From the Archives
DAY 3 - Friday
We wake up bright and early and head to the Wolf And Grizzly Center. Which is basically a zoo dedicated to these animals. It is better than a zoo as there are just 2 very large outdoor habitats for the animals. Wolves on the right, Bears on the left. It costs 10 dollars, but it is worth it to see the animals up-close, without fear of being mauled. At first the wolves were sleeping so we watched the Bears. Really cool, very large Bears rummaging for food, and bathing in the river. The wolves then became active so I watched them, and I got prime location for picture taking without a fence in the way. Landis had to remind me to be polite and let other people have the good spot. I am glad he did, because I always get so mad when I want a good shot and someone is manipulating the good spot. After we got bored of watching the animals we headed back to meet my parents to go back into the park.
As soon as we hit the entrance to the park it starts raining buckets again. We decide to keep going in hopes the storm stays south as we head north to hit the upper loop for Mammoth Hot Springs. My parents HATE Mammoth, but Landis had never been so I demanded we go. 49 miles ahead. We are about 5 miles short when the rain lets up, and we get stuck in a traffic jam. Its a huge jam, and people are getting out of their cars (thankfully leaving the drivers to move forward) to take pictures of whatever animal is causing it. We think it HAS to be a bear or a moose for this size jam, nope. a Buffalo. a darn Buffalo has caused 30-45 minute delay jam. You want to see buffalo? Head to the southern loop. They are everywhere. So we arrive at Mammoth and start with the drive through tour of the upper terrace.
The view just before mammoth
This is one of the few examples of a new hotspot opening up in the road. A better one is near Mud Volcano, where a large 3 foot opening has opened up in the middle of the road, but I didn't get a picture so we have this. Still cool though.
My Parents are actually impressed. Because of the rain, its a cool 70 degrees, rather than the 100-110 that Mammoth normally is. And its wet so the springs are more active, and more colorful. We stop at the over look for the Lower terraces get a nice picture of the town below, and I see a bus YAY. There is a spring named New Blue Spring... that is now Old Dried Up Extinct Hole In The Ground... yeah, its extinct. We head down to the lower terraces and my parents drop us off to hike the Terraces. Most of which is dried up at this point. There are a few wet, alive spots, but the rest is dried up, slumbering, if not extinct springs. After zigzagging through this maze, a map of which really didn't help distinguish anything, I remember where the cool part is. Back to where we were parked earlier, and all the way to the top, around the view of the top of the lower terrace, across, and back down the other side. We have time so we go for it.
Just as we start back down the other side towards Canary Springs, we pass what appears to be a brand new terrace being formed. A new hot spring has opened up, and little baby terraces are being formed with calcite into the grassy hillside. Disappearing into the old dried up terraces below. Terraces are formed as the spring wells up and deposits calcite which gets higher and higher and then drops to a pool below and starts the process again. The ending result is really spectacular. So we are going down and I stop for a picture when I hear this woman explaining to her child that the terraces used to be a couple of feet high each, rather than a few inches. I offered that I believe the larger terraces were further down. She then proceeds to complain that Minerva Terrace has dried up. Just the tone of her voice made me want to say whoa.. sorry the planets evolution didn't stop to consult you before changing its course.
A new born terrace? I Think so. Give it 30-50 years this will be the new impressive terrace at Mammoth hot springs. Of course they will need to build new board walks, but I wholly plan on watching this one grow up.
We arrive to Canary springs. I was right, it is still active and still impressive. The terraces are still large and flowing water. I notice a few tree's that have been over taken by the growing terraces. Very cool. Landis really liked this part of the park. We head back up and back towards my parents. All the way to Tower my parents cant stop gushing about how nice Mammoth was today, and how they hated this area of the park before (due to not much to see and it being extremely hot) but today it was just gorgeous and nice. :) Go me.
On the way to Tower (18 mils) we hit the petrified tree. which is a large stump, that doesn't look petrified to me. And its encased in a fence. Very lovely. We then hit tower fall which is a very pretty fall. Unfortunately the lookout has too many trees in the way and you don't get a perfect unobstructed view of the falls. There is a hike down, but if memory serves me right, its hard, and kind of scary so we opted to skip it and continue down the road. Through the very scary Dunraven Pass.This 19 mile stretch of road is very pretty, and honestly your best shot at seeing Bear or moose, but is an extremely scary drive, and there is not much to do. We did see a moose with a large rack chewing its cud on this route, which was cool, not to mention this skeleton.
Back to Canyon Village to grab a bite to eat we stopped for another animal jam. I got out to see what the hubbub was about, and determined it was an expective wait. Apparently a grizzle and her cubs have been seen in this area every night for the past few nights... yea not waiting for that. We continued on to Canyon to get dinner. Then the 40 mile journey back to the cabin. We did more shopping in West Yellowstone, and I picked up some beer.
Back at the cabin we stayed up with my dad to play poker. I drank my beer, but I was pouring it into a glass and hiding the cans from him. This was more out of respect. He knew I was drinking, and I knew he knew, but I was keeping the obvious signs out of sight out of respect. Thinking back, I hope he understood that and didn't think I was insulting his intelligence. Had a good time playing poker and reminiscing with my dad. I got the chance to ask if all the stories he used to tell us as kids were true. They are. My dad is an Indian blood brother. Worked as a Carney, was attacked by a mountain lion, and several other things. I think that all will have to wait for another blog.
Stay tuned for day 4 and a secret BONUS blog! w00t. Comments are appreciated.
Erika You got some truly awesome pictures. My son especially likes the ones of the "cute puppies". LOL. Tried to explain, but he can't grasp the concept, yet. I'm glad you had fun. You should really investigate into writing documentaries. Very riveting. Can't wait for the next installment!