Day 80, to Bridge Bay, Yellowstone National Park: Cracking ourselves up near some cracks in the earth - Chris Cross America - CycleBlaze

July 11, 2022

Day 80, to Bridge Bay, Yellowstone National Park: Cracking ourselves up near some cracks in the earth

Monday stats

Start: Colter Bay Campground, Grand Teton National Park

End: Bridge Bay Campground, Yellowstone National Park

The Daily Progress: 61.8 miles

Cumulative climb: 3711 feet

Cumulative descent: 2595

Elevation at endpoint: 7908

Ice cream flavors: N/A

Food expenses: $22 on coffee and snacks in Flagg in the morning + $43 on dinner at Lake Lodge

Lodging expenses: $10.75. Get this. I thought months in advance that national parks in the middle of summer would be swamped, so I made my best guess about when I would arrive at Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks and made reservations (which were very hard to find because most sites were already booked solid, as I had feared). After I made the reservations, I saw on the TransAmerica map that these parks have "hiker/biker" sites, but the map also listed "first come, first serve" on some of the campgrounds. These are two very different terms. The park websites generally say that they no longer do "first come, first serve," but they don't say anything about "hiker/biker" sites and all they do day is that you must have a reservation to camp there. In person, the park employees explained that they don't explain the hiker/biker option online because they don't want people to drive into the park, throw on a backpack and walk up or bike up to the hiker/biker sites and claim to have arrived there by foot or by bike, effectively cheating the system and filling up the hiker/biker sites. So … if anyone reading this is planning to visit a national park and would arrive on foot or on bike, you do not need a reservation (at least not at the campgrounds we're staying at in Grand Teton and Yellowstone) and they will not turn you away. I wonder which other parks do this. If visiting any national park, I would recommend calling because you won't find this information anywhere online.

Dani's notes

Today we biked about 65 miles, but all but 9 of those miles were in national parks (and the 9 that weren't might as well have been), and that made the day way more fun and interesting than your typical 65-mile day*. Here are some of the highlights, in order of occurrence:

  • The driver of an REI adventure van giving El Compañero (my bike) a shout-out for being a Novara (REI brand bicycle) while we were both stopped at a roadside pullout.
  • Drinking coffee and eating cookies in the sunshine at Flagg Ranch.
  • Enjoying the gush of Moose Falls shortly beyond the entrance to Yellowstone. 8 was pleasantly surprised to have the falls to ourselves for several minutes; I expected every Yellowstone attraction to be swarming with people.
  • Seeing a man walk his cat on a leash in a Grant Village parking lot.
  • This conversation:

CG: I don't think a bear would be interested in bike tools.

DM: What if his bearcycle breaks? What if he is a bearcycle repair bear? Or are bearcycles un-bear-akable?

[DM dies of laughter]

DM (gasping through tears): Why am I so funny?

[CG dies of laughter]

  • Peeping some unfamiliar ducks (a mama and her very cute babies) in Yellowstone Lake and identifying them as common goldeneyes.
  • Appreciating the many different ways a boiling puddle can look satanic and menacing at West Thumb Geyser Basin.
  • Occasionally biking through plumes of cool air wafting off of Yellowstone Lake in the heat of the afternoon.
  • Getting the hiker/biker camping rate despite making an advanced reservation at Bridge Bay campground.
  • Seeing a bison on our way to dinner at Lake Lodge! Seeing a bison was my number one goal for my time in Yellowstone because I had never seen one in the wild. First of all, it was huge. Second, its face was not at all what I was expecting. Shaggy and wise, like a friendly, ancient mythical beast in a children's fantasy movie. I can see why people are tempted to approach them. I kinda had the impulse to hug him myself.

*I wonder to what extent this is actually true and to what extent this is just a matter of expectation-setting. If I convinced myself that I was biking through a national park every day, would I have this much fun on EVERY ride?

Today's ride: 62 miles (100 km)
Total: 2,963 miles (4,768 km)

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Keith AdamsThanks for the info on hiker/biker sites Chris. That was exactly what I was looking for, and now I know why there's no mention of it on the NPS website.
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