Our stay in Colter Bay started out with a little confusion. We had been looking forward to a full service real village. What we found was a giant government campground complete with a small grocery, a restaurant, a laundromat, and a gift shop. The campground had so many loops that you could easily find yourself lost. The RV’s always get the prime location and the tent area for hiker/bikers is in the outer fringe with no electric and a long walk for a shower. All that aside, it is a wonderful location.
Colter Bay is just a few miles south of the South entrance of Yellowstone. The Bay itself is on the north end of Jackson Lake in Wyoming. Looking across from Colter Bay to the west side you find the beautifully rugged Teton Range. Still snow on high in August. Grand Teton is in the mix. It’s very impressive. Jackson Lake Lodge is a few miles east and Jackson itself about an hour away.
What’s not to like about all this.
We managed to get showers, do laundry, get our internet work done, and have a great meal. The Tetons were hazy from smoke we assume was caused by the fire in the Dubois area a few days before. That evening we had the first rain since our initial day just out of Jasper. Like that first night this rain came after our cycling day was over. That’s 20 days of cycling with nothing but blue skies!
As we left Colter this morning, we met the four Italian women that we had kept hearing were just ahead of us cycling the Divide. We had caught up.
Our day today consisted of climbing Togwotee Pass. At 9658 feet, it is our highest point so far in the trip. Due to some problems with the regular route experiencing some cave-ins and wash outs, we took the Wind River Alternate route. At the end of the route we had a long winding gravel road climb to the country lodge for the night. It was tough. The climbs are much easier early in the day.
What makes a climb tough is not necessarily the total feet of climbing but the surface and the grade of steepness. A highway pass usually has a top grade of about 6 percent. The surface is smooth. A gravel road pass can be much steeper in grade since it has not the highway regulations. We have had gravel/tote roads with grades exceeding 20 percent and often reaching 10 to 14 percent. The gravel surface can be very rough. Often they are very washboardy as well.
Today’s ending climb was the rough gravel variety with steep grades.
We got a cabin in the small resort. About 4 hours later the Italians showed up. They looked as tired as they should after a tough ending climb.
Tomorrow on to Pinedale – considered just south of the Grizzlies range. If it weren’t for cougars we would ditch our bear spray. Sent from my iPhone