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Published: August 6th 2015
I'm more of a mountain and rivers lover than geysers and friggin' paint pots
I bought my bike in Boise a week and a half before the beginning of my trip. I have to say; I have work in sales before, and it’s a dirty, manipulative form of art; it gets on my nerves. But bike guys, man, those guys only want your best and will call any other store for it. They are all just so nice and attentive; they want to know what your plan is, will probably get excited for you, will tell you their personal point of view based on personal experience and tell you what you should be looking for. The kind of salesman who doesn’t care about the sale, but about the customer and the use they’ll make of their buyings. If only the whole retail world was like this, about quality products and personal experiences; not only money and cheapest production. But that’s for another text.
Thursday, July 23rd
I left Rexburg Idaho probably around 17h15-17h30, hugging Stacey and shaking Rich’s hand. I am bad at goodbyes. Ask anyone, I’d rather leave a party without telling anyone than telling and having to say bye; I like people, goodbyes just make me uncomfortable.. But that’s for
Karl's back and Dave's leg at Lone Star Geyser
Wonderful guys. Dave caught me sneaking the pic, but I denied it.
I started biking, getting my whole body use to a right sized bike, a lot of weight and my pink backpack on my back. I had to stop a few times; the fact that the whole weight was in the back made the going hard; my steel toed boots were heavy in my backpack and my green big pack was way to large to sit in the back. But being back on the road made me happy. At some point I started seeing the Tetons, grand and unmistakable in the horizon. There was a light rain right before Tetonia, so I stopped at a bridge, 6miles before town (which I though bigger.) under a bridge and decided to camp there. There were a lot of tiny birds nesting on the sides of the bridge and they all got out at sunset. I slept badly, not building my tent, just laying on my mat with my blanket.
Friday, July 24th
Got up around 7h30, packed everything and switched my pink pack for my green on my back; it would be better without, but it’s easier having the larger one on my back instead of screwing with the dynamic of
New boot laces at firelake drive
Worth the detour, tge drives in Yellowstone show the hidden beauties of the road.
the process. Tetonia is basically a highway side with a name; musn’t be more than 200 peeps there. When through without a look behind and stopped in Driggs for breakfast, had the most interesting eggs Benedict in The Big Hole bakery and went pn my way after charging my phone and abusing the wi-fi for 2hours. There is a wonderful bike path following the highway between Driggs and Victor; showing off everything you want to see of the lovely Idaho plains and mountain range, without having any car swishing by you and messing your zen. Victor is a cute lively town, if you are luckier than me you’ll get there during one of the many outdoor event. If not, do try the breweries; the staff is really nice and the cooking satisfying. I decided to try for the pass, but as I was beginning my way up it started to lightly rain. A bit to much beer and a lazy mood made me establish a sketchy camp on the highway side, my worst ever. Camped at 17h and regretted it for a few hours; but it did rain and I eventually fell asleep.
Saturday, July 25th
Woke up in my
Right before the storm, grand canyon of Yellowstone
To avoid tourists I got out before the storm. I am now soaking wet but happy.
misery, spend 2hours convincing myself I have to get up, than spend an hour getting my stuff uphill and drying my tent in the sun. Started biking and noticed how many cyclist are just going up and down the famous pass just for fun or training. It looks so easy when they swish by. I was dying in the first 5miles, but then noticed a hike on the other side of the road, decided to go; it’s only 4miles and I do not have a time frame to respect, it’s MY trip. I can’t quit a trail once I’ve started going, had a bad experience still haunting my mind in Oregon and won’t do it again; I’d rather suffer and go through hell than wonder for the rest of my life what the end of the trail looked like. Veni, Vidi, Vici; the Wyoming first mountain range that I saw made me say ‘I’ll come back for a long hiking trip’. This state as something to show and knows you will love it. And it was my first day. Finally started pushing Viggo up the pass around 14h; the pass was huge, steep, sunny and busy. I first thought about hitchhiking; I saw a couple get picked up in less than 15min while I was drying my tent, but I am scared of it, stupidly preferred pushing and sweating. Around 17h I made it to the top, sat there for twenty minutes telling myself that I should get information on the geographical situation of my trail before getting in something like that. I tried riding down the pass, but I had too much weight and had no control on my brakes; it was not starting well. Stopped at the first turnout and asked a little family that was taking a picture if they had any space for us, fought a little with Viggo, but they did got me to Jackson hole. Got me to work on my ‘kid patience’ damn those things never stop talking. Then the whole thirsty-girl-is-not-looking-for-a-place-to-sleep thing with the bag rack happened, ended up camping on side of the highway again. Exhausted.
