Saturday, July 16, 2016

Welcome to Idaho

Day 39 - July 15th
52.7 miles
Total: 1582.4 miles
Moving Avg: 9.6 mph
Overall Avg: 6.1 mph

We finished the s'mores for breakfast. How wickedly awesome is that?!?

After breakfast, we rolled the one and a half miles up to the next convenience store, for coffee before our ride. (I promise this is a wilderness experience, we are just in a very popular wilderness area). Then we rolled north along the shore of Jackson Lake. The forest obstructed most of the view, but when it opened up, we saw the immense blue gem seeded beneath the Tetons, welcoming southbound travelers with a stunning entry into the park.

After taking in the Tetons for one last time, we peeled away from the lake and made the climb out of the park toward Flagg Ranch. On the descent, we entered wilderness that had burned in a 1988 wildfire. It was pretty interesting to see a full forest of pine trees which were about ten to fifteen feet tall, interrupted by dead snags that hadn't fallen since the fire 28 years ago. Black spikes sticking out twenty to thirty feet above the treeline gave the forest a snapshot of its history.

At Flagg Ranch, we enjoyed our lunch, and the excitement of returning to a gravel road. We had thirty plus miles before us on a gravel road towards Ashton, Idaho. We didn't have a campsite in mind, so it was still up in the air as to whether we would make it to Idaho today.

The road was winding and rolling on easy gravel for most of the afternoon. The trees crept close to the trail, closing us in the dark pine forest. Near the creeks, the grass grew tall and the shrubs were dense. Every dark shadow, or browned pine, was a bear until we took a second look. Apricots and I rolled through the forest happily ringing our bear bells periodically to help scare any would be attackers.

After climbing up and over Grassy Lake Reservoir, and past a Boy Scout summer camp, we started our long gradual descent out of Wyoming. The land turned arid as we made our way west, passing a few dry creek beds. We took lunch at South Boone Creek, just before the hard packed dirt road opened into a wide gravel road of such dusty wealth, we thought we were in the Great Basin again.

Just prior to entering into Idaho, we passed Indian Lake, a mountain lake of such great size and proximity to civilization, it would be a boaters destination heaven. Fortunately (or unfortunately) the lake is covered in lily pads as far as the eye can see. Seeing a lake with lily pads is commonplace to a hiker/biker, but I have never seen one so large like this.

The final descent into Idaho was such a bumpy gravel road, we opted to plug our ears with music and power through the struggle. In the end, we hit a smooth patch of paving, and I heard Apricots zip past me screaming R2D2-like squeals of delight.

Two miles later we pulled into a campground, where our tent is nestled in an amazing Aspen Grove.

Live life at a slower place.

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