Road back from Teklanika to Polychrome pass 9.24.2010. Clear blue sky. The ride was chilly. It was 25F (-4C) and my right foot got really cold. I had overbooties but they are cumbersome and I just suffered with very cold toes on my right foot. Left foot was fine.
While driving in a large wolf trotted by my car...It had a collar and wasn't concerned by my car. There were no bears to be seen. Perhaps they are denning already.
The road starts out uphill almost immediately and continues to the top of Stony Pass. It's fairly steep at times but never really bad. I had a pretty nice tailwind but that doesn't help much going slowly uphill. Golden Eagles circled Stony Mtn and sheep were scattered here and there on the mountain sides. Downhill at 25F is a chilly thing. I had to change balaclava's and gloves as well as put on and take off a windbreak jacket here and there.
My son-in-law got a later start but caught me as I moved up toward Polychrome; he missed the Lynx that crossed the road about 30 meters in back of me. After she crossed her kitten poked his head out and started across the road then saw me and jumped back...then proceeded across the road...with his sibling...two kittens followed mom downhill to the brush and began to hunt. Mom hunted while the kittens followed, crouching and stalking rabbits.
Son in law and I made it to the top of Polychrome pass with no trouble. I had met two other cyclists with no gear, riding in to Polychrome and they took our pic at the overlook. We were planning to camp at Wonder Lake but the wind was strong enough that I didn't want to continue on to Wonderlake and face a 55mile return against a strong wind.
My son in law continued on and I returned. On the way down Poly I met up with hiss dad who had biked out but was much slower than son. He and I biked back to Tek against a strong wind that gusted to 25mph at times forcing us to peddle downhill. We got back in good order but I was chilled to the bone. I had plenty of other clothing I could add but when you're biking hard it's hard to wear a lot of layers and get overheated.
Had the wind not been so bad and perhaps if it had been 10F warmer we would have both easily ridden in and out but it was a really beautiful day with the Park left to us almost entirely alone. Really wonderful.
I also had a wolf trot next to my car as I entered the park. Very nice.
The ride wasn't all that long but it was a good ride and I didn't even think of my butt hurting once. Legs held out well. I was a happy camper even on the two long mountain climbs.