Fifty-Four: Ridin’ Pine (Jenny Lake to Grant Village)
I said goodbye to everyone Jackson bound, then retraced my steps back to the route. The detour to Jackson’s offered as a spur, not loop, so I had to backtrack a bit. This is the first time I’ve thrown the bike in reverse not for a mistake, beer or grocery run. Still, the Tetons are the place to backtrack if you’ve gotta.
I must have have started a little early, because by the time I made it ten miles to the Signal Mountain lodge and grocery, I stopped for a chocolate milk and took a nap on the bench while my electronics recharged. With all of us suitably electrified, I came through the rest of Grand Teton Park (stopping to drop a postcard at Jackson Lake Lodge — what a place!) and exited through the Rockefeller, Jr. Parkway.
Showing my Tetons entrance ticket granted me admission to Yellowstone, too ($12, both parks, 7 days). The south entrance road was an uphill climb, with no shoulder. In comparison to the Tetons, this was like eastern Kentucky. Luckily, most drivers were kind, even those piloting rental RVs. There’s lots of evidence of 1988’s wildfires. Scorched trees, open fields and young accession.
It looked like rain so I hustled to the Grant Village campground, where hiker/biker sites are $7.96, tax and bear spiel included and — more importantly — site guaranteed. Tent errected, I took my first Hollywood shower since Lander — $3.76, but you get all the time in the world. Nice facilities. The clouds spit a little, but didn’t let loose. I saw Fairplay Bob outside registration. We caught up and Kelly, his traveling companion, told me something attacked her tent (at my site) last night. She says bear, but Bob says a bear wouldn’t be stymied by a little nylon. The rangers agree — if anything a deer or other ungulate pawed at it a bit. Since Kelly — fearing for her life — moved down to Bob and Juan’s site, I had room for John E., a Wyomingite who’s done a tremendous amount of bicycle touring and been to the park more than 35 times. I picked his brain about the area and we talk bicycles in general. We may ride together tomorrow a bit. I’d love to have his experience and wisdom through the park.
We attended a ranger presentation at 9 p.m. called “Expect the Unexpected,” delivered by Ranger Nancy. She talked all about various animal adaptions in the park, including a frog whose whole body freezes solid — and emerges unharmed after the thaw. Wild. I had a great day.