There is another down side to doing it east to west

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 11:23:54 06/27/13

In Reply to: Specimen Ridge Trail posted by Jim


We have pondered this possibility a number of times. I've had a recurring desire to do the trek in the reverse of the conventional itinerary. Whenever the subject surfaces when we are up on Specimen Ridge, we are struck by what could be a real negative. If you do the river ford first, you risk spending most of the day, from the summit of Amethyst to the exit trailhead, walking into killer wind.

It is not a guarantee that you will be facing a stiff breeze, but there has only been one time I have been up there without the accompaniment of brisk winds.

We learned the lesson the hard way on doing the Howard Eaton trail between Canyon and Fishing Bridge. The very first time we did it, we reached the long open stretch of Hayden Valley, between mid-valley and the Wapiti trailhead in the afternoon. By then, the solar convection was stirring up strong wind. Walking into it was tough on the eyes. Every bison wallow was a source of wind-driven rhyolite dust. Over the years, I have done that trail at least a half dozen times, and only once more have we done it south to north.

Anyone that has gone up to the petrified trees on Specimen Ridge, and continued up to the ridgeline, can testify to the strength of the afternoon winds up there!

I think this summer might be the tenth anniversary of the day greywolf and I did Specimen Ridge, west to east. We had ideal weather, and had a great experience. I still salivate when I recall the dinner served up by TimA., Jakeman, and Jakeman's family afterward, at the Yellowstone River Picnic Area. That was the perfect end to a perfect day!

Whichever direction you do it in, it should be a great time. Just don't try it if there is a significant possibility of thunderstorms.


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