After our awesome late lunch at Lamar Valley, we headed for Trout Lake which we travelled east on Northeast Entrance Road. Trout Lake is a short lolipop hiking trail with a fairly steep uphill climb. Once you have hiked up to the lake, the walk around the trail will take you completely around the lake blessing you with a picturesque view showcasing the mountains behind it.
The trail takes you up through a forest of Douglas Firs. This trail is open year round. Pets are not allowed on the trail. For safety reason, it is recommended by the park services that you carry bear spray with you at all times and stay on the trails.
On our ascent to reach the lake, we only encountered 10 people in the 2 hours we spent on this adventure. At several points, I had to stop and catch my breath, as I’m not used to the elevation. On one of those rest moments, I reach a flat area deep in the woods when out of nowhere, this little bird with a blue head ran across my shoe. I was so stunned, I couldn’t move for a couple of seconds. I looked in the direction that it took cover which was some bright green grass. I got one glimpse of it moving & then it disappeared. I turned to Frank as he was below me, and told him that I had a bird that looked like a parakeet run across my shoe. Of course, he thought the altitude had done me in! I was beside myself! Thinking about that bird the whole rest of the time we were up there. Spoiler alert!!! Near the end of this trip several days later, I found out that what I saw was not a parakeet (didn’t think so anyway), but a Lazuli Bunting. I had to go back into my bird log on ebird.org and add it to my list, making it a life bird for me! IT RAN ACROSS MY SHOE & DISAPPEARED IN THE THE TALL GREEN GRASS! Still can’t believe it!
Once we reached the top and exited the trail where the lake opened up, we were in awe at the vision before us. We decided to go to the right. With a light breeze coming off the lake, the smell of smoke wafted the air. It wasn’t a fire or someone cooking. It was the all too familiar smell of marijuana. Somebody was tokin’ on the hill. We moved on around the lake, meeting a nice couple from Canada. We enjoyed their company as we trekked down the path around the lake stopping to take a photo here and there. The only wildlife we saw besides the unidentifiable Lazuli Bunting were 3 Cinnamon Teals, some Common Mergansers and a Pied-Billed Grebe. No elk, no moose, no bears!
On the other side of the lake, we approached some guys fishing, suspecting they were the pot heads. We said our hellos & well wishes on catching their trout and came across a wooden bridge. Frank is standing on it in the photo below. Trout Lake empties out here flowing down the mountainside. With next to no noise, it was another zen moment for listening to the water leave the pool where it vacated.
The entire hike up the mountain side and around the lake is 1.2 miles. The hike around the lake is easy. The ascent is strenuous if you are not in shape or not used to changes in elevation. I thought I was in pretty good shape for a 54 year old Marine, but I was mistaken. I took more breaks than I wanted, but it was necessary. As I climbed, my trained mind was telling me “No Pain, No Gain”. My heart was screaming, “to hell with that”. Since this was our first real hike and it was Day 2 of our vacation (first day in Yellowstone), I can tell you after the tranquility of one’s self and living in the moment, I felt invigorated going down the trail towards the trailhead.
Trout Lake was worth the 150 feet of elevation that we had to climb to get to this peaceful clear lake. Hope you get to visit the beauty of Yellowstone National Park if you have never been there. If you missed any of our “Living in the Moment” posts, check them out here: Just After Take Off, Day 1, Day 2 Mammoth Hot Spring, Day 2 Traffic Jam, Day 2 Undine Falls and Lava Creek, Lamar Valley – Slough Creek.