We made it past the forest fires (though it was only three quarters of a mile from the road as we rode by it), we didn’t encounter any bears (though there was one at the other side of the campground this morning), and we crossed the great continental divide (though I’ve never seen someone as angry as Kaisa on her way up*, and as happy as Kaisa on her way down).
And we never stop being amazed at how much difference one day on this journey can make in the scenery. From the dry high desert kind of nature we were suddenly in the mountains with big forests all around us. And lakes. Many, many lakes.
But as much as we love to see beautiful sights, the most impressive thing on our journey is still meeting so many wonderful people. And on the Jenny Lake campground we were in for a treat.
Our first impression upon entering the area was one of slight dismay. So many people, quite a few of them cranky and stressed out form sitting in their cars for days on end. The contrast was ever so much more striking when taking to account how accustomed to solitude we had become on our treks across Nebraska and Wyoming.
But the mood changed in a heartbeat once we found our way to the biker & hiker area. Leave it to the Americans to get things right! You see the campgrounds around Yellowstone and Grand Teton fill up very early in the morning. It’s first come, first served, and a cyclist can hardly compete with those using fossil fuels to make it there.
So in their ingenuity the parks have areas reserved for cyclists and hikers. And these hardly ever fill up. A splendid idea if there ever was one!
On the campsite we met Edward from the Netherlands, Trevor from California and Lizzie and Stuart from Great Britain. Here we were among our own! (The night before we shared a campsite with Gary and Rose, who rode the longest bike I’ve seen – a recumbent tandem with a trailer Bob attached to it! But it worked, in good part due to Gary’s engineer mindset I would say, and they had made their way over the pass just as we.)
It’s so easy to interact with people you share so much with even though you only met. Everyone around the table knew exactly what hardships had to be endured to reach the spot we met at.
And so the conversation took off, much like the forest fires we encountered earlier on – everyone wanted to know where the others started off at, where they were going and what had happened. And to be honest, we also shared a few anecdotes about stupid things people have asked us during the journey.
We also had time to take a swim in the lake. (Cold, but wonderfully refreshing) as well as cook a nice meal made up from lentils we had lugged with us ever since our stay in Delaware.
Now we’re staying the night at a cheap motel, tomorrow we’ll climb up another mountain. This time, it’ll be the Teton Pass.
Keep us in your mind and hearts, even though we won’t always be able to keep up with the updates!
*) Kaisa gave a vicious monologue during the ascent, much of which was lost for future generations due to the heavy headwind.
But I managed to hear that it began with a statement of how she couldn’t believe she had gotten her hopes up, and that being pessimist is the only reasonable course of action in a world like this.
Then came the wind, that muted out about three minutes or so of rabid rambling, only to end with the words ”…and those are the one thousand useless pieces of advice I’ve gotten from people who never rode a bike in their lives!!!”