Friday, 30 July 2010

Day 69 Canyon Village to Mammoth Hot Springs - Yellowstone National Park

Tuesday 27th July
Daily mileage 43miles Average Speed 10.6mph Ride Time 4hr05min
Total Mileage 2731

Today was a marathon of a day. We packed up and made it to the cafeteria for a buffet breakfast and of course we stuffed our pockets for lunch. On the road at 7.30am we started climbing almost immediately from Canyon Village up the Dunraven Pass. We had left early so there was less traffic and more chance of spotting wildlife. I have realised its amazing how quickly I can cycle when need be, such as the thought of grizzlies in the bush or a thunderstorm on the horizon!
We made it to the top of the pass at 8,859 ft without too much stress when Kris convinced me to hike the trail of Mt Washburn standing at a mere 10,243 ft. We set off along the gradual path up and up and up stopping for many photos of the wild flowers that were very colourful and spread right across each of the meadows. We were hoping to spot some goats but unfortunately they must not have liked Kris’s singing either as there were none to be seen.

However, we did see chipmunks, marmots and a vole but the most exciting was right at the summit where a coyote walked right past us with some kill in its mouth not at all bothered by us. The views from the summit where incredible, you could see for miles all around and it felt as though we were right in the clouds. We descended slowly with aching legs back to the bikes after 2 hours hiking and set off to Tower Falls which was 15 miles of downhill where I hit my fastest speed on the bike of 33mph which meant I was technically speeding as the limit was 25mph! It was actually quite tiring going down as you had to concentrate on not going too fast, avoiding pot holes and loose gravel on the road while looking out for traffic and wildlife. Good job we can multitask as the road was narrow and there was a sheer drop from the edge of the road that messed with your head each time you looked down.

Half way down there were lots of cars stopped and people staring out over the valley with binoculars. We stopped and asked what they were all looking at and were pleasantly surprised to find out it was a herd of elk and three grizzlies, a mum with two cubs! They were right on the other side of the valley, you could see them with the naked eye but they resembled ants, but through a guys telescope they were amazing! The safest way to see them I feel! At tower falls we had some lunch and debated whether to set up tent here or continue to Mammoth Hot Springs. This would be a mammoth effort but would save a day and it was only noon which was a bit too early to crash, so we carried on.

The first 10 miles out of tower falls were uphill and we only really stopped at the petrified tree turn off where the wood has turned to stone but it may as well of been a lump of rock and did not deserve a photo let alone the diversion we had to do to see it. We came across blacktail deer plateau where we stopped for an energy boost then did the last 10miles down into Mammoth Hot Springs.

We found the campground and took one of the three hiker/biker spots and we could have kissed the lady when she told us there was a spot available. We set up tent in record time and jumped back on the bikes and headed off down a steep hill for two miles then hiked a mile up a trail to a funky place where the boiling river meets the freezing Gardner River. It was the most brilliant experience ever to be sat in a river in the valley with a boiling river being fed into it and where the two meet is where you sit. Its like sitting in a bath with the hot and cold taps running and every so often you get a freezing bit of water then a boiling bit. It was so awesome and the scenery complimented the experience.

We had to climb the 2 mile hill back up the side of the valley in soaking wet clothes to the tent and ate a pop tart for dinner. We chatted with Chris who is from Denmark and is hitch hiking across USA then went to bed at 7.30pm, absolutely shattered.

1 comment:

  1. too funny, todd just commented on a show or commercial that a kid kissed his "guns"...i had to laugh, cuz todd re-enacted the scene...he has pea shooter's for but i gotta say, the boy can do some pull