23 May 2008

National Parks

We were up at 0515 this morning and set off after a quick breakfast at a restaurant over the road. There was no way I was going to pay $6 for some porridge so I had a daddy sized ommelette which did the job.

The schedule for the day was climbing and lots of it. The first 30 miles contained 3000 feet of climbing but we made quite good time to our base camp (a grocery store 10 miles from the top). 90 minutes later we had climbed from cloudy hills to the top of a snow covered pass at 9658 feet.

The views from the top were stunning with snow as far as the eye could see and the banks at the side of the road were about 7 foot deep in powder. Having reached the top, our main satisfaction and relief was the lack of rain thus far. After yesterday's drenching we were both rekitted with dry gear fresh from the laundromat's tumble dryers, fullly expecting a soaking as per the weather forecasts.

The descent from Togwotee Pass was brilliant with a sign warning us of a 6% gradient for 19 miles! I rode my brakes all the way down, avoiding some sneaky potholes that wanted to dismount me and after a junk food top up at a garage we coasted all the way to Moran Junction.

Moran Junction marks your entry into the National Parks, the gloriously spacious and wild conservation areas of Wyoming. Tomorrow will be Yellowstone Park but today I started in Teton National Park with the Teton Mountains. The park was quiet due to the weather so we were able to coast through at a leisurely pace looking for wildlife all around us. Today I saw a couple of moose, some deer and from a long distance a bear cub and its mother. With snow all around, Teton is a brilliant place to ride through, regardless of the animals and so I can't wait for Yellowstone which is 2.2 million acres of forests, meadows and lakes with over 100 waterfalls and loads of bears who will be eager to be fed and petted.

I left Carl 16 miles back as he has booked a log cabin overlooking Jackson Lake and I need to take the next few days a bit faster than him since he has plenty of time to play with before he finishes in Missoula, Montana. I have had a good couple of days with Carl and it was nice to have some company through the bad weather and big climbs.

The forecast for Saturday and Sunday is more rain so I'm hoping that the weather gods do me a favour like today.

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