Dubois, Wyoming: The past two days have been memorable and momentous, as we left the farmlands of Idaho and ventured into a spectacular land of mountains and valleys. Yesterday we entered the third state on this journey, Wyoming, where the men are men and the sheep are nervous. It’s been an incredible experience cycling through some of the most ruggedly beautiful terrain on the planet. We have crossed the Teton and the Wind River mountain ranges and cycled through the Teton National Park and the Targhee and Teton National Forests and Jackson Hole. We’ve cycled over 175 miles and climbed over 8,000 feet in two days. Yesterday we crossed the 1,000 mile threshold and today we passed the Continental Divide and the highest point of this trip, Togwotee Pass, at 9,658 feet.
In climbing Teton Pass yesterday, which was a 10%+ grade climb, I hammered the mountain well. After days of farmland cycling, it was good to tap into my mountain mojo going over the Pass. Today was different. The day started out well, and I relished every mile in Teton National Park. I had a close encounter with a deer. I even exclaimed to our ride leader it just doesn’t get any better.
Well, that was before the serious ascents began. After exiting the National Park, I was spent on the climb up to Togwotee Pass. To compound matters, the good weather karma that we’ve experienced over the past 16 days changed, and near the summit a massive road reconstruction resulted in a mandatory 8 mile transport by the road construction crew over the final top 1000 feet or so of the pass. We were herded onto a flatbed truck and shuttled over gravel road and through biting wind and cold. At one point there were snow flurries, which is extreme in July even by Wyoming weather standards. Once we resumed pedaling, we faced a very hard headwind for the final 20 miles into Dubois. The headwind was so forceful and so cold that I pedaled hard on the descent from Togwotee. It was an unforgiving strong wind; brakes weren’t necessary and gravity wasn’t working as I tried to descend the mountain. I suppose this mountain range is named Wind River for a reason. Nine draining hours from setting off from Jackson Hole this morning, I arrived in Dubois, famished, cold, and exhausted to the bone.
Enough whining. Despite the challenges, passage through the Tetons has been the highlight of my transcontinental journey so far. Here’s a slideshow of Jackson Hole and the Tetons:-
Days 15 and 16 summary:
Days 15 and 16 route: Idaho Falls to Jackson Hole, Wyoming (Day 15); to Dubois, Wyoming (Day 16)
Day 15 and 16 mileage: 95.21 miles; 78.68 miles
Cumulative mileage: 1145.92 miles per my odometer
Elevation: 5,500 (Day 15) and 2,800 (Day 16, after adjusting for the mandatory transport) feet of climbing
Cumulative Elevation: 43,069 feet of climbing