"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Showing posts with label cycling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cycling. Show all posts

Monday, July 2, 2018

Grand Teton National Park

So much wildlife 

We had passed through Grand Teton National Park going to or leaving Yellowstone in the past and had mentioned that this park deserved a little time too. Finally, we made it back.
Lodging is very expensive in Jackson and the Teton Lodges. A couple from Australia told us that they were only staying two nights because the only rooms they could find were $300 per night. 
Some of the campgrounds are first come first serve and mostly dry camping. Gros Ventre is a huge 330 site campground but does not feel crowded and is only 12 miles from Jackson. Arriving early, we scored an electric site for $39 per night.
We usually avoid the busiest national parks but found this place to be much less crowded than expected by hitting the trails early. Also, many people head to Yellowstone after a quick peek here. Our four day stay turned into eight as we had no desire to leave this beautiful place with cool temps and still so much to see.

Jackson Lake in the morning

The multi use paths in the national park runs to Jackson and beyond making getting around easy. Our ride across Windy Point lived up to its name. I wondered if I would get blown off a couple of times.

The mandatory antler arch picture

Our hikes took us to several lakes. We arrived at Jenny Lake for an early morning boat ride to the falls and hiked back.

Almost every day, we stopped along the river to watch moose. On the way back from our bike ride, the twin moose were chasing each other and splashing in the river. They were so fast and funny to watch.
 We watched the four frolicking otters roll around each other for a while on Jenny Lake.
 The beaver in Moose Pond was serious and was not detoured from his work.

Getting wildlife pictures with our little camera is not easy. The coyote that stopped on the road to check us out on our bikes was not going to wait for me to stop and pull out the camera. The bear in the campground had better things to do than have his picture taken. It is just fun to see them.
It is a little difficult to make out the osprey in the nest. We would watch one fly out and around while the other enjoyed the sunshine in the nest.

There were too many pictures of the animals to choose to post.

There were two fawns but only one would hold still for a few seconds. They were so small and young, looking back at us as we walked down the trail.
Our hikes took longer than usual with all the views and critters to watch.
On our hike to Taggart Lake, we decided and additional 2.5 miles to Bradley Lake would be ok and headed further back into the forest. As the forest got thicker, so did the mosquitos. We didn't stop for long even with mosquito spray all over us. They were in attack mode.

Taggart Lake

Jenny Lake
Feeling inspired at Inspiration Point

Phelps Lake Huckleberry Overlook

The wildflowers were fabulous.
Oxbow Bend


Moulton's Barn on Mormon Row

It would  have been easy to be drawn to Yellowstone but there was plenty nearby to keep us happy and were glad we extended our time here. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Passing through Idaho

Visiting southern Idaho

Boise, ID

We left Arizona three months ago and were in need of an oil change, haircut and a visit to the chiropractor. We used our three days in Garden City, ID to do that and had time for a little riverside bike ride. We found "The Joint" which is a nationwide network with 400 locations across the country works well for us. They can look at your chart online and see how you have been treated in the past and know of any potential problems. Dr. "O" was very good and got me back on the saddle again.
As we rode along the beautiful Boise River Greenbelt to downtown Boise and stopped to watch the river surfers, a news crew that had been filming the surfers and us approached us. The reporter asked if he could "mic" Mike and film us for their "Idaho Life" piece.

In the above clip you can see us in three 1-2 second blips starting at second 49. We got a kick out of watching glimpses of our self that night on the news. Don't blink.

It was great to have signs along the multiuse path telling us what was just off the path. The container off to the right was being transformed into a coffee house.

There were also restaurants as we got closer to downtown Boise.

Arco, ID

In 1955, tiny Arco won fame as the world’s first nuclear-powered city. The reason that the government chose this corner of eastern Idaho as one of its nuclear sandboxes being it is remote and sparsely-populated, Arco is the kind of place that a nuclear accident might go unnoticed. Or at least under-reported. Did you know that the USA’s only fatal nuclear accident occurred in Arco, Idaho? In 1961, there was a core meltdown in the National Reactor Testing Station which killed three servicemen.

Submarine Park

 Craters of the Moon National Monument

Craters of the Moon formed during eight major eruptive periods between 15,000 and 2000 years ago along the Great Rift for a lava flow of 618 sq miles long. More eruptions are expected in the future.
Our visit to Craters of the Moon was chosen because there is not a lot out there in this section of Idaho and was good stopping place for a few days. We don't like to drive long distances. This turned out to be an interesting area.
Pioneers used the Goodall Shortcut through this section of Idaho rather than along the Oregon Trail along the Snake River to avoid the Indians that were known to harass settlers. There are still wagon ruts along the way.
There were four caves in the park to explore once we got our permit at the visitors center.

 On August 22, 1969, Apollo 14 astronauts Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell, Joe Engle, and Eugene Cernan landed at the airport in Arco. They then proceeded to Craters of the Moon where they explored the lava landscape and learned the basics of volcanic geology in preparation for future trips to the moon. Much of the moon's surface is covered by volcanic materials.
The wind was blowing so hard from the west yesterday. It seems to be the case frequently with trees growing like this.

Monkey flowers
The ability to grow in this harsh environment means overcoming a lack of moisture, meager soil, and surface temperatures that exceed 150 degrees Fahrenheit. In such a harsh environment, you wouldn't expect to see so many flowers and butterflies. We had arrived in time for the peak bloom in the middle of June.

Even though the air temperature was 68 degrees F, it got very hot hiking among the black lava rocks.

   The area is a designated International Dark Sky Park.
Climbing a cinder cone.

There were butterflies everywhere. This one kept landing on me. He rode on my hat for a while.

We got an early start to avoid the crowds. The sunshine made it pretty warm but was much cooler in the caves.

 Buffalo Cave
 We are going in after putting on our headlamps.
Mike's third eye headlamp.

Indian Tunnel 
We had to watch our step over the boulders.

Climbing out.

Trail markers to get back to the other trail.



We had a short 70 mile drive to Idaho Falls before heading to Wyoming. Roadside America suggested a stop at this museum. A little different than the power plant from which Mike retired.
Experimental Breeder Reactor I the world's first nuclear power plant
 This museum along highway 20 on the way to Idaho Falls was where scientists first created usable amounts of electricity by splitting the atom. The intern leading the tour was very interesting going back to 1951 including stories about the people involved in the development and working of this nuclear energy. It was much better than the self guided tour that was also available.
We looked through windows to see the stainless steel tank that comprised the core. It was kind of an eerie place.
 Heading to the Grand Tetons....