Sunday, July 26th
Woke up in my shitty situation, packed everything as best as I could and walked Viggo with the broken rack and all bags attached sitting on the frame. Left them at the bike shop In Jackson (those guys were either high or just plainly bored, they are the only bike guys I didn’t had a good vibe from. In fact, the whole town of Jackson is so touristic and expensive, I do not wish to go back through there ever again) and asked for a front rack to be add. Left Jackson fast enough. I feel like the area has a lot to offer, but there is way too many tourists and everything is just a catch in the end. Biked all the way to South Jenny Lake, there is a fun bike path going from Jackson to there, beautiful and well kept. I stopped at Dunan’s in Moose on my way, the food was okay, but the view was stunning. The Grand Tetons are from then on my obsession. I had a real problem trying to keep my eyes on the road with all of this magnificence going on around me. The camping in Jenny lake is well kept by a lovely couple. If you camp there as a Hiker-Biker (HB) do get the campground number 1 and set your door toward the mountains, you’ll thank me later.
Monday, July 27th
Took my time to wake up, it’s my first day off-bike; I want to rest my back and knees. The sky is grey and it is seriously windy. But I am decided to go for a hike; although I am just staring in the biking world and love it, my first true love is and will always be hiking. But, don’t ask me why, on this day I dressed so badly it almost turned bad; rainy-windy days in the Tetons are treacherous, aggressive. You won’t see the beauty, just less people. I made my way around Jenny Lake passing by the String Lake bridge and came back home (tent+bike) after buying a coffee. Slept badly because of the cold and the stupidity of having a blanket instead of a sleeping bag.
Tuesday, July 28th
My original plan when I woke up that morning was to hike to Solitude Lake, pack up and leave. I started hiking way to late; around noon. It is approximately 10miles from the camping to the lake, with a gain of 500ft in elevation, but oh so worth the while. You follow the Cascade Canyon for most of the way, surrounded by stunning mountains and the crowd starts thinning out after the first 3miles. It took me three hours to get there but I must have spent 2hours dazed by the scenery. There are other trails up there with names like Hurricane Pass or Alaskan Sunset Basin that were really appealing, I plan on coming back with whoever wants to go on a long hiking trip through the Wyoming backcountry. While going back down I was alone on the trail, took advantage of that by washing my hair in one of the streams; I did go for a swim in Solitude Lake but didn’t want to mess with the ecosystem with my salty shampoo. It was way too late to bike and leave when I came back so I pitched my tent once more and slept really good for the first time, since I had bought a sleeping bag the same morning at the camping store, best decision ever.
Wednesday, July 29th
I was then planning to go on a really short hike up to Bearpaw Lake, come back before 14h and leave. But I saw a sign going to Holly lake saying it was only 4.8 miles and never made it to the first lake. It was a hard hike, with a lot of sun and one of my feet was giving me trouble. You see, I was hiking in my steel toed boots since I had gotten rid of my running shoes after the Monday rainy walk; they were stinky and full of holes. Those boots are really comfortable and fit me perfectly, but my pinky toe’s nail was already acting weird and it didn’t help. Anyway, I did make it to the lake, went for a swim and watched as high school boys were daring each other to put a foot in the ‘freezing cold’ water. For my next trip there, I noticed the Paintbrush Divide Trail that goes from Solitude Lake to Holly Lake by passing over the Middle Teton, I want to try that. Once again when I got back down (which took me way too long because of my toe) it was too late to buy food or bike to Signal Mountain, the next camping. At least I had a sleeping bag. Nothing helps hurting shins like soaking in cold water. Swam in Jenny Lake watching the sunset and wondered why I would ever leave.
