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  • Simon Lynes

Hiking in Paradise Valley

Yesterday, we went to Paradise Valley, and now I really understand the name. Such a gorgeous, gorgeous place. We are so lucky to have spent time in these beautiful spaces over the years.

Yellowstone River

We started off the day with a drive along the Yellowstone River and quickly decided that we wanted to find a campsite along it to make some lunch. We pulled off at Mill Creek, a boat access area, and laid our blankets and got a fire going. We brought the dogs and they lay under a nearby tree. We decided to cook s'mores first then sausage on a stick served in a ripped open baguette spread with cheese. Then we basked in our fullness and Simon brought out his guitar to play a few tunes. We were all alone so we could play and sing as loud as we wanted. Simon sang some of his favorites, while I intermittently joined in from my spot on the blankets. We took a walk along the river bank, saw the old remnants of the ocean floor fossilized in rock, and waved at the two boats that passed us by.

Exploration into the Absarokas

Soon the dogs grew restless and we knew it was time to start moving again. We packed up our things and drove further into the mountains away from our campsite. Peaks grew in size all around us. The most mesmerizing of them all was completely covered in snow. Of course its name was Baldy. We really need to stop naming mountains Baldy. It's overplayed and overused. We drove further in, the road becoming dirt. We passed a few trailheads on the way up this road with 1-2 cars parked at each. No big hikes were happening today but hunter were definitely out. Further we drove and finally decided on a trailhead with no cars, no people. We unloaded the dogs and started up a skinny trail. It had snowed just days ago so intermittent streams lined our path the whole way. We saw burned and down trees and heard the rushing of the stream. It was still early season. We passed the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness sign and was quickly reminded that this was bear country. More bear country than anywhere I'd ever been, and I'd definitely been amongst them before.

Eventually, the ground, overrun with water, forced us back but I was reminded again that these wild places are so vast and we had only made the smallest of dents. The Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness is immense, and, if we wanted, we could hike from where we stook at the edge of Paradise Valley, Montana all the way to Cora, Wyoming. Bears and all.

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