Week #9 – Tetons, Geysers and Tent Guests

Week #9 – Tetons, Geysers and Tent Guests

Day #57 – July 6, 2019

Miles – 48.3
Dubois, WY -> Bridger-Teton Natonal Forest, WY

Much of the day was spent climbing Togwotee Pass. At the top, we were rewarded with a lakeside mountain view. We hung out by the water for awhile taking it in.

After the descent down, we were feeling pretty drained and stopped at Hatchet Campground in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. We got a spot and Jason filled out our information for the self-pay system. He marked us down as having zero vehicles on our lot. Later, the campground host came around and pointed at our bikes and said “One, two.” He demanded we pay the extra vehicle fee of $6. We were stunned. By this logic, it would be cheaper for two people to drive a Hummer into the campground than ride bikes. There was not much room to argue, so we reluctantly payed. We sent emails to the national forest and the managing company questioning the policy.

Day #58 – July 7, 2019

Miles – 45.6
Bridger-Teton Natonal Forest, WY -> Jackson, WY

We started around 9AM but only made it about 100 yards down the road before I decided I wanted to stop for coffee at the gas station. The gas station didn’t have coffee, so we went to the restaurant next door. Suddenly, I had coffee and a stack of blueberry pancakes in front of me, and second breakfast was well underway. Second breakfast has happened a lot on this trip.

We rode west with the full teton range in front of us. With about 20 miles left to Jackson, we turned south and rode the entire length of the range. We saw bison and antelopes.

Jason and I waited for our WarmShowers hosts to become available in Jackson. We had lunch and a couple beers at Snake River Brewing Company.  Around 4:30PM, we rode out to Darcy and Chris’s house. They lived a few miles west of Jackson. We rode bike trails almost right up to their front door. They made bison tacos, and we had a great night hanging out with them.

Day #59 – July 8, 2019

Miles – 26.1
Jackson, WY -> Jenny Lake, WY

We got started around 8:30AM and enjoyed a nice ride through the Grand Teton Natonal Park. During the morning, Jason received a response about the extra vehicle fee we paid a few nights ago in the national forest campground. They will be mailing him a check for the $6 and informing the campground host it is against policy to charge the extra vehicle fee for a bicycle. I celebrated with a second breakfast at Teton Village.

We were on bike trails most of the day, but the one road we did ride on was a quiet wooded road with occasioanal views of the Teton range. The riding was easy and enjoyable.

We set up camp at the campground beside Jenny Lake just as a storm was blowing in. Sprinkles started to fall as I pulled the rain fly over my tent. We rushed to the camp store and waited the storm out with what must have been the entire population of Wyoming. Both the store itself and the awning surrounding it were packed shoulder to shoulder with folks wearing expensive rain gear.

View from our campsite.

After the storm passed, we hiked around the southern shore of Lake Jenny. We arrived at the foot of the Grand Teton mountain. Views were spectacular.

Day #60 – July 9, 2019

Miles – 50.9
Jenny Lake, WY -> Lewis Lake, WY

We had a leisurely morning packing up at Jenny Lake. It was hard to say goodbye to such a great view. We eventually began the day at 10AM. I find it difficult to dress for riding in the morning as we move further north. The nights and morning are cold, but I heat up after a few miles. I usually opt to wear just a light wind breaker over my t-shirt. It’s not warm enough on long descents, but I’m sweating and unzipping it on climbs.

The route took us along Jackson Lake, which gave us entirely new, incredible views of the Teton range. I’m not sure I’d ever tire of looking at those mountains. Unfortunately, I was eventually only looking at them through my rearview mirror. We kept heading north and crossed into Yellowstone National Park.

After a massive climb along the Lewis River Canyon, we stopped to camp at Lewis Lake. Cynthia, an eastward TransAm cyclist, was also camping in the Hiker/Biker section. We made a small bonfire and stood around it like true touring cyclists. Chairs are a luxury our legs cannot afford.

