Day of ups and down, literally! First I’ll cover last night after my most recent post. I went back to camp and started trying to hang my food over a tree branch. That went poorly, because I had no idea what I was doing. I instead walked around the camp to ask people if I could use their bear boxes but no one was really around. I went to the bathroom and started talking to a duo who were waiting too. Their names were Huzefa and Kayla. They were doing a cross country drive with stops to surf, climb and everything else. I complained about the bear box situation and they graciously offered to keep my bags in their car for the night. If you guys are reading this thanks so much! We hung out for a bit then I said I was tired and went to bed. I checked my phone and it was 6:15… I read a biography of Lewis and Clark I’d bought that morning (Undaunted Courage) and soon fell asleep, on and off for three hours. I woke up, went to the bathroom, read for a bit, then fell back asleep. I think I slept for like 12 or 13 hours cumulatively. My body may be telling me I need more good rest. I woke up the next morning feeling great. I retrieved my bags from Huzefa and Kayla and we complained about oatmeal breakfasts. I got packed up, wished them well on their journey, then headed out around 7. Today was lots of climbing. I would go up and over the tallest pass so far, and the second tallest of the entire ride! It was called Togwotee Pass, at an impressive 9658 feet. I was starting around 7000 feet or so so it wasn’t a huge delta, but the high elevation definitely made it challenging.
As I rolled out I immediately encountered a sign warning about bears near the roadway. This, coupled with a story I’d heard from another cyclist coming the other way about seeing a bear just below the summit made me quite paranoid the entire ride up. This story also didn’t help. I kept pedaling and got some nice early sunrise views
The weather was slightly chilly but the sun kept it pleasant. There was no wind and light traffic. There was a massive well maintained shoulder. Basically, for the second day in a row, perfect riding conditions. I took it easy at first because I’ve been having some knee pain and didn’t want to overdo things. The pain is brought on by heavy pedalling so I focused on being in an easy gear and making steady progress. The grade at first was steep but soon levelled out to a more manageable incline. I had pleasant river valley views for most of the climb
I came to my first false summit and took a break to have a snack. As I was finishing up I heard the sound of snapping branches in the woods to my right. I didn’t see anything, and also didn’t wait around to see if anything emerged. I got back to riding. I passed a pleasant looking lodge but their convenience store wasn’t yet open. Half a mile down the road was a beautiful scenic overlook of the Tetons where I’d just come from.
I also had views of where I needed to go: right through two imposing spires of rock I kept moving, alternating between climbs and flats for a while. The flat sections were my favorite, featuring long sightlines of picturesque valleys
The climbs went quickly, as I was warmed up and feeling good. Any knee pain was gone and I was feeling like I was close to the top.
I reached what seemed like the final section of climbing. I put on John Denver to take me home and sprinted to the top
It was a hell of an accomplishment, and I stopped and chatted with some tourists about my trip as well as theirs. I soon embarked on the descent. It was at least 10 miles of steep descending, and many more miles of gentle descending. The scenery was fantastic
What’s more there was a tailwind. I was absolutely flying for the next 30 miles, covering it in under 2 hours. I arrived in the town of Dubois and pulled into a Mexican food place to grab some lunch and plan. I ordered ‘the worlds largest chili relleno’, and while I don’t know if it’s that it has to be close.
I could either push on towards the next major town, Lander, which was about 70 miles away (downhill, with a tailwind, so not too crazy) or call it a day here in Dubois. I decided to stay in Dubois because the accomodations were nice, an Episcopal church with a free hiker/biker hostel. I got settled in and it’s fantastic. A fridge, cots, a microwave. Everything I need for a night. I’m going to go explore the town a bit, maybe do some minor bike repair to try and true my rear wheel. I may also stock up on food while I’m in town. TORTILLAS! I may update this later today. Night!
- Cliff bar
- Shot blox
- S’mores chocolate bar
- Huge chili relleno