Day 49: Jackson to Idaho Falls & Catch Up

We have crossed into Idaho! Only two more state borders to cross. It’s hard to believe!

I apologize for the long post…I want to include summaries of the last three days; we saw and did so much!

On Thursday we rode into Yellowstone. We dedicated our ride to my friend Angie’s dad, Dave, who is fighting his second battle with cancer. The ride out of Cody was absolutely beautiful. We rode in mountains all day and got to see the sun rise behind them. We also spent a lot of time talking about how lucky we are. We get to see parts of the country we may never otherwise have had the chance to, and we are seeing it from such a unique perspective.

Once we got into Yellowstone National Park we climbed up to the highest point we’d get to before our campground and waited for everybody to reunite. The mountains are green, with lots of trees, but there were also a lot of trees down. They were so skinny and long and scattered that they looked like toothpicks. While my group was waiting, we got a portrait with a woman named Auni and her son. Auni is a doctor at Mayo clinic, was diagnosed with breast cancer, and has been free of cancer for 6 years. She talked about how the experience made her more empathetic as a physician. She doesn’t wish cancer on anyone, but she is thankful for the experience because of how it has affected her as a professional and as a mom. She talked about how she is less of a perfectionist since her diagnosis because she realized that the little things don’t matter. It was really nice to be able to do a portrait with her in such a beautiful place. Even better, her family was on the vacation they had planned when she was diagnosed but had to postpone.

On our way to the campground we stopped by Yellowstone Lake, a very large, very blue lake with pretty pebble beaches and occasional hot springs along its shoreline. A few of us waded in, and it was freezing. It made sense once we realized it was snow melt.

Our campsite was right near the lake. We had a really fun time sitting around the campfire, talking, and making s’mores. It was a bit tight in the tents, but what’s camping without a bit of discomfort?

Friday morning was very cold, and we layered ourselves heavily. The rest of the day was amazing. We got to take our time to explore the park, and explore we did. Many groups stopped at some hot springs. I had never seen them before, and I was amazed at how colorful they were and how clear the water was. The water was actually boiling. We didn’t get to see Old Faithful, but now we have a reason to come back. The groups also stopped at Lewis Falls. Some of us hiked down, waded in, and enjoyed the good weather and good views.

The afternoon was spent riding through the Grand Teton National Park. We rode parallel to the mountains, and we were in awe of the view as well as how large they were.  It’s odd to see snow this time of year, even if it is on top of mountains.

We got into Jackson later than normal because of the very leisurely pace we afforded ourselves. It was well worth it.

We dedicated our ride on Friday to Anne. Sadly, Anne was killed by a driver while she was cycling in Idaho Falls on Thursday. She is a member of Bike and Build, an organization that teams up with Habitat for Humanity during their cross country ride. Our thoughts are with her family and the entire team.

This morning’s ride was dedicated to Austin’s mom, Hung Lee, who is a breast cancer survivor. Her birthday is today! Our ride began with a monster 4 mile climb. It was very steep, but we all conquered it no problem! The difficult part of the ride came in the afternoon. It got hot and very windy. The 90 miles to Idaho Falls seemed to go on forever, but again, as always, we made it.  So far Idaho looks like Wyoming, except a little greener.

Our stay over provided a delicious taco dinner. They were so patient with our late arrival. We were all more than ready for a hot meal and are looking forward to a rest day tomorrow!

We are excited to see what Idaho has in store for us!


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