The last couple of days deserve their own blog post. Through a lot of good and not so good decisions I ended up having the biggest bonking experience of my life!
It all started with a lovely overnight hiking trip with Joel in Yellowstone National Park. We hiked about 14 miles to a really awesome campsite on Shoshone Lake. We didn’t see much wildlife, but the forest was young (probably new growth since the wildfires of 1988) and really beautiful. It rained on and off for most of the day so it felt kind of like the temperate rain forests of the west coast – except a little bit colder. We camped on the beach, just 10 feet from the water’s edge. (Don’t tell the rangers! You aren’t supposed to camp that close to a water source!) We were woken up by the sunrise, broke down camp, and started backtracking out of the forest. A few hours later we were back at the trail head on the side of the road. We hitched a ride back to Grant Village and got dropped off at the general store.
When we arrived, there were two ladies on touring bikes sitting outside! Of course I had to go ask which direction they were headed. West!!! They were getting ready to take off towards west yellowstone and I told them that I would meet them there. I was so excited to have the chance to finally ride with other ladies that I didn’t really think about the potential consequences that could follow after hiking so many miles. Joel and I had a quick goodbye. It was kind of unfortunate because we had such a great time hiking, but I needed to get back on the bike at some point. So I packed up all of my gear, we had a bite to eat before I took off, and parted ways. I didn’t realize that west Yellowstone was over 50 miles away (I thought it was 40 for some reason which seamed manageable leaving at 3 in the afternoon). I also didn’t realize that I would have to cross the continental divide multiple times.
The wind was blowing, the hills were comparable to the Ozark mountains, traffic sucked because it’s Labor Day weekend, and I was becoming really really tired. I almost felt like falling asleep. My body was so fatigued but my brain kept trying to push it. I had to stop multiple times on the climbs to catch my breath because I was cycling at about 8,000 feet. As I was approaching old faithful a truck with bikes in the back pulls up beside me. The couple inside asks if I’m okay and if I need a ride. In the middle of mid climb and trying to breath I couldn’t really speak to them in words that really made sense. We both pull over at a pull off and I nearly collapse in the middle of the road! I almost declined the ride, but it was very apparent that even a car passing me on the road could see that I was in no condition to keep riding. They introduced themselves as Jeffery and Kathleen and I agreed to let them take me to Old Faithful. On the way we chatted and they offered to let me shower at their room at the lodge. That sounded nice! Then they offered to take me to dinner! At that point I couldn’t decline their nice gestures.
Jeffery checks into the hotel and Kathleen shows me where the shower rooms are. A little while later we meet downstairs in the lobby for dinner. As we were waiting, Old Faithful was scheduled to erupt so I climbed the stairs to watch from the lodge balcony. It was really cool! And I’m so glad that I was to at least see Old Faithful. I will definitely have to plan another trip to Yellowstone and have a car so I can see all the neat sights. After dinner, Kathleen and I get ice cream to go and Jeffery drives me about 14 miles down the road to the Madison campground. We got there just before the office closed and i was able to get a hiker biker campsite. I thanked Jeffery and Kathleen for their extreme generosity and they left to return to Old Faithful. Meanwhile, the rangers in the camp office help me get settled into my campsite. It was well after dark when I got there, so they gave me a small bundle of free firewood. I pitched my tent, exhausted, and turned in for the night – with no sight of the other west bound ladies.
What a day! It was quite a foolish decision to think that I could hike a total of 22 miles in a day and a half and expect to be able to ride 50 miles up and down hills through Yellowstone. I haven’t heard from the other two ladies riding west, we exchanged numbers, but I have no idea where they are and if they even made it to west Yellowstone.
Well I should get going, I still have 37 miles to go today! I just felt the need to write a special post about crazy, out of the ordinary day.