Traversing around Heart Lake we start to see some people. A southbound section hiker headed for Togwotee Pass tells that a bear warning has been issued for the area. Apparently the bear layed in the trail blocking the passage of a solo northbounder, then bluff charged her when she tried to go around.
When we finally reach the shore of Heart Lake we see the resident geyser, and many birds on the lake including a Pelican. More people populate the trails, and a helicopter makes trips back and forth on some mysterious business. When we see a group of park employees we ask about it, and after positing that there’s been a drug bust in some remote part of the park, they guess that a patrol cabin is getting rehabbed.
We start passing bubbling hot springs and geysers, our first real clues that we’re wandering around in the caldera of a giant volcano.
At the trailhead Ann’s parents are waiting with hot food. I’ve finally stopped getting heartburn from every meal, and my appetite has kicked back in. I devour my Tasty Bite eggplant with rice and kidney beans, savoring the unchallenged intake of calories and barely noticing the short hailstorm that hits us while we eat.
We have plenty of time so we take the long route to our next campsite along the shore of Lewis Lake and Lewis Channel. The lake has a really serene, peaceful feel to it. We run into a small ranger with a big saw who checks our permit and tells it takes about 20 minutes to clear a 12 inch diameter deadfall from the trail by herself.
The campsite feels strange again, this time with a small pit toilet and bear pole near the shore of Shoshone Lake. We’re joined there by two guys from South Africa who are horrified by the hordes of mosquitoes. The lakeshore offers some respite while the wind is blowing, but soon we’re passed out in the tents once again, safe from the whining clouds.