September 15, 2005
Today we are waking up to 32 degrees and crystal clear skies. The plan is to go to Mammoth Hot Springs and work our way back. It's about eighty five miles up there so will be a long drive on the slow park roads. Sandy and Steve decided to go with us which will be a lot of fun.
First stop though was Old Faithful. It only erupts about every 94 minutes now so we thought we'd try to catch it early. It had about and hour to go when we got there so took the board walk around Old Faithful to look at some of the other geysers. Timing was such that we never got to see any of them really go off. We did get up close and personal with a small herd of Bison that were resting in the area.
We got back just in time to see Old Faithful go off and it was a good one. Water can shoot up 100 to 200 feet and our best guess was that this time it was closer to the 200 foot mark.
We wanted to go into the old Yellowstone Lodge but it had closed just this last Sunday for renovation, restoration and earth quake retrofitting. Marilyn had never seen the lodge so we were a little disappointed.
We didn't make any more stops until we got to Mammoth Springs. Actually we went beyond the town to the old original stone arch gate into Yellowstone Park. It's a really neat structure that sits pretty much out in the middle of nowhere. The tiny town of Gardiner sits just outside of the gate.
As we were driving back through the town of Mammoth we spotted a herd of Elk sitting on the lawn of a hotel. There was one bull Elk that was hot on the trail of a female Elk. They actually started mating right there on the lawn. No modesty around here! It was actually an amazing sight and not one that very many people ever get to witness.
Next stop was the Terraces. These geothermal features are very pretty with an appearance of a frozen waterfall. The colors range from a brilliant white to a deep orange. There are the Upper Terraces and the Lower Terraces, both are beautiful and both are different. You should stop at both and walk around to get a good look at them. There was a lady painting the terraces and we all laughed that she was a little heavy with the orange. Of course we didn’t see the final product.
As we headed south we stopped by many different geothermal sites some spectacular and some not so spectacular. One of our favorites is the Fountain Paint Pots that look like thick gray paint bubbling away. It makes this great blurping sound as each bubble gets bigger and then pops.
Along our way we were slowed or stopped several times by herds of Bison. They saunter along and across the roads at will without regard for any traffic. They are a magnificent animal to see and sometimes you get to see them closer than you'd like.
We got back to camp around 7:15 and had a late dinner again. We were pooped and decided not to go to the ranger talk again. Maybe we can make it tomorrow night which will be our last night here.