One Dirty Magazine

Photo Gallery: Running Across the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

Three runners, seven days and 250 miles.

Seth Langbauer August 9th, 2017

  • Mile 70. On Monday, July 10, our journey began on the front lawn of our home in Bozeman, Montana. After a few quick miles on in-town trails and roads, we entered the Gallatin Range, the only range in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem lacking permanent wilderness designation. These rugged mountains provide homes for grizzly bear, wolf, elk, sheep and many more, including the elusive wolverine. We would not leave public lands until we reached the town of Red Lodge seven days later.
  • Mile 115. After running the entire crest of the Gallatin Range into Yellowstone National Park, we left the alpine and entered an entirely different landscape; a world comprised of sagebrush, grasses and pronghorn antelope. As we headed eastward across a high, semi-arid plateau, the trail became
    scattered and often nonexistent. With a landscape devoid of trees, we navigated the contours of the drainages the same way the bison did.
  • Mile 140. As long-distance runners, our sense of scale is different than that of most people. When you move within a landscape this vast for so long, your sense of time will change. When we were running across the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park, the glaciers that dominated this scene
    17,000 years ago didn’t seem so far away.
  • Mile 160. The intention of this project has always been to celebrate and fully immerse ourselves in the landscape we call home. I think we succeeded.
  • Mile 185. By the time we reached the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, just northeast of Yellowstone, we had covered nearly 200 miles and climbed over 36,000 feet, in five days on very little sleep. Needless to say, every snow patch we encountered was an oasis of relief.
  • Mile 190. It takes years to truly know a place. You must watch the snow come and go and follow game trails across high mountain passes. With each year spent exploring the Greater Yellowstone, we add to our understanding of the landscape. This trip helped deepen our relationship with the land and opened a world of endless possibilities.
  • 236 Miles. 42,000 feet of climbing. Seven days. Endless grit, determination and luck. The more impossible the goal, the more help it requires. This photo shows all three of us feeling immensely satisfied after the finish of our run across the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. What it doesn't show is all the help we received: a community of friends – old and new – provided support for us every step of the way. Thank you. We couldn’t have completed this without you.

On July 10, Zach Altman, David Laufenberg and Anthony Pavkovich set out from their house in Bozeman, Montana. Their goal: run 250 miles across the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in one week.

Measuring roughly 18 million acres, the Greater  Yellowstone Ecosystem is one of the largest in-tact ecosystems in the United States. Most of those 18 million acres are designated public lands (including Yellowstone National Park). Accompanied by photographer Seth Langbauer and a cadre of supporters, the trio of runners hoped to use their trip as a call for community engagement to celebrate and protect our nation’s public lands.

Over the past week, Trail Runner has been sharing photos from their journey. In case you missed it, here are a few select moments that capture the vast and diverse beauty of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem as well as the simple daily challenges of covering 250 miles on foot.

For more information, visit the Common Ground website.

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