Up Snake River

Story by Ryan T. Bell/ Photographs by Will Brewster

Ten people, 17 stock animals and 1,400 pounds of supplies. Is it possible to travel through Yellowstone National Park – to one of the most remote locations in the United States – and leave no trace?

There was a good reason why I stood on the shoulder of Highway 191 with my saddle, a duffel bag and my Appaloosa mare, Gravelly, at 6:30 in the morning.  We were hitchhiking – sort of.  At the beginning of a leave-no-trace pack trip into Yellowstone, it seemed appropriate to car pool.  Matt Henningsen, outfitting manager for the Club at Spanish Peaks, a Montana resort, had agreed to pick me up on his way into the park.  His truck and trailer pulled up at 7 a.m. sharp.

“We’ve got a tight schedule to keep, if we want to be on the trail by noon,” he told me.

We stowed my gear in the truck bed, loaded Gravelly into the trailer, and were gone inside of five minutes.

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