Day 38 - July 14th
Total: 1529.7 miles
Moving Avg: 9.6 mph
Overall Avg: 5.6 mph
Last night, as we were falling asleep, there was suddenly a cowbell ringing through camp. It woke Apricots, and Ville had little idea as to what was making the racket. We told him it was a cowbell, likely attached to some cattle grazing in the area.
When we woke in the morning we saw that it was on the neck of a horse, and concluded that it was probably to serve as a warning to bear in the area. It is a little known fact that Bear and Horse have been having a turf war for years past, and they are likely to kill each other on sight. The cowbell protects them both.
It was a cold morning, and our tent was frosted when we woke, so we were slow to start, and had coffee two miles down the road. In fact, the day consisted of moving from convenience store to convenience store (or so it seemed). Since this portion of the trail passes near and through two National Parks, we have the largest stretch of paved area. With that comes modern conveniences, like hot coffee, and soda, and ice cream.
We made our climb up highway 26 over Togwotee pass, resting at the top for lunch. Despite the sign warning us of bears on the road, we did not see any. We were, however, given many amazing views of the Teton Wilderness, hinting at the rocky peaks to come. We sat at the summit lake enjoying lunch with a view of the seeming monolithic rocky tower of a mountain before us.
Then we had seventeen miles of downhill before us, sweet glorious highway paved with a wide shoulder. Ten miles down we stopped for a soda break. It is a peculiar fact that soda isn't nearly as refreshing on the downside of a pass, nonetheless it was a nice break. Still no big wildlife, but a man in a camper did say that we had just missed a moose and two calves.
At the bottom of the hill, we stopped in at another convenience store for ice cream. Ice cream always satisfies, but there was a lingering feeling that paved roads, while easier, definitely help break the budget. With a little under twenty miles to go, we pushed on to Teton National Park.
We had to pay a 15 dollar gate fee for each person, despite being cyclists, but I suppose the park has to get money to maintain the facilities it provides for the millions of visitors. Besides, if fifteen dollars is the only fee that I am required to pay for this trek, it is worth it.
As we edged into the park, traffic became busier, but slower. Everyone was out looking for the elusive moose, bear, and wolf. I suspect the sign warning us of bear and wolf crossings was placed as a tool to make us think the park is more wild than it actually is.
Fun fact: John D. Rockefeller Jr. purchased 35,310 acres of land around Jackson Hole, Wyoming under a fake name to keep prices low. He loved the area so much, he didn't want to see it developed, so he deeded the land to the US Government for inclusion in Grand Teton National Park. Some old timer locals are still angry at him for being secretive in his business dealings.
We settled on a campsite at the edge of Jackson Lake in Colter Bay Village. Fortune favors the bold, and we are bold, so we built a campfire and had s'mores. Ville, being from Finland, had never experienced s'mores. He was a happy Finn, and that man can put down some marshmallows.
Live life at a slower place.