Aside from the obvious physical ailments that plagued me for much of the hike, I’d have to rank this one somewhere in the middle of the hikes I’ve done. The time we were up on the Buffalo Plateau was among the most scenic and remote I’ve ever spent. Unfortunately, our time above the tree line was too short for my liking, though we probably could have finished the trip as originally planned, up high, coming out at Bonneville Pass, if we really wanted to.
The limited views, multiple outfitters camps, very average scenery and barely any sign of Grizzly’s or other wildlife made hiking the lower elevations a bit disappointing if not boring. Sorry John.
Did I learn anything new this time? Oh yeah. First, dance with the one who brought you. I must confess to getting a little greedy when I left my reliable Lowa boots at home in favor of the Merrell hiking shoes. Though I had no reason to believe the shoes wouldn’t work, after wearing them walking---with a pack---for months, I could have saved a lot of discomfort (and skin on my heels) if I’d stuck with the boots.
|The unforgettable Buffalo Plateau
Another lesson learned: Airwalk Croc knockoffs can handle just about anything the Absaroka’s can dish out short of technical rock climbing. I was originally planning on walking in them for a couple of days just to give my heels a break but did 40+ miles and finished the hike wearing them. Probably the best feeling I had during the entire hike were the first few pain-free steps after putting them on.
The other aspect of the trip that gave me warm and fuzzy’s was getting Bob to the mountains for the first time. I’m pretty sure he had a good time and will go back before he gets toooo old. I was pissed that I didn’t get to show him the Tetons, Yellowstone and the Beartooths, but we’ll get there sometime, maybe even next summer if things fall into place. That’s a big “if”.
Special thanks must go out to John (aka “Double Cabin”) of the Absaroka Ranch near Dubois. DC had been pimping the Absaroka’s on the backpacker.com message boards for years which piqued my curiosity. Photos and info from Kayla (aka “Lone Eagle Woman” and “Kmjhwy”) sealed the deal.
As usual, thanks go out to my lovely and very understanding wife, Yumi, for letting me leave the house for an extended period of time, and for dealing with Kintla (who she says she hates, yet is always sneaking doggie toys into the house for him when I’m not looking) while I was gone. And for taking me to the doctor and hospital.
Looking forward, I’m not sure what’s happening in 2011. I’ll have one heading off to college in August, a wife who hasn’t been on a relaxing vacation with me in years, and a right knee that is going to need some medical attention so the mountains may have to wait until 2012.
That’s all I got.