I walked up the river valley at the bottom, and
back down on the aspen-covered ridge at the top right.
The view on the way back down the Aspen ridge
When the failed grouse hunt concluded, it was time to cross Teton pass west into Idaho where I would spend the night. I have now cycled 9,800 miles this year, and the 4 miles to climb Teton Pass were the hardest stretch I have done - bar none. It is a 10% grade the entire way. This means I gained over 2,000 vertical feet in about 4 miles. It was incredible taxing, especially when pushing a loaded bike weighing 85 lbs. I was exhausted when I finally did reach the top, but the view was a nice consolation. The rest of the ride as essentially a nice coast down into Victor, Idaho.
I started WAAAAYYYY down in that valley
The Alley family was cycling over the pass in the other direction.
They gave me a "wing spread" formation as I headed off!
I am staying with Tibby, a friend from high school tonight. She has a really interesting story which currently has her working and living on an organic farm here in Victor, ID. Her and her husband specialize in the production, harvest, and sale of raw milk and cheese made from raw milk (raw = unpasteurized). The general idea is that raw milk has many probiotic properties that are lost during the pasteurization process. Basically, raw milk has living bacteria in it while pasteurized milk does not. As Americans, most of us are horribly (and incorrectly) fearful of anything bacteria. However, this is fast becoming an outdated notion based on much recent research.
For example, much of our individual metabolism is genetic. However, it is becoming increasingly evident that our metabolism is also influenced by the bacteria living in our guts. This collection of gut bacteria is called the "microbiome", and this field of study is currently one of the hottest in biology. Recent experiments have harvested stools from skinny mice and put them into the anus/intestine of fatter mice that have had their native gut bacteria flushed out. That fat mouse will actually get thinner! Likewise, the reverse transplant cane be done and a skinny mouse will gain weight. Pretty cool huh? There is additional evidence that different complements of gut bacteria can influence other aspects of our individual biologies even including brain function. The running joke on my floor at Harvard/Mass General was that in the future there will be a stool bank (like a sperm bank) where people can go to get fecal transplants. It will be called "Shitty bank". Don't laugh too hard - fecal transplants are coming in the near future. A less repulsive idea is that the bacteria in raw milk might alter the microbiome in some beneficial way. Just some food for thought since today's birding was a bit slow today!
The view from Tibby's farm. You can see the Tetons
WAAYYY off to the east against the clouds
A Brown Swiss cow. This is the particular
breed here on the farm. They are very friendly!
Tomorrow I am going to do some grouse hunting in the morning and hopefully head towards Rexburg in the afternoon. Rexburg will be my base as I explore Camas NWR in hopes of finding Gray Partridge.