It wouldn’t be a proper outdoor holiday without getting to a summit of something so Day 2 in Yellowstone was all about Bunsen Peak.
Named by Dr Bunsen of “the burner” fame, Bunsen Peak (2610m) sits in the Northwest Quarter of Yellowstone just south of Mammoth Hot springs and is accessible from the road (parking limited, please don’t block up the road!). There is a horseshoe trail leading up the west face, over the summit and looping down east and south back to start (except in Winter… or Spring where its under snow 😉 so make sure you have a map and know how to navigate off safely if needed ).
As its off road Bear Spray of course is carried and your hike is punctuated by calling “Mr Beeeaaarr” every few minutes to give any in the locale plenty warning and encouraging them to move off – you do NOT want to surprise a bear or get between a mother and her cubs) .
As its May Bunsen was still pretty banked out with snow and certainly its upper slopes were thick , making going a but tricky (we stupidly left our micro-spikes behind) so caution is needed. A trail leads you up into the wooded flanks and upwards but soon disappeared under snow – so some basic navigation skills in use and the luck to spot a pair of hikers in front kept us on track .
A couple of fairly easy going hiking brought us to the summit, where a cabin and radio mast sit and the views back across West and North are incredible. Its here we met the two other hikers – Jillian and Brittany who soon became our new best buds as together we all made our way off the back of Bunsen , navigating a path through snow and forest back down to the valley.
Its great to meet like-minded folks who love the outdoors from different countries as we all have that common bond but have so many other interesting tales to share , and for the next few hours as we hiked out we chatted and had a lot of laughs. They were spending a few weeks touring and camping in parks and their trip sounded amazing – it was great to cross paths for a few hours and we followed their travels since via Facebook 🙂
My addiction to summits satiated for another day we headed off back to home , enjoying the drive , drinking in a much of the park as we could, trying to commit the sights and sounds and feelings to the hard coding of memory knowing we’d miss it incredibly knowing tomorrow would be our last day.. and already feeling that tinge of sadness … but then we have so much still to come !