Sunday, September 16, 2012

Biking the Tetons: Road Scholar Program

This Fall, a new offering in the Road Scholar catalog was "Biking the Tetons," and the week it was offered perfectly fit into the time I was to be in the vicinity, so I enrolled and thoroughly enjoyed the week. 

The first ride was a 20-miler called the "Teton View Tour" and followed the gravel boundary road between Grand Teton National Park and Teton-Bridger National Forest, with the former on your right and the latter on the left.  Though much of the ride at the start was through a sagebrush plain, the unobstructed views of the Teton Range were marvelous as evidenced here (the haze is from a large wildfire being fought south of Jackson)...



We then took a paved road down to the valley floor to see Mormon Row where 11 families settled in the early 1900s to farm and raise cattle.  A ride through another sagebrush prairie (where we observed four pronghorn antelope loping) took us to our lunch spot at Kelly Warm Springs where we observed anther pronghorn antelope.


On day two, we biked 16 miles in Buffalo Valley from Highway 287/26 on another gravel road, mostly downhill, past Turpin Meadow campground.  The road then became a lightly traveled paved road along Buffalo Fork River back to highway 287/26.





Ride three was 24 miles on pavement in Teton National Park, starting on highway 191, turning onto and following Teton Park Road from Jackson Lake Junction and then on the very scenic one-way Jenny Lake Road to South Jenny Lake area, where we had lunch.  We then rode the new Teton Multi-use Pathway, all the time in sight of views as seen below (which is Mt.Moran)...



The photo below is on the one-way road...




We finished the ride with time to see the exhibits at the new visitor center at Moose, from which this photo was taken...



Day 4 was high-country mountain biking 19 miles on the Flagstaff Creek forest service road, a very hilly, up and down, loose gravel road, that ultimately lost 1400 feet in altitude, finishing at the Hatchet Motel. The fall colors were just beginning as seen here...



A single track option was offered to us partway down the road, and five of us availed ourselves of the opportunity, covering several miles through woods, along willow wetlands, and across lovely high mountain meadows...

Here's the entire stalwart crew of mountain bikers...


Kneeling (l to r): Don, Neil, Jan, Sarah, Ann, and Dave
Standing: Don, Joan, Dick, Karen, Rob, Pam, Martha, Cindy (our program coordinator), 
Chuck, and Tom


Here's a video of our adventures during the week...






62 downloadable photos are available here. (Click photo you want and choose download)

Our coordinator, Cindy, gave informative and interesting powerpoint lectures on Teton habitats, geology, fall flowers and berries and animal adaptations to weather changes, and finally on the management of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. She also showed two outstanding videos, one detailing the work of local activist Mardy Murie (often called "grandmother of the conservation movement" by the Sierra Club and Wilderness Society) and the other on the creation of the national park.

Lodging was at Togwotee Mountain Lodge in Moran, WY, and buffet breakfast and each evening's supper were provided by he lodge (and all were excellent!)  Delicious and filling box lunches were provided during each bike ride.

The bikes and guides were provided by Teton Mountain Bike Tours out of Jackson, Wyoming.