Thursday, July 30th
I left as soon as I woke up. I knew that if I was to go on a hike, I’d end up spending another day there and my plan was to make it to Yellowstone by Saturday. I must have left around noon and got to the Signal Mountain camping by 14h, my Iphone was dead so I don’t know what time it was. But, oh glorious surprise they had washing machines and a restaurant. My saddle bags were starting to smell like I was gathering roadkills; washing your sweaty clothes with sand and fresh water just does what it can, but a real good wash every week or so will make it easier for everyone.
If one goes through the Tetons, one must stop at the Deadman’s Bar, best food (do try the cream of mushroom, the fries and the Manhattan) with a large vegetarian, healthy and vegan option, best staff always smiling and attentive and best music. After staying too long in the say bar I abused the registration lodge Wi-Fi and left around 17h to get to Colter Bay Village around 18h45, set camp and went to sleep.
I didn’t stay at Signal Mountain as planned because the camping was too busy, but the view from the lake shore was worth it. I just didn’t feel ready for society yet.
Friday, July 31st
That was a lazy day. Walked to the beach and was alone for most of the way, when I started to see people I left the rocky shore to have lunch at the restaurant and charge my phone. The food was good, the staff was nice and the Wi-Fi fast. Tried the Howling Wolf Weissenbier which I think is a local, and do suggest it. Around 15h I got back to camp and got ready for a few hours at the beach, read in the sun and got supper at the camping’s Café. Poor choices, too expensive for the quality, but really good staff. I don’t know why but I was feeling really lonely that day, spending a lot of time on Facebook and talking with the friends I missed. It just caught me all of a sudden. Just a passing blues that was over the next day. My neighbours on both side were motorcycle riders and listened to good music until late at night. Had trouble getting asleep.
Saturday, August 1st
Got up, packed up and had lunch at the restaurant. Must have left around 14h, hoping to stop at the Lizard Creek camping, but pushed it to Flagg’s Ranch, 2miles from the South Yellowstone entrance. Weirdly they didn’t have any HB campsite, only lodges and were full. I met two motor bikers from Québec who were really nice, felt good to speak french a little, they offered me to pitch my tent beside their cabin, but the man behind the counter said I could not. I then decided to push it to Lewis Lake, 14miles up the road, in the Yellowstone National Park. It was around 17h45 when I left, I got to the camping around 20h. Excited to finally be in the famous park, but exhausted by the additional 14miles; when you don’t think about it, it’s easy to forget that a volcano, even after the top part collapsed, is still just a huge mountain covered with geysers and forest. Anyway, biking it reminds you of it pretty fast. The road shoulder in many area in the park is not thought for bikers.
When I got to the camping, the HB spot was small and occupied so this really nice guy saw that I was looking for a free site and suggest I pitch my tent on the site him and his relatives were using. Best campvibe ever, this family from Minnesota gave a new aspect to my whole trip. The four of them just accepted me and made me laugh a lot.
Sunday, August 2nd
The idea was that they would drop me on their way to whatever attraction the girls wanted to see and I then would not have to bike over Craig’s pass, but since we were getting along and the two youngest seemed to need the sleep me and the two brothers decided to go hiking without them. We spent the day hiking around Old Faithful and just chatting about anything. It was really sunny and the hikes were easy, but it was a really good day. Not having to bike, seeing some geothermal phenomenons, we had a lot of fun. That night we played Frisbee in the dark and chilled around a campfire. Weird feeling that I had to leave them the very next day, but it gave me a new kick about my trip to meet them. I know that I’ll have to get in the Minnesota area one day, everyone I meet from there is so nice.
