Thursday, May 06, 2021

The Dirty Grand Loop


The Grand Loop is where you ride from Jackson on the Cycleway parallelling Highway 89 and then into the park and up the Jenny Lake, turn around and come back, only once leaving the park, you head down Moose-Wilson Road and then loop back into Jackson.  Since Will and I were on Gravel Bikes I thought it would be fitting to expand the route to hit more dirt roads along the way and this would be our first big ride of the trip - 80+ miles.

The view of the Grand Tetons from the Cycleway was outstanding

Our route turned onto Gros Ventre Road and we headed towards Kelly, WY and the view of the Sleeping Indian was great

After Kelly, the road was flat and straight and you could see for miles

Seeing the Tetons from here was inspiring

There was a herd of Buffalo between us and Highway 89

Later on we would see another herd and at a much closer distance

Then the road turned to dirt

It started out nice but then got worse. It was like riding an old jeep trail with ruts and wash outs and it slowed us down

Looks like the Buffalo roam pretty freely, even up there

and there were prints from other animals, too

A little later down the road I came upon a rise and Will was a few yards behind me when I saw something lumbering across the road in front of me, maybe 300 yards away. At first I thought it was a dog but then realized that dogs don't run like that and it must be a bear. A big bear! I am pretty sure it was a grizzly bear and I am very happy that it was running away from us.

The road got better after a while enabling us to get a little more speed

but it was the views of mountains that was slowing us down.

In the lee of Shadow Mountain we took a break. From when we started riding, just past the Elk Refuge, to this point we had been climbing the whole time. 25 miles at an average grade of 1.2%. Never felt like we were climbing but we were and this would be the highest point of the route: 7,253 feet above sea level. That would explain why we were no seeing snow on the road we were riding and would have more to ride through.

You can just make out will coming down this descent

 I bombed it

Back on the highway we found another herd of Buffalo

And they were close. I wondered if my flashing light was pissing this bull off

We entered the park and started riding towards Jackson Lake. Will brought his National Parks Pass and we got in for free. Otherwise it would have been $20 per person/bicycle!

At this point I was little concerned that my rear tire was going flat

But we pressed on to Jackson Lake

It didn't make it over the dam. Walked my bike to the other side and replaced my tube.

My CO2 blew out the replacement tube and I had to use my last spare. I don't think I had stored it right and the point where the valve meets the tube must have got damaged in my frame bag.

Once that was fixed we started riding towards Jenny Lake

There was still ice on Jackson Lake

After a bathroom break and some food at Jenny Lake we were going to ride Cycleway back but found it covered in snow.  We rode around this part and tried the path again only to find more snow on it.  We stayed on the road for most of the trip back to the southern entrance to the park.

We stopped at Dornan's

and had some pizza before continuing our journey south

We saw some Mule Deer along the way

There's a two mile dirt section on Moose-Wilson Road, too

It's advisable to carry bear spray

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