OK folks, I'm back home. I can once again fill your orders for Zia grills, Stix, etc.
The month I spent in Yellowstone was seriously cool--7 short backpack trips, with 14 bag nights in some of the greatest campsites in the Park, and 5-6 day hikes during my zero "rest" days in motels. Slough Creek, Rescue Creek, Cache Creek/Lamar, Hellroaring Creek, Lone Star Geyser, Shoshone Lake, Cascade and Grebe Lake, and the grunt up to Mammoth geyser basin--all were wonderful places to hike and check out. I was lucky with the timing of a couple of my trips, as Cascade and Grebe Lakes were under closure a few days after I'd been there, due to intense bear activity in the area (there was a carcass discovered, and griz will be quick to kill anyone coming near its food source).
I saw lots of wildlife, including 2 griz (one with three puppies), 3 black bears, my first pair of pine martens, a lone wolf, several coyotes, numerous deer, elk, and antelope, birds of all shapes and sizes, big fish jumping in the lakes, and enough bison to last me a lifetime. There were none that tried to mess with me, other than the horrific biting black flies. Well, there was that lone bison that parked in the meadow 20 feet from my tent that was drying in the sun. He delayed my packing up for over an hour. But then he suddenly got a wild hair and charged across the 2-foot deep Cache Creek and sprinted up a 45-degree slope out of sight. Man, can bison run!
After YNP, I drove up to Glacier, to visit family and see if I could scheme some bag nights at campsites in the Park that I haven't yet been to. The weather turned rainy, and I decided that I'd been on the road long enough. So I went back down to YNP to say good-bye to my head backcountry ranger pal, went out the NE exit, camped at Island Lake, then drove over the Beartooth Highway to Cody, then on back to Boulder. It was sweet to sleep in my own bed again.