Yellowstone Reports

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Searching for the Lost Arch

Hiking with Whitewater
by Dan Hartman

Aug. 17, 2016

     I hiked above Pebble last week with George and his two dozen students from WhiteWater.  Our main objective was to locate the now fledged great gray owl family.  To be honest, I've had poor luck finding any of my three fledged great gray owl families.  This is puzzling because in the past I've always followed them through mid August and often into September.

     Well today was more of the same.  No sign of the owls.  Is it the dry weather? Prey hard to find?  In my other two areas, hundreds of cattle were droped off at the nest sites.  But there's no cattle here.  We did find a lot of bear sign.

     About halfway into our hike it became obvious we were not going to find our objective.  Then I remembered something I had come across in this area some ten years ago.

     A natural bridge or arch.  Thing is, I haven't been able to find it again.  Well, today I've got 50 extra eyes along to help so we adopted a new objective.

     I thought I knew about where it shoud be, which could be a bad thing.  Pre-conceived notions often get in the way.  To be honest as we reached the high meadows that should give us the best angle, I was no longer sure which ridge held the hole in the cliff.

     Suddenly, a student in the group exclaimed, "I think I see it!"

     Funny, I remembered it being lower and on a vertical ridge.  Here it was on top and mostly horizontal.  Maybe it moved?  Well, we'd found it!  A hole large enough to drive a car through.

     It's actually one of three I know of in this northern part of the Yellowstone ecosystem.  Another is visible to the southwest of Upper soda Butte Bridge parking area.  And a third halfway to Cody on 296 on the Chief Joseph Highway.


View slide show

Pebble Creek Natural Bridge

Hiking With White Water

Tall Weed

Bear Sign



White Water Students

Upper Bridge Bridge

Sunlight Basin Arch

Hunter Peak Fire

Smoke From The Hunter Peak Fire