August 16, 2018
A special corner of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem The Cycle Greater Yellowstone Tour explores a different region of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem each summer. This year, much of the route was in Wind River Country, and all of it is in Wyoming (as is Yellowstone National Park, for the record).
The first two days were in Cody and Meeteetse, which were great fun to explore. Meeteetse had so much more to explore than I ever realized just by driving through on my way to other places. The museum there shouldn’t be missed, and it’s right next door to the Meeteetse Chocolatier, so there’s no reason not to spend time there, really. Thermopolis can’t be skipped for its hot springs, especially on a 400-mile cycle tour.
But when we crossed into Wind River Country, some special things started to happen:
1) We were greeted by Shoshoni’s Spanish teacher, students, and community members with ice and granola bars as soon as we left the breathtaking scenic byway of Wind River Canyon.
2) We were also welcomed to Shoshoni with watermelon, more ice, and assurances that as soon as we turned the corner we would have a tail wind.
3) Our arrival in Pavillion was characterized by a warm, small-town welcome. It was defined by a full hour of intense and wondrous song and dance demonstrations by local Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribal members. The exhibition by the Eagle Spirit Dancers was informative, endearing, and a unique honor for CGY participants. This is the first year the tour has spent an extended period of time on the Wind River Indian Reservation, which is the size of Yellowstone and the only reservation in the state.
4) The colors of the Dubois badlands pulled us in, even as the wind made us work harder to reach this special Wind River a country town. Rarely will you see purple stone like this in a landscape.
5) Dubois is so good at welcoming cyclists and outdoors people in general that we all immediately settled in. Good thing we had a layover day, or some of us might just have been left behind!
5) Togwotee Pass, which was the road for the optional century (or less, if you’re like me) is a designated scenic by way. If the climb doesn’t take your breath away, the views at each turn will.
6) The road from Dubois to Fort Washakie and Lander is downhill!