Monday, June 18th
We awoke to a mostly sunny day, but it was still cold. Yet in the early morning, standing in the sun felt warmer than standing by our campfire the night before. It warmed up somewhat as the morning progressed, but we still dreaded re-climbing all those hills along the road following the shores of Yellowstone Lake. Our breakfast consisted of cans of Chunky Soup. The nearest store was 5 miles to the north, but we would have to back-track, making it 10 miles. We opted instead for the store 18 miles away at Grant Village, which was far away, but on the route we need to travel.
Our Camp at Bridge Bay
We broke camp, and started cycling at 10:25 AM.
The dreaded first (and worst) hill seemed not so bad in the morning, since we were refreshed, and not worn down by a long day of cycling. Soon we came to more level areas, looking over Yellowstone Lake.
Looking Southeast Over Yellowstone Lake
Though partly cloudy, it was a lot more cheerful day, and the scenery was very beautiful. Malcolm was still cold, because although his jacket looked substantial, it was only a windbreaker. On hearing that, I let him use my heavier coat (strapped to the back of my bicycle in the picture above), as I was doing fine with just a windbreaker. That helped him a lot, and made the trip more enjoyable for him.
Still, every time we could look out over the lake, there was a stiff, cold wind coming over it from the south, which made our southward travel more difficult.
Farther along Yellowstone Lake, as the morning sunshine slowly warms the temperature
Although staying at Bridge Bay was a long way out of our way, the scenery we saw on this morning was breathtaking (as were the hills - pun intended).
Looking East Over Yellowstone Lake
As we progressed toward West Thumb, Malcolm was beginning to feel the effects of not having that much food for breakfast. Nevertheless, our only option was to continue, since a store and restaurant awaited us at Grant Village.
Looking South over Yellowstone Lake - the Tetons in the Background
In the picture above, you can see snowy mountains in the distance. Those mountains are the Tetons, and we realized that we would be staying the next night at the base of those mountains.
Also notice the width of the road shoulders. All of the roads we had traveled so far in Yellowstone had similar shoulders. When we passed Grant Village, heading for the south entrance, the shoulders would narrow, but the road condition was good (no abrupt drop-off's or pot-holes), and the traffic was generally light.
When we finally made it to Grant Village, we took advantage of the restaurant, which we both very much enjoyed, eating heartily. In the store, we replenished our supplies of food for camping. This time we made sure we had trail mix & chocolate raisins to renew our energy, and I pointed out that the cans of Chile Con Carne had 300 more calories than the Chunky Soup Malcolm had been using heretofore. It seemed strange to be counting calories to ensure that we got enough, rather than to avoid getting too many.
With full stomachs, and in good spirits, we pedaled away from Grant Village, heading south. We had some apprehension, as we knew we had to cross the continental divide yet one more time. This hill, however, proved to be no big deal, as we had climbed much tougher hills even earlier that morning.
At the Continental Divide Between West Thumb and Lewis Lake - note the narrow road shoulders
From here on, it was mostly downhill, which helped in our fight against the headwind. Still, we appreciated the headwind, as it indicated we would be in for warmer weather in the coming days.
Soon, we made our way to Lewis Lake.
Our First View of Lewis Lake
This was another very beautiful section of the trip. I loved the sunlight glinting off the waves, shining through the pine trees.
Sunlight Reflecting Off the Waves on Lewis Lake
We passed Lewis Lake campground, and continued our southward trek.
Looking Out Over the Lewis River, and the Forest Recovering from the Forest Fires of the 1980's
Many times in the past, I had seen a glimpse of Lewis Falls, but only passed it by, traveling at high speed. This time, on bicycles, we had time to stop and take a picture of it.
Aere at Lewis Falls
The highway climbed high from here, traversing the volcanic highlands with the river far below. Then there was a very long, straight, exhilarating glide downhill to the south entrance. It's sections like this which make up for all the long slogs uphill, and make bicycling a joy.
A few miles farther down the highway brought us to Flagg Ranch. Since there was a store here, we stopped to replenish our supplies.
There was also a campground, and though we had traveled only 43 miles, we considered staying there, as it presented a chance to recover from the grueling trip of the day before. It was only 10 more miles to Lizard Creek campground in the Tetons, but I pointed out that Lizard Creek was on the shore of Jackson Lake, which would leave us exposed to the cold, strong south wind coming over the lake. At Flagg Ranch, it was warm, and we were sheltered by forests of lodgepole pine.
That argument carried the day, and we settled in for the night at Flagg Ranch campground. It was a bit more expensive, but it was possible to take a shower there.
Our Camp at Flagg Ranch, before the shelter top was in place - Note how the bicycles support the top of the shelter
We arrived at camp at 6:30 PM. On this day, we traveled a distance of 43.4 miles, with an average speed of 8.9 mph. We were pedaling for 4 hours and 51 minutes. It took us 8 hours and 5 minutes to do it.
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