Across the Great Divide

There’s more 60s lyrics for you to write to me, Dad. 

This may be the last post for a while, as I’m about to head up into the nTional parks; or the last post ever if any grizzlies decide to stroll into my campsite and eat me. I’m in Jackson, WY, waiting for bike shops to open so I can get a new tire. I’ll also see if I can get a reasonably priced and decent camera. If not I’ll probably settle for a cheaper point and shoot. Jackson was the first place in the west that I ever visited, 9 years ago this month (west coast not included). The town seems to consist largely of souvenir shops and If I were in the market for cowboy hats or boots, I’d be all set. It looks familar, but what stands out, of course, are the Grand Teton mountains just north of town. 

I climbed steadily out of Dubois and met bike tourists #28-30, all of them riding the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, a mostly off-road trail that runs the length of the Rockies from Banff to the Mexican border. It’s also on my bucket list. It overlaps the TransAmerica Trail briefly. It sounds tough and despite that I’d like to do it one day, I’m kid of glad I’m just riding on asphalt right now. Two days ago I mentioned to the Dutch couple I met that I really don’t enjoy climbing anything steeper than about a 3 or 4% grade. “You’re 40 years younger than me and you don’t want to climb?!” Peter scolded. “You’re lazy!” I certainly won’t dispute that.

Togwotee (I think I spelled that right) Pass was almost as high as the Powder River pass over the Bighorns, but the climb was a breeze by comparison. I started much higher and the total elevation gain was probably 1/3 overall of what the former climb was. A fairly steady 4% grade meant I wanted the occasional breather, but didn’t really work too hard. At the top a picnic spot by a small lake made a good place for lunch. The descent was disappointing – lots of little climbs on the way and few sustained sections of coasting. A continual intense headwind had me pedaling even downhill. But, my first view of the Tetons came a short way into the downhill, and it was probably one of the greatest views in the lower 48. 

Then I sped south through Jackson Hole, admiring mountains, bison and the Snake River. I had met a touring cyclist (off duty) just outside Philly at the beginning of my trip, who told me to look him up if I was around Jackson at the right time, as his family has a house out there. I had been thinking of stashing my bike with them to go backpacking in the Tetons for a few days, but those dreams exploded along with my rear tire and the subsequent delay. I caught them on their last night before leaving, thiugh, and they very kindly took me along to dinner and put me up on an air mattress with a stellar view of the sunrise on the Tetons. 

I’m heading up to camp by Jenny Lake tonight, and maybe do a bit of hiking if I can. Then it’ll be on to Yellowstone where I’ll probably not do huge numbers of miles a day. No definite ETA on emerging from the park; probably early or middle of next week at the latest. 

I also crossed the continental divide on yesterday’s pass, hence the title of the post. In the Pacific watershed, and the end is starting to come, very faintly, into sight! 

Upper reaches of the Wind River. 

“Bears on road. Stay in vehicle.”

Jimmy, cycle tourist #28, nears the top of the pass and the Great Divide. Of course, this was less significant for him than me, as the route he’s riding crosses the divide at least a dozen times. 

First view of the Teton Range. 

Down in Jackson Hole. 

Ansel Adams apparently took this photo once. Presumably in the morning, not afternoon. 

Got up at 5:45 for this. 

Once I get my shopping done I may be too late to have good light on the mountains while I ride north. Glad I got to see this. 


3 thoughts on “Across the Great Divide”

  1. Julian, not sure when you’ll roll into Boise but my phone number is 208-316-6671. John is 208-863-6580. Michael is 503-953-4545. Love the views of the Tetons.


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