Riding through Grand Teton National Park is a great way to experience the landscape. Instead of being separated from the world by a car window while moving at 45 miles an
hour, enjoying the smell of sage at a reasonable pace of 14 MPH is more pleasant.
For my first ride in the park, I rode from the Moose visitor center all the way to the String Lake canoe launch. This reminded me of my trip with my brother back in the mid 90s. We rented a canoe, paddled across Jenny Lake, portaged to String and ultimately ended up at Leigh Lake. From there, we had to get the car.
Luckily for me, my brother drew the short straw. He had to walk along the Park Road all the way back to the Jenny dock to retrieve the car. It took him a couple hours of walking to get there. Countless cars passed him and not one slowed down to ask if he was okay or to inquire why someone would walk along the park road in the first place.
And, back then, there was no nice bike or multiuse path to walk on. He had to walk on the park road which is always scary.
Back in 1999, young Gabriella Axelrad, 13, was killed while riding her bike on the park road. The multiuse path connecting the town of Jackson and Grand Teton National Park is now complete in her honor. It was sad to have to have someone die to have a nice pathway to separate bicyclists, runners and walkers from traffic.
I enjoy riding in the park because bicycling allows me to experience things in a more tactile fashion. Looking at
photos and watching videos of places is very well and good but it’s still not like being there. And I photograph as well as shoot and edit videos.
That being said, there is nothing like being there and smelling the air. That is one of the reasons I am headed to Antarctica. Instead of looking at pictures and reading other people’s accounts, I want to have the experience myself. Because that continent is so otherworldly, it is difficult to get a feeling for it without actually being there.
At least for me.