24 May 2008


Today was a rotter! I stayed in a comfy hotel last night which was cool apart from their poxy restaurant with a moron for a waiter. The food quality was lower scale cafe quality but his stupidity was amazing - he brought me my appetizer and main course together and after 3 attempts to explain to him how the concept of an appetizer works got me nowhere, I told him to take it away and I would just have the main course. He didn't get a tip.

I was up before dawn at 5am in a vain attempt to set off before the rain woke up and it failed miserably. I was out of Teton and into Yellowstone Park by 6am and it was pouring with rain as I enjoyed the sights around me without the distraction of cars going by. I had a solid bit of climbing to do to get to yet another continental divide at around 7000 feet but it was worth it for the spectacular views. I know that "Spectacular Views" can be an overused phrase but the landscape really was stunning - at one stage I was just stood for 5-10 minutes in the pouring rain gazing down at the snow covered cliffs and the river a few hundred metres below me.

As I got higher the rain turned into sleet and then into hail which really hurt when going downhill and so I stopped after 25 miles to put on my long trousers as my legs were freezing up. There were two more steep climbs to two more continental divides and then a blessed 9 mile downhill stretch which took me to Old Faithful. Old Faithful is the world's most famous geyser capable of shooting boiling water up to 55m into the air ever 1-2 hours. I pulled in just as it was going off and so rushed over to get a couple of snaps before it stopped and, although they weren't perfect, I wasn't going to wait in the rain for another ten minutes let alone 2 hours.

Having killed off 40 miles by 11am I had to get through another 30 miles in now torrential rain in order to get to the next stopping point of 'West Yellowstone'. In this section I saw a bit more of the park's wildlife with a couple of moose and some pretty big stags which was good although whenever I stopped to take a photo I got soaked as did my bag that I opened to get the camera.

It was a real shame that the weather was rotten for the last few days (and the next few apparently) since I have put some good mileage in so far, in order to spend more time in places like Yellowstone and to take the parks at a leisurely pace. In this kind of rain and snow it really isn't possible as you can't enjoy the days and you can't camp out safely at night, and the hotels in the parks cost almost $200 a night! I just hope the weather clears up through the next few days so that I can have some easier days in the mountains without being drenched and then shivering for the rest of the day.

As you leave Yellowstone Park you come into Montana which was a happy moment for me as I didn't get much love from Wyoming. For the most part it was Kansas with hills and more wind, not to mention the rain, and I missed the climate and terrain of Colorado. Montana is supposed to have some pretty mountain passes which should be good, although mountain passes suggest some serious climbing again, but my legs don't really mind that anymore so long as it is dry! I'm not sure what is happening with my right hand that got sunburnt. The sunburn pain has gone but now it is permanently blue/purple so I hope that is just part of the recovery process...if it falls off I will be sure to get a picture.

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