Starting Location: West Yellowstone
Ending Location: North Grand Teton National Park
Lowest Elevation: 6663
Highest Elevation: 8391
It sure was nice waking up in a big comfy bed, thanks grandparents! I took the morning pretty slow so I could enjoy my last moments in my big room. I also decided that I would make an effort to make today as enjoyable as possible and not rush myself for anything. I made myself some coffee and breakfast and began picking everything up. It was pretty amazing how much I had spread out all of my gear since I had so much space to myself. This made for some slower packing, but I got it done eventually and went to check out of the room.
Waiting in line to get into Yellowstone National Park was kind of comical. Everyone in their cars was looking at me funny since I was the only one on a bicycle. A few people took pictures of me - though this continued pretty much all day. It was a beautiful day and it made the ride through the park very enjoyable. I decided that I would take a lot of pictures today and get off my bike a lot to walk around and see parts of the park that were mostly along my route.
It didn't take long before the first Yellowstone driving chaos was witnessed. Just a few miles into the park there was a huge backup of cars stretching for probably 3 miles, maybe more. Since I was on a bike I was able to keep cruising by all the cars on the shoulder. I don't know the reason for the backup because I by the time I got to the front the cars were starting to speed up again.
Today was the first day that I used my bigger lens on my camera. I kept it in a convenient spot so that I could switch between lenses during the day if I wanted to get closer pictures of anything. I'm really glad I did that - I was able to get more up close pictures of the bison!
Once I got into Madison I started to head south following the Transamerica route. The first place that I stopped at was the Lower Geyser Basin/Fountain Paint Pot walk. I easily parked my bike out of the way of people as cars and rvs struggled to find a parking spot. There were tons of people walking this loop, just like the rest of the areas that I stopped throughout the day. The Fountain Paint Pot was really cool, it looked looked like mostly solid ground but it was boiling... There was also one geyser on the trail that sprayed enough to give those of us walking by it a little sulfer-smelling shower.
Next I headed down to the Midway Geyser Basin/Grand Prismatic Spring. This walk was a litle bit longer but still definitely worth it. After easily parking my bike again while the rest of the tourists struggled for parking, I crossed the bridge over the Firehole River where there was hot water from the geysers flowing over into the river. This loop was really cool and had a few big springs and geysers. The color at the Grand Prismatic Spring was incredible. The blue water with the orange outer rim is really something else. It was pretty tough to get a good picture of it with all of the steam coming off the top though.
I decided to skip the Biscuit Basin and Black Sand Basin because they looked pretty similar to the other two places that I had stopped at. I headed on to Old Faithful, I wanted to make sure I saw that while I was in the park. When I got to Old Faithful I went to the visitors center to get some postcards that I would fill out later, then headed towards the cafeteria for food. On my way, I overheard some people saying that Old Faithful was going to be erupting any minute. I talked with them for a minute to confirm, then headed back to sit with the crowd of people and wait for Old Faithful to erupt. I ended up waiting more than 30 minutes, and the steam made it hard to see the water shooting up from where I was standing, but I am still glad that I waited to witness it.
After Old Faithful I wouldn't be making any more big stops, only what was easily available from my route. I began my climb up Craigs Pass, making a stop at the Keplar Cascades on the way. Craigs Pass was the highest elevation so far on this trip, at 8391 feet. Although the highest so far, this pass wasn't too bad because it was nice and gradual. I didn't have too much of a hard time getting to the top.
After the pass I had a nice downhill to West Thumb where I went in search of water only to find that there was none there, so I took a quick walk around the West Thumb Geyser Basin and then continued to Grant Village where I was able to fill up my water bottles.
Leaving Grant Village I had to climb just a little more to get over the last continental divide crossing of the day. The descent from the divide gave me some great views of mountains in the distance, and then brought me down to Lewis Lake.
On my last stretch exiting the south part of the park, I road alongside the Lewis River. It was a very nice ride, except the bugs were starting to get pretty bad since it was starting to get later and cooler. I stopped for a few pictures along the way, including Moose Falls which was a very pretty site. I eventually made my way out of the park and continued to pedal toward Grand Teton National Park.
A couple miles down the road after exiting the park, I had to stop to put on a long sleeve so I could survive all of the mosquitos around me. I'm not really sure if stopping was the best idea though because I was swarmed by literally hundreds of mosquitos. I continued down the road in search of Lizard Creek Campground. Turns out the road to the campground was closed and all the signs were taken down. So I continued on and searched for a place along the road, making sure that I would be close enough to a water source since I was starting to get low again.
I ended up finding a perfect little spot that was hidden from the road and right by the water on Jackson Lake. There was a huge swarm of mosquitos near my camp, but they all stayed a few feet above me and didn't bother me while setting up camp. As the sun was setting (which was so beautiful) I went to the lake to wash myself of all the sweat and filth from the day. Lake water beats a sweat covered body any day. While washing off, a car stopped on the side of the road at the only spot that could see down to where I was. They were most likely just trying to snap a picture of the beautiful sunset, but nonetheless I still ran in a panic while butt naked and hid behind a few trees until they moved on. It was a very comical moment.