Questing with the Cultural REcyclists


Thursday, September 9, 2010

"The Richest Hill on Earth"

Happy Thursday (or whatever day of the week you're reading this) everyone! The Cultural Recyclists are currently in the town of Butte, Montana; home of the "richest hill on earth", but more on that later. Our last blog entry was in Cody, Wyoming, and we have quite a bit to catch you up on!
Charlie, Kevin, Will, and I (Amanda) spent five days in Cody waiting for Chris and Tina to catch up to us. Of course we didn't mind, considering we had a wonderful time meeting new people and were able to treat our bodies to an abundance of nourishing food and rejuvenating bouts of relaxation. Thanks to all that hosted, entertained, and/or fed us during our stay in Cody. The energy (whether it be spiritual, intellectual, or physical) was just what we needed to propel us onward to Yellowstone.
The journey from Cody to Yellowstone was an adventure in itself. We had been forewarned (probably more than we needed to be) that there have been more grizzly bear attacks this year than in previous years, and that we needed to be most careful in the stretch of mountains outside of the gates of Yellowstone. For peace of mind, we decided to camp in designated campgrounds, where we were able to store our food in bear boxes. Ultimately, we didn't encounter any grizzly bears, which is a bitter-sweet fact. We did, however, spot a mother moose and her calf grazing a patch of plants across the river from our campsite one evening. I believe this moose-sighting was the first for all of the recyclists.
As we pedaled up the mountains and into higher elevation we found it was no longer summertime for the recyclists. We knew this was coming, and were as prepared for the temperature drop as we could be, but it was nevertheless a bit shocking to our systems, which had become accustomed to the warm (often hot) weather. We were a few miles from the gate and another 30 from the nearest place they would allow us to camp in Yellowstone when we heard word of an incoming snowstorm. It was becoming evident we weren't going to make it into the park that day, but there was a ban on soft-shell (tent) camping where we were because of the bear activity.
We needed to find some shelter, and we needed it to be cheap. After all, the recyclists are cycling on a somewhat tight budget. We stopped at a cabin rental place and inquired about rates. We wanted the cheapest room we could get, and assured them that as long as they didn't mind, we would pack in a room like sardines. And that is exactly what we did. We fit eight people in an $89 one-bed room. "Eight people?" you may be wondering. We met two cyclists, John and Olivia, who are biking from British Columbia, Canada to Key West, Florida. They also needed a cheap place to stay, and we were happy to pack a few more sardines into our room.
We woke at three a.m. the next morning and packed our bicycles. We were only a few miles from the gate and knew that if we got there before 6 a.m. we wouldn't have to pay the admission fee. At $12/bicycle, we avoided a hefty $72 entrance fee into Yellowstone (the six of us in a minivan would have paid $25 to get into the park) Avoiding the fee aside, the ride into the park was phenomenal. We were blessed with clear night skies, a beautiful sunrise, and remarkable landscapes. It did end up snowing during our journey into the park, but thankfully it didn't begin until mid-morning when the sun could provide us with just enough warmth to keep our bodies functioning at a healthy level. We had finally made it into the first ever National Park; A relatively untouched stretch of land which is rich in wildlife and geological features.