Jason and Cynthia.

Day #61 – July 10, 2019

Miles – 48.7
Lewis Lake, WY -> Madison, WY

We hit the road around 9AM. We stopped at Grant Village for coffee and to decide what sights to see as we passed through Yellowstone. We settled on Lone Star Geyser, Old Faithful, and the Midway Basin. We first had two substantial climbs over the continental divide. The toughest part of the climbing was the traffic. Yellowstone’s roads are narrow with tiny or no shoulders. The constant trailer and RV traffic driven by inexperienced vacationers was unnerving.

We arrived at Lone Star Geyser just as it was settling down from an eruption. Since we had ridden two miles up a bumpy drive to get there and it was a good time for lunch anyways, we decided to stick around for a couple hours to wait on the next eruption. Eventually, it went off. It was a little underwhelming, but after a two hour wait, most things are.

We stopped quickly to see Old Faithful next. The infrastructure around Old Faithful is best compared to an amusement park. There are multiple lanes of traffic entering the massive parking facility, and an entire village of tourist services surrounds the geyser. All this for a hole in the ground that sprays smelly, hot water a few dozen feet into the air. There were hundreds (perhaps thousands) of folks surrounding Old Faithful. We only had to wait a few minutes for the eruption. It was impressive, but most things are when you only wait a few minutes.

We made our final Yellowstone stop at the Midway Basin. Traffic was at a standstill at multiple points as we approached the basin. We filtered the line of cars on the shoulder. No sense in us waiting for everyone to find parking. The Midway Basin was neat. The colors were gorgeous and almost unnatural looking.

We camped at the Madison Campground on the west end of Yellowstone. Two Continental Divide cyclists, an eastward TransAm cyclist, and a hitchhiker were also camping in the Hiker/Biker section. A black bear showed up to inspect my tent early in the evening. He sniffed around for a bit and continued on his way.

Day # 62 – July 11, 2019

Miles – 86.1
Madison, WY -> Ennis, MT

In the morning, we crossed into Montana and stopped at West Yellowstone for groceries. We headed north from there and rode along Hebgen Lake. With mountains in the background, the scenery was spectacular and made for one of my favorite days of riding. We stopped at Earthquake Lake for lunch. I jumped in the water to cool off. It was very cold but felt great. 

In the afternoon, a storm started to approach from the north. We debated cutting the day short but never settled on a place to stop. Instead, we rode through the storm. The winds were rough and the rain stung, but it moved past us quickly. Our last 20 miles were in sunshine with a gentle breeze.

Jason riding out of the storm.

We camped behind a distillery in Ennis. Two deer hung out around our tents in the evening. They were more welcome guests than the bear. 

Day #63 – July 12, 2019

Miles – 72.6
Ennis, MT -> Dillon, MT

We started the day with a big pass. Temperatures are slowly starting to rise in the west, so I was dripping sweat on the long climb. I had to stop near the top to wipe the sweat from the inside of my glasses before the descent. 

The descent was straight and steep, so I picked up speed quickly. As I entered Virginia City, the speed limit changed to 25mph. A radar at the edge of town read my speed as 35 and flashed “SLOW DOWN.” That’s one of the few times I’ve broken the speed limit on a bike.

We stayed at a non-profit bike camp in Dillon. A group of volunteers built an awesome shelter on the edge of town. We finally got to shower after 5 days of camping. 

Week #9 Mileage: 378.3
Total Trip Mileage: 3,269.1

One Reply to “Week #9 – Tetons, Geysers and Tent Guests”

  1. WOW! What fantastic views of the Grand Teton Mountains – great first hand experience of the “postcard” views. Black bear scary stuff – hope you left him a treat for picture posing. Grand Teton Mountain, Old Faithful, Midway Basin, Storm clouds – you take great pictures, love them!
    You broke the speed limit in Virginia City, I’m telling your Dad!

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