Saturday, August 6, 2011
Moose on the Loose... Bear Givin' a Scare
Wow! Has it really been over two weeks since we've posted a new blog update? We were just having too much fun in Bozeman, Yellowstone, and the Tetons... So sorry!
Since so much has happened in the last few weeks, we've decided that this blog will be told mostly through Adam's photographs.
Our first stop on the tour where we really had the chance to explore a town. Our first hosts were Shelby and Tristy who shared with us some good Montana living! We took a drive through some of the country near Bozeman on our way to one of their friend's birthday parties.
At the party, we learned some really invaluable Montana skills. How to arrange your house with all of the mounts from animals you've shot and how to open a beer bottle with a chainsaw.
In between all of the lessons, we did manage to eat some of the meat from that moose right there, and sing happy birthday hunter. Here's the crew.
Our second host in Bozeman was someone we had actually met on our first day in town. Lawrence was full of energy and, by the end of the conversation, invited us into his home. Turns out, we didn't have to move our stuff far. Lawrence literally lived right behind Shelby and Tristy.
One of the activities Adam has been talking about for months is fly fishing. So after his heart was broken when we found out a fly fishing excursion would cost us close to $650 for a day, we had a surprise post from Lawrence on our Facebook wall inviting us out for a day of fly fishing. It was Adam's dream come true.
A day of fly fishing will create a pretty solid bond, but nothing solidified that bond more than when we put all of our trust in Lawrence and walked up this dam. This picture was taken at about the point I started freaking out after Lawrence had just sprinted up past us like a kid!
After our time with Lawrence, he posted this picture of him with his new nameless puppy and asked us for name suggestions. We offered up the name Juno, after our dog Juneau and he took it! Too bad we never got to meet Juno.
The reason we spent so much time in Bozeman wasn't really for the fly fishing, the Harry Potter viewing, or the REI garage sale. It was for our REI presentation which turned out to be a huge success. Not only did we have 25 people show up, we also had an NBC news station interview us! Thank you Theresa for making this happen!!
Our time in Bozeman was complete after a great night of grilling at Ryan's (a friend of Lawrence's who taught us how to change a bottom bracket) with Shelby, Tristy, Lawrence and a few other friends we met along the way!
We have some great news to report! We made it to the mountains!!
We thought our four day rest in Bozeman ruined our biking legs since it took us three days to get to Yellowstone instead of our projected two, but then we realized we had been climbing 4,000 feet over that time and stopped feeling so bad.
We found some amazing camping spots in between Bozeman and Yellowstone and passed through Idaho on our way.
Adam convinced me to get up early those mornings so that he could grab some sunrise riding pictures.
Since we didn't ruin our legs from the long rest, we decided to try and ruin them by hiking in Keens and our biking shoes. Our first afternoon in Yellowstone we did our hardest hike 3 miles straight up. Calves were killing by the time we made it back down but the view was worth it!
After taking all of the necessary precautions to avoid grizzlies from climbing into our tent with us at night, we fell sound asleep and actually slept in late.. 8:30 or so. Our legs were crying, so we decided to leave the bikes at the campsite and explore some of the park by getting rides from place to place. Most of the time we were fortunate enough to get a ride pretty quickly, but every once in a while we had to show a little leg.
Our so-called relaxing day ended up being far from that. We hiked another 5 miles or so including 328 stairs down to the bottom of a waterfall and back up. We traveled a total of 102 miles by car, ended up taking a total of 8 rides, saw three waterfalls, over 50 Elk, hundreds of Buffalo and no bears. I'm exhausted just writing it all down!
We didn't even get back to our site until after 10:00, made a quick pasta dinner, and crashed hard again.
In the morning, we were up and out, ready to explore the geysers before the crowds came in but our photography detours had us showing up at Old Faithful right alongside the thousands of others. I think the size of the crowd was more impressive than Old Faithful herself.
From Old Faithful, we rode 17 more miles over the Continental Divide twice to camp. We shared a site with a French couple. One more day and still no grizzlies. The camp ranger said there were two grizzlies in the area but we never saw them.
On our last day in the park, we again decided to take it easy and hitched to a six mile, 2,000 foot hike. Sure... Real easy. Turns out we didn't even make it all the way up to the snow-capped top. About 3/4 of the way up the rain started to fall and we high-tailed it out of there. We grabbed a ride up one of the most beautiful roads in the park, Hayden Valley. It was here that we finally spotted the grizzly. Of course, you couldn't see it with your naked eye...no....you had to steal a glance through one of the nice gentleman's telescopes the size of my leg and even with that the mama bear was a spec. I guess I'd rather see a grizzly that far away instead of right next to me. Adam tried grabbing a pic through the telescope but to no avail... you'll just have to take our word for it!
Our favorite part of Yellowstone wasn't Old Faithful, it wasn't the hundreds of other geysers, it wasn't the buffalo or the elk or even the bear. No. Adam and I agree our favorite part of Yellowstone was this family. Our time with them was short, and there were so many of them that we only remembered a few of their names, but it was our most memorable ride we took. They pulled over their big RV and we jumped in to join their family for all of ten minutes before we reached our destination. Have you ever seen Home Alone? It was like the first scene with the craziness of a family before Christmas vacation. There was so much energy in the RV that Adam and I could barely keep up. Adam was listening to a story from Blanche, the youngest girl, while the mom, Valerie, asked him questions about our ride all while I was trying to answer the questions of the three oldest siblings simultaneously while the dad pulled over to look at the map and try to figure out where we were. It was madness! It was fantastic!
So our riding through the parks has been slow going to say the least and we've been stopping around every corner for another photo. While Yellowstone was nice, the Grand Tetons were amazing and though the park was about 1/4 of the size, we could have spent triple the time there.
We spent a total of three nights in the Tetons with the mountains looming over us!
Our camping experience was complete with a shower in the cold lakes! Saved us $2 a piece to bathe in the lake as opposed to the pay showers!
...so Adam may have taken a few more showers than me, but it did give me some good time to learn a little photography.
Me: It's too dark.
Adam: Press the button half way then spin the dial to the right to stop up.
Me: Huh?.... Oh, ok. It's still too dark.
Adam: Well stop up again.
Me: Oh... ok! It looks better! Why is it so close to you?
Adam: Because you're zoomed in. Zoom out.
Me: Ooooohhhh. Got it. (I guess I can't really take any credit for the photos, but I did technically press the button)
While in the Tetons, we did things like take hikes,
see 3 bull moose,
lift really large rocks,
enjoy the free left-over, warm beer in one of the food containers with the rest of the hiker/bikers at the campsite,
and learn all about why you shouldn't attempt climbing a 13,770 ft mountain in a lightening storm.
You can see where the lightening burnt holes and scortched all the equipment.
On our last night camping in the Tetons, Adam scoped out a place for some sunrise pictures for the next morning, even though it meant riding his bike in the early hours before the sun rose. Here's the picture he got at night:
Just as the sun was setting that night, Nathaniel (another cycling tourist/photographer we met in South Dakota) came riding into the campsite. Adam was excited to have a photographer to wake up early with him the next morning and take sunrise pictures. Here are the pictures he got that morning in the same spot as the night before:
Slow going was how I would describe our last days ride out of the Tetons. We stopped at every bend in the road for another picture. Enjoy!!
We're in Jackson now, but that's a story for the next blog! We won't make you wait as long this time... promise!
A song for you...
Hikin' in the Tetons
by Adam Coppola
If you're hikin' in the Tetons
Betta put on yo crampons
Cuz there's a moose on the loose
a bear givin' a scare
Racoon under the moon
Coyote in the remote