The last weekend before school started was coming. Taylor & Mary wanted to get away (not work on the house!) & have fun. So i thought i should too. I planned a ride up to the Tetons, Yellowstone, & into Montana. I usually try to avoid weekends, but this just worked out that way.
Friday morning, i was loaded up & ready for an adventure.
It was pretty chilly when i left, & got colder as i climbed up Ogden canyon & higher toward Bear Lake & the Idaho border.
This is pineview reservoir, at the top of Ogden canyon.
Still pretty cold.. i have both the mesh jacket & the rain coat on, with other layers.
Once the sun came up, I had hit the dirt & was making my way toward idaho.
A beautiful ride through northern Utah.. the dirt roads winded around & went through some nice areas.
This dirt road went all the way up to Bear Lake at the Idaho border. It had everything.
Then i came upon these guys.. they couldn't (or wouldn't) move to the side to let me pass, so they just galloped down the road at blazing cow speed. I followed them for about 10 minutes before the road widened enough for me to go by.
Once at Bear Lake, i was back on pavement. I stopped at one of the few spots i could find where a 'road' went to the lake. It was a private road, but it was still pretty early, no one was out, so i crossed some marshy, wet grassland, a few mud puddles, & drove onto the deep sand beach.
I got pretty wet crossing here.. i wanted to keep my speed up so i didn't sink in the sandy soil. It was about to the axles.
It was pretty flat for a while going through southeast idaho.. then i started climbing again.
I had heard about some of the old oregon trail that went through here. Some of it allegedly went up toward the snake river in wyoming. My trusty gps had no maps. I hadn't loaded anything above utah.. duh.. so i was going with the sun, moss on tree trunks, & an occasional road sign. I tried a few side roads, but most of them ended with the usual 'no motorized vehicles allowed' sign. This was one of them.
It was a friday, so not everyone had the day off. I stopped & chatted with this guy who was watching the sheep by himself.
I had bugs all over my goggles from going through the canyons & the long farm valleys, so i cleaned them at the creek. My new buddy wanted to go with me, but couldn't get off work, so i went on by myself.
I made it into wyoming, & turned on the road to Jackson, which followed the snake river. This is a big river.. with lots of rafters this time of year. It was hard to find a stretch of river where there was not a raft full of people in sight.
But it is a beautiful river.. I found a turnoff where i could get down to the river (hard to find!) & had a nice lunch of jerky, gatorade, & a clif bar.
Since neither Tiger nor i could play golf, the least i could do was drink his sports drink..
It wasn't long & i was in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It was about 5pm, so i stopped at a local chinese restaurant for dinner.. the special was pretty good. I filled up with gas, water, & another gatorade, & headed for the tetons. I was going to look for a spot in the briger-teton nat. forest where i could camp for the night... rooms were much too pricey in jackson.. they were like sedona.
It was nearing dusk, & some of the locals were out & about.
I found a dirt road, & followed it for a while. the fence just went along the prairie for miles. I thought of just pulling into the tall grass, but there were a lot of buffalo stomping around & i didn't want them or a bunch of clumsy moose stepping on me looking for the bathroom.
I finally ran into a sign indicating the briger-teton forest, saying it was ok to camp 2 days. There were a lot of roads & trails criss crossing just east of the tetons. There weren't a lot of trees, & i wanted to find a spot with good views of the mountains, a couple of trees for my hammock, & maybe a little harder access for bears.
I rode around for about an hour. The sun had dropped behind the mountains, & i needed to stop & camp. I finally saw a nice spot at the top of a hill. There were a couple of big trees to tie the hammock to, & a steep, whooped out road to climb. Ordinarily, i would not have attempted to climb a hill like this, even with other riders. But i was getting tired & cranky, & good spots were rare, so i twisted the throttle & started up.
I tried to go off to the side of the loose, whooped out area, which was about halfway up at the steepest part. I did, but my back tire didn't all the way, & i got tossed back into the road. I hit the side of a rut which threw me to the other side of the road where i finished my climb.. a little stunned that i was still upright. It was a good spot, just too late, so i hurried to set up camp. I decided to not build a fire.. a lot of work, smoke gets in your eyes, nothing for me to cook, anyway. I did get everything together for an emergency fire in case it got real cold. I was about 7500' in Wyoming, after all.
I got my hammock up & what food & drink i put up in a bear cache (min 10' high, 4' from tree).
