29 June 2014

A different pace through Glacier NP. Walk walk walk

We finally made it to the farthest most northern point of the trip right up by the Canadian boarder and stashed the bikes in the car and donned our packs to go for a walk. Being pretty ignorant about the whole bear thing I felt a little foolish but very happy with some of our decisions in preparation for our little walk. I didn't really realize that grizzly bears actually do exist and hikers actually do have encounters with them. Then you start seeing these on the trail just to remind you that there is either someone toying with you or there actually are bears..

So the adventure began with a backpack full of delicious bacon and eggs, fresh veges etc etc so that we could make any other hikers jealous of our menu… turns out we started getting a little nervous making our bagels on the track when we were spreading aromas where we had seen bear shit and prints. We could only hope that they were just from Black Bears (the cute cuddly looking ones).

Anyway, on our merry way we went.

There were a heap of these caterpillars that kept latching on to my legs..


It was pretty sweet walking. Easy, nice temp, didn't see anyone else from the trailhead until we were about a mile from our camp at Glenn Lake head. And they were looking very un easy and they had very good reason to. We just came round the corner and were all happy and what not being close to camp, said what up and normal small talk, then we asked what they were doing. Turns out they were in the middle of an encounter of their own with a real Grizzly. They had just had one huff one snort at them, had backed up and thats where we found them. They were happy as to see us because we could help make noise and safety in numbers etc. So we waited a few more minutes, with bear spray and cameras in hand, clapping and making a bunch of noise we continued to camp. I was sad but happy that all of our noise made the poor bear bugger off. 

We arrived at camp, it started raining, so it was off to bed.

Obviously camp.

 The next day we left camp and went for a day hike up to Mokowanis Lake which was more like a party walk. Because of the events that went down the day before we just had loud music playing so that the two of us wouldn't surprise any more bears. All that aside, it was beautiful. The mountains are cool colors so in the lakes and streams the rocks are pretty reds, greens, blues, and purple. 

 All red.

Multi color!

There were views like this all around. It was pretty easy to take photos because in all directions there were mountains like this! 
And on our way to this lake we ran into a couple of ladies that told us about this waterfall. Not bad.

This is about as far as we got. This big patch of snow was from an avalanche or something because it was full of these ripped-to-pieces trees.

This was the view downstream where we had come from.

Mokowanis Lake.

The next morning it was raining, intact, the whole day it rained. We packed up, got visited by a wee family of deer and then we left. 


The family.

 On to Olympic NP, the adventure continues...

28 June 2014

Grand Teton to Yellowstone to Glacier.

Call me a national park whore but in the last week we did the fly by through three from Wyoming through to Montana. After leaving Jackson we made our way up to Glacier National Park via Yellowstone. Coming from Rotorua, where there is a lot of geothermal stuff going on, Yellowstone's main attraction was surely to be the wildlife… It is pretty cool that it is a very intact ecosystem and all but there are soooo many people there and of course as soon as people see something (from their car) there are rangers trying to keep people away so that the poor animal has its space(and it doesn't cause a massive traffic jam).
All that said, there are some beautiful mineral pools and some awesome terraces plus a few amazing waterfalls… and wildlife.
The Grand Tetons.

 Pretty pool.


 Lower Yellowstone Falls.

 Dead trees from the geothermalness.

 Cheeky Marmot.

 Silica depositing like it does.

 All those sorry people waiting and watching for old faithful.. turns out it was late and the geyser in the background was way more impressive.




 Mallard Lake where we camped. Pretty.


 Black Bear.

 Mammoth Springs. Pretty

Our camp.

 And then we started heading for Glacier through some stormy weather..

And shit got even prettier!

Into the bear (Grizzly) country

Jimmy's Mom

21 June 2014

Jackson Hole, Wyoming. So fun!

We arrived in Jackson, were invited in for a cup of tea with Mick and the family and then it was off to the pub for a beer, dinner and a catch up. It was decided that I must go kayaking while in town because it's the time for it and discussed some options for riding. 
Next day we tried to go for a big loop, got lost, did a small loop and had an amazing time on a trail called put put, went kayaking and was exhausted.  I had to admit to Nicole that for cross country I was actually having a bloody good time. Whats gotten into me? 
Next day we planned on some touristy town stuff and some downhill/ free ride kind of stuff. Couldn't go wrong there...
 This sign says it all. Top of the Teton Pass and we are in a pull-out that is so easy to just shuttle yourself, we had Liam who was our shuttle driver/ photographer. Even though we had so much going for us, we never could have guessed how fun it would be just around the corner!

