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A Night Hike with a Dash of Fright

A Night Hike with a Dash of Fright

A Story by Molly Sanborn

It all started with a bison jam. This was a pretty ordinary event in Yellowstone National Park, a.k.a. my summer home. I was on my way to hike the infamous Mount Washburn with a group of co-workers, but clearly the bison family marching their way down the middle of the road had no desire to let us by. We finally managed to escape the gnarly rush hour traffic, but our plan to trek six miles up the side of a mountain was severely jeopardized. We had lost some serious daylight. It didn’t help that only a mile or so from the trailhead, we saw two baby black bears on the side of the road. Bear sightings are the last thing you want when planning to complete a hike in the dark.

Shadows were dancing up the mountainside upon our arrival, a sure sign of the impending twilight. We started power walking up the steep trail, trying to outpace the descending sun. Our legs were burning from the effort. It seemed that the faster we’d walk, the faster the sun would creep toward the horizon. It didn’t help that every turn we made revealed yet another breathtaking view that screamed for a photo. We gave up when the sun finally hit the horizon. It was a hot pink spectacle that deserved an audience. The six of us just stood there, snapping pictures and marveling at the celestial beauty before our eyes.

The clutches of darkness had firmly taken their hold by the time we summited Mount Washburn. Although a frail strip of sallow light lingered on the horizon, we knew our return trip down the mountain would be like swimming through ink. Our hike began with trepidation; as the only people on the trail we were completely isolated. Our recent bear sighting only amplified our uneasiness to another level. Thinking shrewdly, we began to take precautions against any wild creatures that might be lurking nearby. What a sight we must have been: a group of six people practically sprinting down the mountainside and conversing loudly, playing Latin music from a cellphone and shining flashlights in every direction.

Our madness paid off though. After what seemed like an eternity, we safely reached the beautiful sight of our parked car at the trailhead and piled in, exhausted and exhilarated from our crazy adventure. In this moment, I truly experienced what it means to feel ALIVE. Pushing the boundaries of our comfort zones tends to have that impact. It’s the wild, fly by the seat of your pants experiences that create some of the greatest and most memorable moments of our lives.

© 2017 Molly Sanborn

My Review

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So very true and so vividly portrayed. I felt that I was there. Very well done.

Posted 1 Year Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Molly Sanborn

1 Year Ago

Thank you for the kind words. :)
The Iron Horseman

1 Year Ago

You're welcome.

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1 Review
Added on April 26, 2017
Last Updated on May 29, 2017
Tags: night, hike, fright, adventure, travel, yellowstone, national park, nonfiction, personal, nature


Molly Sanborn
Molly Sanborn


Traveler. Writer. Photographer. I have a deep affinity for words and use writing as a medium for divulging my crazy musings. more..