Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yellowstone and Grand Tetons (last of Montana and first of Wyoming)

So I am now through my first state and into Wyoming. Each passing day seems to be better and more rewarding than the day that came before (though not necessarily easier!). I have met some WONDERFUL people, seen some BEAUTIFUL landscapes, and a variety of wild animals in the last few days.

 some of the highlights of the last few days:
  1. Seen some beautiful landscapes and natural phenomena in the AMAZING YELLOWSTONE PARK, including OLD FAITHFUL, boiling river hotsprings (the most amazingly natural hotspring I have or will ever experience), a variety of waterfalls, vents and mud pots... which being the biology and geology geek that I am absolutely astounded me..... I had NO IDEA just how raw the beauty and concept of yellowstone was untill I experienced it! I recommend it as a destination to anyone with the possibility of experiencing this example of nature at it's finest.
  2. met some wonderful people including Julie and John who fed me a wonderful dinner of steak and potatoes in my mammoth springs campsite and Robert Patterson who toured me around yellowstone on my day of rest showing me the sites and allowing me to use one of his cameras for the day. ( A HUGE thank-you to both of these parties, your kindness is greatly appreciated, and I am sure karma will award you at some point)
  3. Experienced a bit of Yellowstone's wildlife; including bison, a bull snake (I almost stepped on), a black bear, and elk (in mass amounts while soaking in the hotspring and sitting in my campsite... the sound of their bugling a constant and beautiful "white noise of yellowstone")
  4. And my personal favorite- I did a bit of a "photo shoot" for a Japanese tour bus with the Tetons as a backdrop, it always amazes me why people why people would want a plethora of photos of a person they have never seen before and are unlikely to see again!! (though there must be some very nice pictures of me on my bike... if only they spoke a bit more english maybe I could get my hands on a few!!)


After awaking to the beautiful hunter that needed the gate I had so rudely dropped my tent in front of on the 20th and wishing I could join them ( not because I ama fan of hunting; because they were on horseback and as many of you know I AM a fan of horses... ANND good looking men!). Anyways the rest of the 20th proved to be a fairly easy day of long gradual declines. Unfortunately, however I was unable to see the beauty that surrounded me ( with mountains on either side) as there was too much smoke in the air from local grass and forest fires.

I DID however get to see my first wildlife of the trip, a few herds of pronghorns grazing in near by fields.

At the end of the day, when I reached the campsite in LIVINGSTON, MT. I was surprised to learn that I had travelled around 80 miles that day!! A personla best so far, regardless of the smoke. ( I was also surprised to learn that the campsite had wifi!... I continue to spend time and money in establishments in order to use an internet connection only to arrive at a campground and find they have one there! who goes on the internet while CAMPING???... well I suppose I do so I cannot complain! but really?)

The next day (21/09/2012), I got off to my latest start yet (11:30), after a terrible nights sleep as I was coughing all night ( I suppose the smoke did effect me afterall). I contemplated riding at all that day, and even made a sign- planning on hitch hiking my way into the park. However, after only a few minutes standing roadside I felt guilty and decided if I am going to feel sick anyway...why not just feel sick on my bike. So, on I pedalled in attempt to make the 50 slightly up hill miles into yellowstone. And I was sure glad I did!! Not only did I feel much better once on my bike; It was to become my best day yet!! ( which would quickly change the following day...and again the day after that!) I took  a local recommendation of getting off busy highway 89 on a small local road ( East River Road) running parallel, which took me through some beautiful county. I did not however make it all the way to the entrance town of GARDINER, ending up setting up camp in a little fishing pullout off the side of the road a few miles out.

On the 22nd I had a nice early start and made it to the Yellowstone enterance town of GARDINER by around 8 AM ( having seen some playful mountain goats and a bighorn sheep on the way!). Not long after entering Yellowstone I realized, pedalling through the park ( at least the north part) was going to be a challange! Not only were there more hills than you could count; the roads were winding, with no shoulder and the edges were quite deteriorated! So, yet again, I spent a large portion of the day pushing my bike along in the ditch to avoid the nonstop traffic on terrible roads!

At around 2PM I came to a place some local guys told me I NEEDED to check out. This place was BOILING RIVER; an amazing little hotspring where a river that WAS literally boiling mixed with a normal temperature mountain river and you could soak in the mixing area... It was an experience UNMATCHED by anything I have seen before! not only was it the most natural hotspring I have ever seen, there just happened to be a herd of about 30 elk who were also enjoying this natural phenomenon!

After soaking for about an hour, I continued on my way- walking my bike up the winding hills ( and almost stepping on a BULL SNAKE) to a near by campsite. I continued for a while until a very nice man by the name of Robert Patterson, was kind enough to give me a ride to the camp at the top of the hill, getting me out of the nonstop traffic and off the roads that were not very accomodating to a cyclist.

I spent the night in a hiker/biker campsite in mammoth hotsprings. Meaning I had entered Wyoming, spending exactly one week in the beautiful state of Montana. It was here that I met the wonderful John and Julie who provided me with an excellent meal and the offer of breakfast that I had to turn down do to another act of kindness. Robert had offered to take me around the park he knows quite well the next morning, giving me a rest to my legs and allowing me to see things \I would never have been able to fit in otherwise.

We spent the day touring around taking pictures of wildlife,waterfalls, and hydrothermal pools ( that were soo clear and blue I wanted to jump in... but to do so would most likely meen immediate death!), I also got to see OLD FAITHFUL...completing my YELLOWSTONE experience in style. ( Robert also lent me his camera for the day so there will be pictures to come, but right now my computer isn' cooperating so I will add them to all my blogs in a few days when I stop in RIVERTON, WY)

After resting my head for the night in Lewis Lake's hiker biker campsite. I continued my journey out of yellow stone and into the GRAND TETONS. Where I saw more beautiful scenery, met more wonderful people (including entertaining the Japanese tour bus at a roadside stop.) And met another cycler who was headed from Nunavut, Canada to Argentina..putting my trip to shame! We shared the road for a while until my knee started acting up and I had to call it a bit of an early day, staying at an RV campground (Grand Teton Park RV)  where I am now in a little cabin the owner gave me at a wonderful price!

Today, I will be getting to a late start again, having taking the morning to update this blog. I hopefully be breaking my 1000km mark today and undertaking the last of the big mountain passes I have to cross (that I am aware of). As much as I am sad to be leaving the mountains I look forward to their end where eachday I can travel further and come that much closer to my final goal.

Please keep spreading the word, and making sure I not only reach my goal of miles/kilometers travelled but also the funding that this trip is all about to bring the wonderful people of LITTLE CORN new learning opportunities. I will be adding pictures to all the blogs in the next few days to add to the story. Until then wish me luck and I will keep pedaling, even if I don't reach my daily goals...each turn of the pedal is one step closer to my final destination!


boiling river, yellow stone

No comments:

Post a Comment