On Saturday I decided to go to Jackson, Wyoming, and ski and ride fat bikes with the rich and pretty people who populate the Hole. My arrival seriously dropped the averages in both categories. Even the dogs there are good looking.
I decided not to embarrass myself by participating in the Moose On The Loose competition also held Saturday at Harriman State Park. That activity — a triathlon involving skiing, fat biking and running — was held around courses at the state park. I’m pretty good at making a fool of myself without entering a competition to emphasize it.
In Jackson, I drove to the Cache Creek Trailhead on the southeast side of town. Here, three bike shops were demoing fat tire bikes most of the day. Because I got there ahead of things, I went for a quick 4-mile ski up the canyon, then returned to check out one of the bikes.
I tried a bike with one crank in the front and an 11-speed cassette in the back. I quickly found that I liked the simplicity of the shifting. It did take me a few tries to get the seat height just right.
Cache Creek Trail was in prime condition for biking and skiing. There were hikers, runners, classic cross-country skiers, skate skiers and bikers on the track. I figured there were almost as many dogs on the trails as people.
The trail had been groomed for all activities for the first 4.6 miles. Beyond that, some backcountry skiers had pushed farther up the canyon. In the summer, this road ends at a foot trail and continues into the Gros Ventre Range south of Jackson Hole. A popular multi-day backpacking trip is to hike up Cache Creek to Turquoise Lake and down to Granite Creek (or visa-versa).
In the winter, several side trails are groomed for skiers and bikers off the main Cache Creek Road. I rode the side trail just after mile marker 2 and had so much fun I rode it again after making it to the end of the groomed road. All in all, I put in about 10 plus miles on the demo fat bike.
Cache Creek Canyon is mostly forested and boasts camping areas and several side trails.
• • •
Last week, I mentioned that Grand Teton National Park would start issuing backcountry permits this week. After saying that, the park said it would postpone that until Monday. The park staff was still buried in efforts to get things up and running after the government shutdown. They also had delays this week because of the weather with several staff members not making it in because of bad roads.
Jumping on backcountry permits early is important because prime campsites get snatched up early – particularly the sites during the prime climbing season of August. Heads up for those wanting to climb one of the big mountains this summer.