Tales of the Rainbow…




The day began rather early, or late depending on your perception.  We headed
out at 1:00 am to ensure we could hike to the destination for
sunrise.   Over the Beartooth and into Wyoming.  Shooting stars and planets
abounded in the pitch night sky.  There wasnt anyone at the Yellowstone gate
at 3am and the roads were empty.  Such a rare sight for Yellowstone in
August.  We wound along the mountain roads, wary of wildlife as we peered
down the misty pavement.  It had rained profusely in the days prior, giving
the pines a fresh clean smell and filling the valleys with a rich thick
fog.  We weaved in and out of the desolate canyons, up and down the passes,
past countless unseen wildlife until finally we neared our destination. Past
where the warm waters had blocked the Brown trout’s proliferation….past
the canyon….pulling into the picnic area marking the creek where the
Browns were introduced to the upper reaches of the river nearly 100 years
ago.  (Ive  learned so much through my exploration!).  Dawn was still some
time away.


Aspen and Mark

My husband Mark, 13 year old daughter Aspen and I grabbed our
flashlights and headed out alone onto the dark trail.  The stillness and
quiet was astounding.  Wolves howled at our backs and a combonation of steam
and fog swirled around us, so thick even the flashlights wouldnt pierce it.

The air was a chilly 39 degrees, but thankfully no wind.    At our feet,
some 50 yards in, a pile of very fresh bear scat in the center of the
trail.  This was certainly no place for the meek. We pushed onward, swinging
our lights around, happy to not see any pairs of glowing eyes staring back
at us.


Over the bridge we walked, attemping a view at ojo, although the
dense cloud of steam and fog wouldnt allow it.  We pointed our lights below
the bridge, peering into the dark water.  The long grasses swayed gracefully
in the clear clean waters.  I imagined the gigantic fish hiding amidst  the

We continued onward.  The sky had begun to lighten a bit, more and more so
as we continued on.  We quickened our pace so as to not miss our appointment
with dawn’s light.  We drank from the droplets of dew on the pine needles
and sucked in the sweet air…..so clean it felt as though it burned your
lungs.  We would stop periodically and just listen.  The wolves had ceased
their song and even the birds were still and silent (with the exception of
the quiet little log hoppers that bounced around in the deadfall amongst the
long grasses).  Our ears rang with the epic silence that surrounded us…no
hum of technology, no cars in the distance, no planes overhead…..just
utter silence.

To our left we sensed the lake, shrouded entirely in fog.
Geese trumpeted in the distance floating discreetly on their namesake.
Further down the trail the terrain dropped away from us to the left and the
river came into view again, draped in a warm haze.  A  herd of elk  stared
back at us before turning and splashing through the currents back into the
safety of the mist.


We trudged on, quicken our pace even further as the
sky continued to glow with the emminent arrival of the sun.  We turned down
the path into the pines,  flanking the steep mountain ridges and continued
along the tree lined path, tripping over the huge obsidian chunks protruding
from the trail.  We wound through the trees until finally we steadily
climbed to a small rise and a clearing that allowed us to see the immense
stone wall ahead of us, still cloaked in darkness in its recess.


The sound of falling water now permeated the silence.  We pushed forward, loping up
the trail with the promise of the sun looming behind us.  Finally we came
upon the majestic falls.  Beautiful.  The small wooden bridge has washed
away sometime in the past years but ample deadfall bridged the creek in
numerous places.


We filled ourselves with wild  raspberries as we  waited
anxiously in the wood for the eastern sky to break loose and cast its light
on the spectacular spray of the falls.  Forrest Fenns rainbow and our pot of
gold at the end.  Our effort was indeed worth the cold.






Lea and Mark – Ahh the joys of always being the one behind the camera. Always the artist, never the muse.








Leza Vargas

22 thoughts on “Tales of the Rainbow…

  1. Very nice 🙂 the waterfall is beautiful. Don’t you just love the adventure 🙂

  2. i never considered yellow stone a option, its just to far away from . santa fe. i don t .see a man with health issues driving over a thousand miles. did you ever hear of a place called wenigar hole its a wilderness area . research area for bears. you need permission to get in, people have died. let me know if you pursue it . south west corner out of the park

    • Michael, I may be in Alb. On business next week. Would you like to meet at Starbucks for coffee and discuss solutions. Does Slurbs live in Abq too?

  3. I love your daughter’s name and reading about your adventure. Those smiles tell the whole story.

  4. It’s beautiful. I had wanted to go there since 1981 – but never made it. Glad you had a good time.

  5. Awesome adventure Lea, Aspen and Mark! Y’all are brave for sure going in there at 1 AM while others sleep, but it sounds like it was worth it to see the end. Nice job!

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