Pictures: Day 6

Day 6 / Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sun rising over Grasshopper Creek to begin a beautiful day.

Rushing water in the creek.

A herd of cattle being shepherded by cowboys down Hwy 278. They parted and went around me.

The pavement ends just south of Bannack State Park

Cruising along on Old Bannack Road. All this area is famous for gold rushes in the 19th century.

Sign post at the summit.

I should've stopped and taken a break at the summit but I had the feeling to keep going and in doing so, I easily overlooked the upcoming downhill section and...

I had a spill as the front wheel got caught in a mud rut and being a dirt-noob I instinctively put both my feet down to catch myself and thus couldn't use the rear brake to slow down and hand to grab front grab resulting in the quick tip over. My left leg was caught under the pannier and my big motocross boots, Oxtar TCX prevented my ankle from being crushed.

I heaved the handlebar to free my leg and took some time to catch my breath.

Lifting the bike was pretty easy as the panniers helped in leveraging and after putting the bike in gear, one heave and she was up.

I was doing pretty good in off-road discipline and not wanting to bring any danger to my legs, but a little brain fade of not recognizing the risks of downhill ruts lead to this off.

My left ankle was hurting a bit but since I wasn't in excruciating pain, I popped some ibuprofen and continued towards Yellowstone.

Sign post indicating the road I was on, Medicine Lodge.

You can feel the old history that must've taken place in these remote lands.

Twisting and well maintained gavel roads.

Exposed rock faces of the Tendoy Mountains making my way towards the Interstate.

The abandoned ghost town of Monida near the Montana/Idaho border.

Taking a simpler route towards Yellowstone than the GPS route as I couldn't shift that easily with a throbbing ankle. Heading east on Hwy 509 towards Lakeview and Henry's Lake.

An intersection with routes heading back north for long distances through the mountains.

Coming from I-15 heading towards Lakeview.

Heading east towards Yellowstone.

At Red Rock Pass, my first marked sign of the Continental Divide, heading across the small finger of Idaho into Wyoming.

Entering on the west side of Yellowstone National Park.

Finally riding Yellowstone after avoiding her on previous trips out west due to the excuse of crowds. But the beauty of this place was calling.

The wonderful light of the setting sun on this high altitude (7-8000 ft) geological hotspot with geysers venting up ahead.

Sunlight reflecting on the clouds, on the way to Old Faithful.

I camped at Madison campground and figured seeing Old Faithful at night would be a nice experience and there should be less crowds than the daytime. Arriving at sun down at the end of an eruption, I setup my stove on the benches, had dinner and waited for the next eruption in around 90 minutes.

Looking back towards Old Faithful Lodge and the nearly Full Moon shining bright overhead. The bright spot next to the moon is Venus.

Fascinating to ponder that all that light is reflected from our home star, the Sun, presently below the horizon.

Capturing Ursa Major, or the Big Dipper constellation, with a super long exposure to allow as much of that star light to register on the digital sensors. As it's very prominent in the Northern Hemisphere, and has been for millions of years, these seven stars are important to all ancient myths and cultures. The importance in our time could be that the two furthest right stars point to Polaris, the northern star and can be used as a navigational aide.

A few minutes before the eruption, she lets out a little burp to alert her spectators.

And then all that compressed hot steam erupts to an average height of 140 ft and provides a natural entertaining event where one can respect the power of Earth's internal heat welling up to the surface and letting lose.

Slowing winding down from the peak. Old Faithful is not the tallest or longest duration geyser at Yellowstone, but it's the most regular. Having never seen a geyser eruption before, it was quite impressive.

The geyser activity at Yellowstone is an indication of the supervolcano that lies underneath the park. The volcano has erupted regularly every 600,000 years going back a few million years and it's been 640,000 years from the last eruption of the caldera.

Next: Day 7, Around Yellowstone National Park

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