The morning starts out drizzly yet uncomplicated. The 4.5 mile Ice Lake trail, just off the Canyon–Norris Road in Yellowstone, offers easy opportunities to admire a waterfall, enjoy lunch at a lake, and savor some post–hike ice cream.
|Ice Lake trailhead on the Canyon–Norris road|
|Falls cascade down the Little Gibbon River|
|Yours Truly deftly maneuvers any trail obstacle!|
|Ice Lake Trail|
|Lunch spot with a view|
But after lunch…a walk in the park becomes our own trail of terror!!!!!
First we see the pile of poop.
|Definitely bear scat|
It isn’t steaming but it looks suspiciously fresh.
Then we see the print.
|Definitely a bear print – human shoe for scale|
The light rain has blurred the edges of this critter's passage, but it too appears suspiciously fresh.
We look nervously around, fondling the pepper spray canisters dangling from our belts. We peer behind trees, down towards the lake and up into the hills.
|There it is!|
Walking bravely onward we see other prints, but soon they fade in the trail debris of pine needles, obsidian pebbles, and lava dust.
Soon we reach a junction and take the left fork back to the Canyon–Norris road. We hear muffled voices. Fly rods and fishing poles pass us in the mist on the way to trying their luck in the lake.
|Take a left here|
Back at the car we wonder how close we came to meeting that bear. Twenty minutes later we are pondering ice cream choices at Canyon Village.
Will that be one scoop or two?
|Dogwood wildflowers blooms near Ice Lake|