I’ve been in Teton National Park/Jackson Hole area for the past week. It’s been really awesome! Joe, Jake, John, and I posted up at the hiker biker campground at Jenny lake. It’s inexpensive, there are toilet facilities, and the lake is only a two minute walk from the tent. And just a few days ago I met up with my dad and we’ve been staying in Jackson. Like always, a lot happens in one week, so I’ll do my best at giving a decent update.
We left Lander after a relaxing rest day. From lander we headed toward Dubois. (pronounced “do-boys”) I got a little bit of a head start because the ride was supposed to be entirely up hill. It turned out to be really pleasant and consisted of rolling hills; I didn’t notice any serious elevation gain. The scenery became really beautiful as we entered canyon lands. There was a lot of red sand stone and the mountains looked more like the red rocks in Moab. It was quite lovely and I spent way too much time taking photos on the side of the road. That afternoon we didn’t ride all the way into Dubois. Instead we camped in a nice RV type campground just south of town. Between the four of us we only had to pay $8! I’m usually really content with paying less than $10 for camping – if I were alone I would have had to pay at least $20 just for a tent site.
When we woke up in the morning we took advantage of the continental breakfast, even though it was reserved for the lodge guests. That day we planned on climbing to the top of Togwotee pass and then coasting down into Jenny Lake. We agreed to meet on top of the pass so that we could take photos and do stuff like that. It was only 25 miles or so to the top of the pass, but we had to climb about 3,000 feet, which 2,000 of those feet were in the last 8 miles. It was tough mostly because there was a really strong head wind that we had to battle in addition to the climb. I dont think it would have been that bad if there wasn’t such a crazy had wind… But there was and it was hard. Half way up I stopped at a convenience store and had a beer, ate candy, and took a couple beers for the road. When I got to the top of the pass I tried to enjoy my second beer, but it was way to fizzy to be pleasant. I think between the altitude and the beer getting shook up on the bike, I ruined my beverage.
By the time we all got to the top of the pass it was nearly 5:30 in the afternoon and we still had about 40 miles to Jenny Lake. We decided to camp at a USFS campground near the bottom of the pass. On the way down the pass we encountered construction. We had heard from other cyclists that there was about 10 miles of unpaved road on the other side of the pass, so we werent surprised. However, they also said that the pilot car would take the cyclists down the mountain. Well, at that point in the day, the pilot car drivers were getting off work and they were no where to be found. We eventually flagged a worker in a truck and asked him if he would take us down the mountain. The man was amused that we were stuck on this dirt road and quite frankly didn’t give a shit about our conundrum. He said it would be a liability if he drove us. (…Which is bull shit because one would think that more liability is involved if you allow a group of cyclists to ride down an unpaved road with a 6% grade with large machinery all over the place and if one of the cyclists crashed and hurt them selves or died then who is liable????) Sure, they were getting off the clock and I’m biased because they put me in an unfavorable position. Either way, it was a shity ride down the mountain.
The next day was pretty incredible, so the bad ride down the pass was quickly forgotten. We arrived in Teton National Park that afternoon and the Tetons were large and magnificent, but they were so hard to see due to the massive amount of smoke and haze that blanketed the valley. There are more wild fires burning in Montana and Idaho. They were still fascinating to look at, but it wasn’t until a few days later that I really got to get a clear view of those mountains. We made camp in the hiker/biker sites and I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and swimming in the lake. It was fridged, but so refreshing. One of the rangers said that it was about 65 degrees, cold enough to give you an initial shock, but warm enough to swim around in for a while.
So for the four days at Jenny lake I swam every afternoon. The second day we rode into Jackson to get groceries for the weekend. That evening Jake and John hiked a little ways into the mountains to spend the night so that they could get an early start and try to summit a peak. Meanwhile, Joe and I held down the campsite. Two neighbors showed up, John, a cyclist from Jackson and Joel, a hiker from Australia. We had a nice evening of drinking boxed wine and hanging out by the fire. The following day, Joel and I went on a day hike up paint brush canyon. It was a long 15 mile, but really laid back hike. We had a fabulous time hiking up to the divide, picking wild raspberries, playing in snow pack, and observing the cute woodland critters. When we got back to camp we washed up in the lake and hitch hiked a ride to Moose – a little village outside of the park to have a drink at the bar and to get some camp supplies. On our way back we saw a crowd gathering on the bridge that crossed the snake river. We figured that there must be a wildlife sighting! Indeed! There was a moose at moose! It was quite exciting and we enjoyed poking fun at the tourists who were getting close enough for moose charging distance. Ha! We had had a pretty long and eventful day so sleep was certainly welcome that evening. We had a great day hiking and since Joel and I are both passing through Yellowstone this weekend, we will probably try to meet up again to do another hike!
The next morning Joel had to take off to head towards Yellowstone and I got to have a true rest day. I didn’t even touch the bike and I didn’t walk any further than the lake/general store. Joe, Jake, and John had a pretty low key day, too. Although, they did make a trip to moose. I was content being really lazy. That evening we all hung out one last time. In the morning they would hop on their bikes again and ride through Yellowstone and continue on with the TransAm while I headed to Jackson to meet up with my dad.
We said our goodbyes and parted ways. I had a really fun time riding with the boys and hope that I can find another decent group of people to ride with later on down the road.
I’ll have to write about the second part of Teton/Jackson side trip with my dad soon. I’m tired and ready to head to bed. Maybe I’ll have time in the morning!
Good night moon and mountain critters!