Day 78 (24th 'zero' day, if you can call it that): Exploring more southern attractions at Grand Teton National Park - Chris Cross America - CycleBlaze

July 9, 2022

Day 78 (24th 'zero' day, if you can call it that): Exploring more southern attractions at Grand Teton National Park

This was the most amazing view on Scenic Drive. The sun is pouring from the right through the valley between the Tetons, illuminating the sides of a couple of the mountains and casting an amazing blue glow. The sky is a deep blue, with a few bright white clouds catching the sun at the top right.
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Saturday stats

It may have been a zero day in that we started and ended in the same spot, at Jenny Lake Campground, but we still biked 36.6 miles today (at least it was without all our gear). No ice cream today, just chocolate milk. $32 spent on breakfast at the place in Dornans, just south of the Moose Visitor Center, and $10 on lunch items from the store at Jenny Lake. 

Saturday stories

Breakfast at Dornans with Ellen, a cyclist we had just met, was tasty, if not completely filling.

We went to the visitor center at Moose Junction and made a plan.

Went to the Schma-something Landing and saw a moose up close and cautioned some people about getting too close, and the man in the family gave me the best stink eye I've ever gotten. I consider it a badge of honor. They were dangerously close, and I don't like telling other people when I think they're doing something they shouldn't, but I didn't want the guy's kids charged by a moose, and I didn't want the moose killed for charging people who have the nerve to come too close. Nonetheless, we really enjoyed seeing the moose.

A moose with relatively short antlers stands in a shallow creek, facing a pine tree to the right. Behind him are more pines and the snow-capped mountain ridges in the background.
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Then back to Jenny Lake for lunch, and we packed up and rode over to Spring Lake, where I took a nap in a hammock and Dani drew. Then we went for a quick swim.

Dani sits at the edge of String Lake, flanked by pine trees on either side, which frame my view of the lake in front of Dani and the mountain ridges and sky beyond it.
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We rode back along Scenic Drive. We laughed that the rest of the park wasn't scenic enough. Then we saw why they named it Scenic Drive. (See the photo at the top of this blog entry.)

We scarfed down dinner at our campsite, hurried over to the visitor center and discovered the evening ranger program was cancelled due to illness. We showered, except the shower didn't actually work for me when I put in my token, which had cost $5, so my shower ended up being a sponge bath. I was a bit disappointed, but I told myself this is part of life at a national park, and hey, I am much cleaner now.

It's a comfortable night for camping and I'm looking forward to a restful night.

Dani's notes

We woke at 5:30 and biked 30+ miles, but today was totally vacation.

The first luxury was the fact that we did not have to break camp and pack up in the morning. Instead, we loaded our bikes with just the items we needed for the day, and set off on a sunrise bike ride on the multi-use path running parallel to the Tetons. Our destination was Moose, where we ate breakfast with another touring cyclist we met in the parking lot of Dornan's. Her name was Ellen. She was 62 years old and retracing her favorite stretch of the cross-country ride she made in 1985. She gets props for being the first solo female cyclist I've met in this trip.

After breakfast, we went to the visitor center at Moose where we listened to a brief ranger talk and took advantage of the wifi. The visitor center had metal rays on the floor that identified each of the mountains visible in the picture window. I thought that was cool. 

At the ranger's suggestion, we biked to Schwabacher Landing. We were rewarded for our efforts by the sighting of a young bull moose. We observed the moose and fumed at the people getting way too close for their stupid pictures. The Park Service goes to every effort to tell people to stay 100 yards away from bears and wolves and 25 yards away from everything else. Following these rules seems like the least we can do to respect and appreciate the animals we all came here to see. People. Rawr. 

At lunch we talked to a man and his daughter. The conversation began strangely. While Chris was in the store buying food, the man approached me and asked, "I would like to get into biking but I have hemorrhoids, do they make something for that?" But despite that inauspicious start, the conversation actually grew into something quite nice. As the details of our trip came out, both the man and his daughter were visibly impressed. The little girl asked me many questions. "Don't you get tired?" "What do you eat?" My favorite question was this one: "How did you find the courage to do something like that?" I responded by asking if there was ever something kinda scary that she really wanted to do. She replied, '"like jump down five stairs all at once?!" I said, "Yeah, like that." Then I asked, "Did you do it?" She nodded proudly. "Well it's like that."

Our afternoon was more leisurely. We strung up our hammock on the banks of String Lake, one of the warmer pools of glacial meltwater at the foot of the mountains. Chris napped. I sat. It was lovely. The fantasy of a rest day in Grand Teton National Park made real. When our time at the lake was drawing to a close, we dared ourselves to fully submerge in the water. Ready? No. I'm going to beat you into the water. No you're not. SPLASH!

I'm really glad we went for the dunk because it produced the most pleasant and unusual sensation as we biked home through the warm remants of the afternoon. I was cool, and the air and sunshine were pleasantly warm. 

I lost Chris on the bike ride home but we each did what we thought the other person would do and reunited at the campsite. Sorry, Chris!

We were planning to go to the ranger talk at 7, but it was cancelled, so we savored the consolation prize of a more relaxed evening at our campsite instead. Tomorrow we move 25 miles north in the park to make Monday's ride to Yellowstone a little shorter. 

Other notes:

Chris saw a coyote at the campsite in the morning! Jealous.

We saw a fox in the parking lot at Dornan's. 

We learned that Prime Minister Abe was assassinated, which was a shock. 

I noted that people who cycle tour are either really cool or a little weird. The dude at our campsite with skis strapped to his mountain bike is probably the one kind, and I ... well, I am the other kind. 

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