped there and took a few pictures while my wife continued on to the falls. What a lovely day.

We did other hikes and enjoyed them thoroughly.

We also did tours around all the major geyser basins, including the upper geyser basin, black sands geyser basin, biscuit basin, midway geyser basin, fountain paintpots, norris geyser basin, mud volcano, and mammoth hot springs. All were great!

We saw so much thermal activity on this trip. The hot springs, fumaroles, and geysers were wonderful. One of the great treats was seeing Great Fountain Geyser erupt at sunset. It is too beautiful to describe.

We also saw wonderful wildlife on the trip. The elk were in rut and there was a bull with a harem about 1/4 mile from the Madison Campground. We were able to take the wheelchair down to the Madison river there and get some nice pictures of the elk.

We also saw mountain goats, bighorn sheep, antelope, grizzly bear, black bear, deer, many buffalo, eagles, bluebirds, etc. It was amazing. I have seen all these before, but it is always a wonder to get to see them. I feel so blessed to have been able to do so.

I also met new friends on the trip. It is amazing the folks you get to know when you touring Yellowstone in a wheelchair. I have kept in communication with several and am hopeful that we will be able to see them on our next trip.

So, yes, I have decided to return to Yellowstone. We have reservations for both the spring and the fall. Who knows if I will be able to go, but I do have the reservations and will go if at all possible. This time we will be camping in a trailer, as my days of tent camping appear to have come to and end.

You can see the results of my serious photographic efforts at Zenfolio | Steven A. Walker | Yellowstone Fall 2015. That is a link to a non-commercial site. I don't sell pictures, but post them there for others to enjoy.

Here are a few pictures from the trip (most from my wife's iphone).
 

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affected

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Stunning scenery, so different to anything around where I live, it was lovely to see these shots.

And what great story telling of the adventures. I wish you many more adventures to share with us, it is a great inspiration!
 

ShiftKicker

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Wonderful report! We went to Yellowstone on a whim several years ago for 3 days and found it magical. I would love to go again. It felt like Shangri La- totally otherworldly. What a wonderful place.

I'll be honest- with all the wildlife around, I would never consider camping there in a tent. That's a pretty thin layer between me and large mammals...
 

swalker

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In the hiking and backpacking community there is a saying: "take only pictures, leave only footprints"

I prefer "take only pictures, leave only wheelchair tracks". This is on the trail to Fairy Falls in the Fountain Flats portion of Yellowstone's Lower Geyser Basin.
 

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vltsra

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Thanks so much for posting these, Steve. I've planned a trip to Yellowstone in September for my hubby and me...he has never been. V
 

Green Queen

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Steve, you never cease to amaze me!
Wonderful shots, I never tire of looking!

I have to know...how on earth do you stand up in the morning from ground level? It's akin to getting up after a fall, or have you developed special moves?
 

swalker

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Janelle,

I was able to get into and out of the tent on my own all of last year. However, the progression of the difficulty in doing so was a major factor in our decision to get a trailer. I can still do the 2 steps into the trailer.

Getting down to the ground so I could enter the tent was pretty easy...sometimes requiring no effort at all;).

Getting out of the tent was another matter. My trick was to exit the tent backwards in a prone position. I then I stuck my rear up in the air and incrementally worked my hands toward my legs and then up my legs as I stood. I am sure I entertained many onlookers!

I am thankful to have the mobility that I do.

Steve
 
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