“Time means nothing now. It slips away as easily as grains of sand
on a wind-swept beach. But those grains only trade places. On my bike, I change
the same way—new locations in the passage of time. The pedaling is
incidental—like breathing. The hills and mountains come and go -- my legs
powering over them in a kind of winsome trance. Grappling with headwinds only
brings determination; while riding a tail wind brings ecstasy. There is a
transformation into a state of bliss, much like a seagull gliding on the
updrafts. I see them standing on beaches or soaring over the waves. Just
flying. Just living. Just being. Me too.” FHW, Golden, CO
Denis and Bob after
dropping out of the high Sierras. From snow banks to desert heat. They traveled
east toward Panamint Valley and on to Death Valley at 282 feet below sea level
with temperatures of 112 degrees F.
After my bicycle journey through Yellowstone National Park,
what reflections come to my mind?
Traveling through the marvels of steaming vents, mud pots,
geysers, turquoise pools and stupendous wildlife—lifted my spirits in multiple
ways. I felt the freedom of the animals as they lived their lives free of
humans building cities and smoke stacks in their homes. Lakes and rivers
ran sparkling clear and clean. The wind rushed through the trees on its
endless journey around the world. The mountain peaks of the Grand Tetons
inspired my sense of adventure. The great web of nature spun its magic
upon my soul.
Looking back into my rear view mirror provided the wonders
of the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone along with two funny Irishmen who brought
great joy and laughter to my life. I can’t help but thank John Muir and others
who cared enough to preserve these great tracts of Mother Nature’s magnificent
Additionally, I am eternally grateful for my healthy body
that powers me along the road and my eyes to see, ears to hear, skin to feel
and hands to touch.
(Frosty celebrating our entry into Big Sky Montana.)
As Robert and I pedaled out of the campgrounds, we took a
picture of a “2 mile, 7 % grade” sign. Cyclists love
After that picture, we stopped at the 45th
parallel sign which stands midway from the equator and the North Pole.
Near Gardiner, we crossed the Montana state line: Big Sky Country.
(Nothing more exciting to a touring cyclist than a free
gravity-powered ride. Robert on our first day riding out of Yellowstone
We coasted along the Gardiner River as the morning sun
crested the mountain ramparts to spray sunshine across the rushing
waters. We rolled slowly along the river when we noticed a
mother deer and two spotted babies not more than a week old. They danced behind
her and stepped into the river for a drink. The mother noticed us when we
stopped, which caused her to pull back and run to the other side of the
hill. An array of wildflowers bloomed along her path. The two youngsters
followed her until they vanished from our sight.
“Call that sight early morning magic,” said Robert.
“What a way to start the day,” I said. “Look how
springy they jump and run on those fresh new legs.”
“You got that right,” said Robert.
(Mama deer and her two youngsters coming down to the river
for a drink.)
Robert and I ate breakfast at the Gardiner Café.
Animals' heads decorated the walls along with burl wood supports. As I sat in
my chair, a monstrous buffalo head not five feet away, stared at me with
indolent eyes. At one time, he roamed these sacred valleys of
After breakfast, the road called and again, Condor’s spokes
flashed in the early morning sunshine. Ahead, my new friend named
Robert,who saw everything with wide-eyed enthusiasm, powered his mountain bike
along the road.
We pedaled out of Gardiner with fresh food, fruits and
energy bars. We followed a deep canyon with the Yellowstone River moving
crisply alongside the road. We watched fisherman, rafters and kayakers
playing in the river. We needed over 60 miles to reach Livingston, Montana.
(Frosty and Robert at the midway point between the North
Pole and the Equator.)
Nice to ride along a two percent downhill grade with a warm
sun shining down through puffy white clouds. We passed the “Devil’s
Slide” which consisted of a curved red-tan rock slide cut out of a vertical
mountain uplift. At some point, the Earth buckled to shove flat sedimentary
layers into vertical stripes pointing to the sky. If that action occurred
over hundreds of years, fine, but if it happened quickly, you wouldn’t want to
be around for the action.
Once out of the canyon, we pedaled 45 miles across flat
plain while we followed the Yellowstone River that flowed at a very fast
clip. We traveled where Lewis and Clark explored the new frontier at the
behest of President Thomas Jefferson. They plowed their canoes through these
exact same waters. The land teamed with wildlife. Eventually, the Indians
found themselves the victims of the pioneers and a horde of settlers.
(Robert riding along the Yellowstone River on the left
through a deep canyon.)
By the end of the day, we covered 75 miles, which led Robert
to a Pizza Hut in Livingston, Montana for a huge dinner feast. After
stuffing ourselves, the sun dropped toward the horizon, which caused us to find
a camping spot on the back side of an abandoned radio station building on the
north side of town.
(The Devil’s Slide formed by violent uplift.)
“We need the tonic of wildness—to wade sometimes in marches,
where the bittern and meadow-hen lurk, and hear the booming of the snipe; to
smell the whispering sedge where only some wilder and more solitary fowl builds
her nest, and the mink crawls with its belly close to the ground. At the
same time, we are earnest to explore and learn all things. We require
that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be infinitely
wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us. We can never have enough of nature. We
must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic
features. We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life
pasturing freely where we never wander.” Henry David Thoreau
(Historical markers showing visitors what happened during
the 1800s in Montana.)
Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents - from the
Arctic to the South Pole - as well as nine times across the USA, coast to coast
and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to
Athens, Greece. In 2010, he cycled 3,400 miles coast to coast across
America. In 2012, he bicycled the northern tier coast to coast across
America. In 2013, he bicycled 2,500 miles from Mexico to Canada on the
Continental Divide, 150,000 vertical feet of climbing and 19 crossing of
passes, 10 of the Continental Divide. He presents “The Coming Population
Crisis facing America: what to do about it.” www.frostywooldridge.com
. His latest
book is: How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World by
Frosty Wooldridge, copies at 1 888 280 7715/ Motivational program: How to Live a Life of Adventure:
The Art of Exploring the World by Frosty Wooldridge, click: www.HowToLiveALifeOfAdventure.com
Live well, laugh often, celebrate daily
and enjoy the ride,
6 Continent world bicycle traveler