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I just had the most amazing Saturday of my life. Here's the story. It started off early Saturday morning as my hiking partner and I set off from Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone National Park. We drove an hour and a half to reach our trail head at the Yellowstone Picnic grounds (on the NE entrance road just over the bridge from Roosevelt Junction). After a tough up hill climb we reached the top of the canyon wall and continued along the trail towards Specimen Ridge. This is an amazing hike. You have a deep canyon, carved by the Yellowstone river on your right and broad mountain vistas and valleys on your left. As you look into the canyon you can spy birds soaring in the uplifting air ... but what is really cool is the fact you are looking down on the tops of them! What a different perspective. We also spotted an eagle's nest on top of one of the many rock spires lining the canyon walls. The nest contained two baby eagles patiently waiting for their next meal (Momma Eagle was apparently out looking for lunch). We also spotted a Marmot taking an afternoon snooze on a shaded rock ledge. Just off the trail we found what remained of a deer that was apparently caught by one of Yellowstone's many predators. There wasn't much left other than a scattering of bones. The bones themselves had been picked nearly clean .... with just the faintest traces of the muscles that were once there. All in all it was one of the best hikes since I arrived in Yellowstone. We returned to my truck and changed into our swim gear. Our next stop was the Gardner and Boiling rivers just north of Mammoth. Now where on earth can you find a boiling hot river intersecting a freezing mountain stream so as to create a natural hot tub that people like us can soak in after a long day of hiking? Wonderland big deal. After a good soak we realized that we were starving ... on to Gardiner for some grub. Now this is the place in my story where I give the reader a really, really special gift. This little jewel is referred to as Helen's Corral Drive-In. You see Helen's serves up the world's BEST buffalo burgers. They come in only one size ... half pounders. Add some cheese and bacon and all the other fixings .... and WOW, what a sandwich! When they called up our order my partner took one look at my burger and exclaimed "Is that one or TWO burgers?" (it was one). Then came the moment that I took my first bite ... OMG. I looked at my partner and asked ... "did I die on the trail and am I in heaven?"

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Comment by Ed Sanders on January 11, 2010 at 4:23pm
Aggie, I am really hoping to get my first summer job at either Yellowstone or Grand Tetons - any suggestions for me? love your stories
Comment by Jason Kemple on September 19, 2009 at 9:48am
thank you both :-)
Comment by aggie71 on September 19, 2009 at 5:41am
Jason, as you enter the park from Gardiner, and after you pass the cliffs with the goats, you will cross a bridge over the Gardner river. There are parking areas on either want the parking area that is down a short road on the left (as headed to Mammoth). You should see other people with bathing suits and towels to tell you that you are in the right spot. Walk upstream along the trail for about 1/2 mile to discover the boiling river and the natural hot tub areas. Hope this is clear....let me know how it goes for ya.
Comment by Jason Kemple on September 18, 2009 at 9:27pm
hey aggie, where exactly do you go to go swimming? my dad is flying into bozeman in 2 weeks and we are going to yellowstone, and i'd love to take him to the "natural hot tub!".... any info would be great!
Comment by Bill Cooper on September 2, 2009 at 4:11pm
aggie you go gig/em aggies ready for the resort lodge job in alaska next year Bill
Comment by aggie71 on August 30, 2009 at 9:26am
A little slice of heaven ...

Comment by Bill Berg on August 30, 2009 at 8:12am
Love your story. Tower is near and dear to my heart and Gardiner is my home where Helen, tho retired, calls us all honey. Those milkshakes are tough to beat too. Helen's was written up in Outside Magazine a few years ago and it was pretty fun to clip that story and show it to her.

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