First 10m into the track they call Jimmy's Mom (she must have been super hot or something) was this thing. Step up to drop off. JACKPOT!!

 Nicole was killin it to. They were pretty progressive trails with an easier option for all of the big features it gave options for what you did and didn't want to bite off. 

 And it was damn pretty up there! Wild flowers galore. 

 Every now and then the trail just led you into the sweetest jump lines to. 

 This is the same jump as the shot above. 
 And then this is the next one. We need this shit at home, or maybe I was never that happy to be hitting them.
 First road gap. Again, the trail just sucks you in so you could just trust that you already had the speed. Way easier than getting to it, having a look, realizing its massive and walking back up to guess the speed and trying it with your tail between your legs. Just give her!

 More jumps on Parallel.

 Sick ass berms.

 Floaty cliff drop thing. Again, the trail just sucked me in.

 Nicole was never far behind. Some of the jumps weren't her cup of tea but as soon as there was a techy bit or just a drop she was all over it.

 Playing chase

Pretty sure she is making motorbike noises as she boosts over this one. Everyone knows doing that makes you go faster!

If you made it this far you would have noticed that there was a helmet cam involved. Maybe one of these days there will be a hero video. Never know, if the riding keeps improving on itself like this I might have to try my own sick edit..

16 June 2014

Into the mountains

Finally we got into the mountains. Durango itself is situated at about 2000m above sea level and then some of the rides get close to 3000m. This is the stuff that we have been hanging out for but it is surprising how much it makes your lungs burn trying to ride up hills when you are this high. I know, excuses excuses. But if you've done it you know what I'm talking about.

When we got into the area we started off by visiting Mesa Verde National Park which has some really old indian dwellings (2000yrs ish) in the side of cliffs which were pretty cool. 

Since we were in the area and we had heard about it we thought we would check out this network called Phil's World. Reviews were all great, turned out it was mostly flat with a few ups and downs which I thought was pretty boring for the most part. You win some and you lose some, this was a loss. I'll leave it at that.

Next up was a loop that included part of the Colorado trail. This was more what we were after. You had to ride up, but the climbs were easy and were rewarded with some amazing downs. 12 miles with a bout 700m of climbing which meant 700m of decent.

 The view from Goudies Rest

Easy climbing and super fun descending

Another one of the must do's in Durango seemed to be the Hermosa Creek trail. Turns out on tired legs it's not as much of a must do. The scenery was pretty amazing but again it was very cross country in character so the excitement factor wasn't there. 

We were still stuck in Durango for one more day which wasn't a bad thing at all. It meant that I got to try a sweet downhill called Haflin Creek Trail. This track was sick. Over 4 miles it dropped almost 3000feet and was techy, fast, exposed which is the winning formula. Here is a wee snippet. It's raw go pro that I put no effort into editing so turn the volume down or listen to music or something. 

Finally my new linkages arrived, the bike shop let me use their shit to fix my bike and it was time to head to Crested Butte. Even higher into the hills..
On the way to Crested Butte we ran into a whole heap of chipmunks. Cute!

The cool thing about getting to Crested Butte was that we were meeting some friends there and that there is a wicked kayak run that was flowing called Oh Be Joyful. So after a month of no kayaking what better intro to a Colorado Creek. Good thing for me I had Chad to follow down this pretty continuous stretch of river because my brain was fried trying to remember the lines. It was just a whole lot of fun!

2 strokes into the run and then you get to send this little beauty!

After we went for our paddle it got windy, cold and snowy so we sampled some locally brewed beer and waited for the sun to come out again. Apparently this is normal weather for Colorado.

Shilo Chad and I sampling heaven

 An afternoon ride on the Lupine Trail and that is the Drainage for Oh Be Joyful in the background.

We were a little too early in the season to get some of the trails that we were looking forward to because there was still too much snow around. It seems that you can't go wrong in this area though. The next day we did another loop up Strand Hill. Again, pretty easy climbing (if it wasn't for the high altitude) and really fast, flowy descents.

 Seems to be a bit of a trend that almost all of the rides have epic views. I'm just sitting appreciating the shit out of this one while my lungs try to recover.

 And then we get the DOWN!!

 Nicole doesn't have a big smile because the track is cool. She can't stop being happy about all of the wild flowers.. Girls!