Monday, August 3rd
We woke up around 5h30, Karl fitted everything in the car, even my stuff, that was impressive. We left at 6h30, driving in the sunset, before the other tourists invade the road. They left me in Old Faithful, Karl had volunteered in the BBP in Boise before, so he took a look at my Viggo, getting the seat up a little because of my steel toed extra inches which had been bothering me for the last few days and we said goodbye after that, they were heading to Indian Creek and I wanted to see what was around. Had breakfast at the lodge, the whole staff looked like they were having a really bad day already and the food was blank and expensive. That’s also the point were I realized there would not be any Wi-Fi in the park. Interesting.
I must have spent 2hours just chilling in front of the general store, trying to convinced myself it was not going to rain and that I did not drink too many beers the night before. Got set and started riding, my goal was to camp around Fairy Falls, but it was not a fun area, there was a lot of tourists and the ‘backcountry’ campsite they offered were really ugly. The Fairy Falls did look like a Zelda kinda of Fairy Fountain, which was nice. But there were too many people at the other pullouts for me to want to go see what was there. Anyway, all the geysers look the same, and you get it after the second basin that the colours are cool, the smell awful and the steam makes it look fun to swim in. I think the coolest part of Yellowstone is the one you read about, the whole giant volcano and heating underground, but I am not amazed by the external stuff. Even less with the constant crowd. I kicked my butt up to Madison Junction. Right before that there was a fun drive (that got me back 2.5miles uphill but was worth it) that made me see the Yellowstone part I like; mountains, rivers and immensity. In Madison camping I met two other couples of bikers and went on to spy on their gear. The first one was a couple from Holland who started their trip 23 months ago in Brazil and were amazingly nice. They told me about their experience, we laughed a lot and they explained to me how they were dealing with the food issue. The other ones were a Mother-Son group coming from Portland and heading north, they were really nice too and we joked a little, they told me of their diet and we talked about Warmshower.
The thing is; I don’t know how to deal with food during my trip. I stop at a lot of restaurant and spend a lot because I love food, but I never really cary anything else than Cliffbars or Lunabars and Trail mixs. I already have to much stuff, it doesn’t let me a lot of place for food, but I want to work on that. The two options seem to either cary dried pre-prepared meals in Ziploc bags, or plan a grocery stop every few days. The dried preparation I will try on my next trip; I’ll mail my work gear instead of carrying it and plan the food in advance. But I am motivating myself to try to cook for myself for the rest of this trip.
Tuesday, August 4th
Except for this exact day, since all I had food wise was an old bag of mixed nuts I had since I left my parents house and the next grocery shop was in Canyon Village, my day-goal and 26miles away. It rained in the morning so we kind of all slept in and got ready to leave around 11h I think, but once again my phone was dead. The staff at Madison Campground was really nice. I biked up to Norris in two hours and a half, stopping for a while at Gibbon’s Falls. I was so hungry when I entered the Park Ranger Museum I didn’t really looked around. The nice couple volunteering there helped me a lot, telling me of the road ahead and asking questions about my journey. Park Ranger seems like an interesting job, but the museum was cheesy and ‘patriotic’. I filled my water bottles and left around 15h15. I arrived at Canyon Village around 17h and my first stop was the Fountain and Grill deli, busy but the staff was nice and the pricing made sense with the quality of the food served. Except the 5$ shake which was a deception. It started raining lightly when I got to my campsite, where two girls cheered when I got in sight of the HB sites, but I was too spent to socialize. Paid the laundromat a visit and got to bed early.
Wednesday, August 5th
Laaaazy morning under the rain. Got myself out around 11h30 and surprisingly headed for the grocery store instead of the restaurant. Hope it’s going to be worth it! They don’t have the most perfect selection, but I’ll try to be responsible and not too picky. The Grano in me is crying a little, but my credit card is not burning as it usually is. Thought I’ll go on a hike around the canyon, but I need to charge my frigging phone first (to write this) so I got to the cafeteria for a coffee and am still here after 2hours and a half. Got to say the music is really good (beatles, simon and garfunkel, elthon john, led zep, and all those other songs from the 70’s I like) and no one is bothering me. Feels good to have sone time to write without having to save my batteries. I’ll go on my hike later and enjoy the sunset, with the thunder storm they’ve been warning me about for the last week.
Ain't no sunshine-
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