Friday, September 23, 2011

XC Trip Day 8

Breakfast the next morning was at the Canyon cafeteria, which is not quite as nice as the Lake Lodge in Yellowstone, but it was OK, kind of 70's school architecture. After breakfast we asked at the information desk about where we might take a quick walk before hitting the road again. The Ranger asked if we'd seen the Canyon yet. Duhh, nope. So we took a quick ride over to the Canyon and walked a bit of the Canyon trail. At the top there's a great view of the upper falls of the Yellowstone River, and further down the trail you get views of the Canyon. I honestly didn't even know there was a Canyon in Yellowstone (despite all the obvious clues), so I was amazed to see the size of the Canyon. You gotta go see this place.

Then it was back on the bikes for the ride through the park, stopping when there was something to look at, like geysers or bubbling mud holes or other noxious things. Whenever traffic is stopped on the road you can count on seeing some type of wildlife. At one of these stops we saw a pair of Foxes hunting in a field by the road. It was pretty entertaining, and lots of people stopped to watch them pouncing on grasshoppers and butterflies. Further on we saw more Elk. We missed seeing Old Faithful by a few minutes, but we did catch some of it from the road.
Then as we were getting close to the exit we caught a glimpse a Black Bear through the trees, walking away from the road.

By the time we got to the southern entrance to the park it started to drizzle just a bit, so we put on our rain suits and headed south. The road from Yellowstone to Jackson is still one of my favorite rides. You follow the Snake river south and pass Jackson Lake with a great view of the Grand Teton Mountain range beyond. The weather stayed overcast and rainy for most of the ride to Jackson where we stopped for a late lunch break.

Once we got on the road again the skies were kind of clear directly in front of us, but threatening storm clouds were moving in from the west. Soon there were storm clouds right and left, but there always seemed to be a patch of clear sky where we were heading, so it became a race against the storms to get to the next town down the road. But we'd get to the next town and it wouldn't be raining yet, and the sky was just a little lighter ahead, so we'd keep on going. It was a fairly exhilarating ride, as the road constantly descends through these steep mountain passes, funneling you down lower and lower. We reached Montpelier Idaho just at dusk. Super day.

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