Tour 2019 – Day 19

I entered the mountains and my cares became clear
serene at heart I let them all go
the trees beyond my yard thin out in fall
the stream before my door becomes louder when it rains
I pick greens and boil tea when a fellow hermit arrives
I give a neighbor monk chrysanthemums in a pot from town
the gentry might have their fine food and clothes
but they can’t match a mountain monk with scenes like these

translated by Red Pine in The Mountain Poems of Stonehouse


It’s the salt that’s in our tears
I bid a fond adeiu to Grand Teton National Park and made my way down from the mountains. This day was going to feature a lot of road riding to get out of the park and the wilderness areas that surround it. But there was a lovely off hwy section where I went up Buffalo Valley following a stream and was filled with Dude Ranches. At the end of the valley the road turned to gravel and I began to climb. The section was in the woods which would open into these broad meadows filled with wildflowers. When I came back to the highway I was a 1000′ higher but still had 2000 more to climb.

Last views of the Teton Range from Buffalo Valley

This was classic highway mountain pass riding persistently uphill but never super steep. There was excellent views of these jagged rocky ridges and this winding stream next to the road. I was just approaching the crest of the hill when a bear ran across the road! Followed by her cub. I stopped to give them plenty of space. I got photos with my camera with a zoom lens, we shall see if any of those come out. They ambled across the road but when some cars finally came they took off into the underbrush down by the stream. I cautiously rode past and made my way to the Continental Divide at 9584′. Togwotee Pass was almost hundred feet higher at 9658′. This makes this the second highest pas I’ve climbed.

At the pass, the Continental Divide just 1000′ below

Descending I pulled off at a picnic area which had a gravel road out the side that the route follows. That road was closed due to “bear activity”. I talked to this lady there with a big spotting scope and she was all excited when I mentioned seeing the bear and cub. These were grizzlies she’d been watching for the last few weeks and hadn’t seen in a few days. She packed up and ran off to where I saw them. The other lady and I chatted about wildlife and she was able to tell me that those giant birds I’ve seen twice were Sandhill cranes.

Waterfall at Falls Campground

So I didn’t take the closed road and descend on the highway to Falls Campground. The mountains here are all eroded rock with a very southwestern flair. Falls Campground turns out to be on this lovely waterfall and where I camped I could listen to its music all night. Simple pleasures.

gazing deep
persistent spray
cascading water
slows down, stops
every moment
no deeper meaning here
just look and there
is nothing

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