There were a few mosquitos buzzing around, so i put on my mosquito headnet.. that & my sleeping bag were my mosquito deterrent, along with some deet. The temps were dropping, so i got everything ready, made a few calls (the cell phone worked!), & sipped on some Makers Mark i had brought in a little flask. No roughing it for me!
Right after dusk, i heard something crashing down below. I looked over the edge to see a big moose making his way to the open. He stopped & watched for a bit, then moved on. It was too dark to get any good shots, & he was not going to pose, anyway. Once it was dark, it was dark. The stars were out in force, but the moon wasn't up all the way. I made my way to the hammock, climbed into my sleeping bag, & got balanced for some sleep.
Well, i didn't get eaten by bears, but neither did i sleep through the night. I got very cold in the hammock (which was one of the negatives of the hammock. The down in the sleeping bag compresses on the underside & doesn't insulate very well). I was hoping it wouldn't get too cold, but when i got up the thermometer on my vapor read 38f! I put on all the clothes i had while shivering violently.. i had on the balaclava, the outer rain pants & jacket.. just about everything. I stopped shivering & put the hammock on the ground as a ground cover, then lay the sleeping bag on it, climbed in (i took off the boots) & went back to sleep. Right at dusk, i heard more crashing.. all the bear stories came to mind, but it was probably a moose, returning to the dense woods.
At dawn, i was greeted with some tremendous views of the tetons. It was cold, but i still didn't light my emergency fire.. i preferred to hit the road. I drank some of my gatorade & got ready.
I try to travel light.. less to lug around, keeps the bike lighter, less clutter. Here's my camping kit:
From left to right, Cell phone & charger, titanium dive knife, cord for bear cache, flashlight, flask, hammock in blue bag, down sleeping bag in black bag, mosquito head net on helmet. For an overnight in this same spot, i might take a thermarest pad next time, instead of the hammock. But the hammock is much smaller. The pad would have been a lot warmer to sleep on.
It was still very cold as i packed up. The sun was hitting the tops of the distant mountains, & was just starting to warm me up as I loaded everything up & prepared for an early adventure down the hill.
I had wired in a cigarette lighter adaptor so i could charge things when riding. I put my cell phone on charge & put it in the tank bag.
I put on the helmet cam for the ride down the hill.. in case there was an accident... people are always entertained by those. Unfortunately, there were no problems. I went around the whooped out spots & rolled down the hill. I got out of the nat forest, & back into teton nat. park.
Here's a video clip of the ride down.. I converted the avi to a smaller size so youtube would take it, but it worsened the already bad quality.. & the audio is bad, too. Other than that, it's a fine clip.
The engine was still cold, & it died about halfway down.. i pulled in the clutch & let it roll down the hill.. braking a little to slow the descent.
It was still pretty cold, even with all my gear on. I stopped & took more than usual pics so i could warm up!
Some of the locals were up & about having breakfast.
As i headed up toward Yellowstone, there was water everywhere. This river was smooth as glass, with some really nice morning reflections.
At the same spot, there were some other locals fishing. I watched a pair of eagles for a bit as they dove into the water catching fish. They went after a family of ducks, too. The ducks fared better than the fish.
I was still outside of yellowstone, but getting closer. I had bought a year pass for all the national parks. At the grand canyon, they just glance at it & wave you through. In yellowstone, they wanted my picture id, had me walk a straight line, & do some handsprings... well, not really, but they did check my id.
This was another gorgeous lake on the way up to ystone.
Just inside of yellowstone, there was a small waterfall.
I hadn't been to yellowstone since the early 80's. I did notice all the trees that were dead from the big fire of '88. There were lots of new trees growing, though. Some areas looked like christmas tree farms.
One of the fascinating parts of yellowstone is all the thermal activity. Everywhere there were boiling pots of mud, thermal pools, steam vents, & the smell of sulfur was almost everywhere.
Yellowstone lake is huge.. in the morning, it looked surreal.
There were more buffalo than anything. I saw some elk, a few antelope, but no moose out & about.
They wandered about, oblivious to people. This herd had some little ones.
I stopped at the old lodge for brunch.. it was ok. There was a lot of traffic. Visitors were everywhere. Bikers were out in force. A lot of them were loaded down with everything but the kitchen sink.
I wouldn't get to the main geyser area this day, but there were still lots of hot spots around.
The elevations were in the 7k range most of the time.. it was quite chilly in the morning & evening, but during the day the sun warmed up & made it a fine day for a ride. By afternoon, i had taken off my rain/windbreaker jacket, & had on just the mesh. I had also peeled off most of the layers underneath.
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