Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Yellowstone National Park – Day 3

We finally got an earlier start today, and enjoyed the Norris Geyser basin and Mammoth Hot Springs area of Yellowstone National Park. Our first stop was a quick one at Gibbons Falls.

Then we saw this crazy, wild animal in our side mirror. :-)

As always, the views as we drove around the park was beautiful – this is Mount Holmes (10,336 ft) in the distance.

We walked a couple trails at Norris Geyser Basin – this is the most active earthquake area of the park with one of the most acidic hydrothermal areas in area. Steamboat Geyser is here, and is the tallest active geyser in the world, however it is unpredictable.

There was definite evidence (as there is throughout the park) of the 1988 fires…….

Mudpots, of course
 And just some really cool hot springs and geysers – lots of photos!

We continued our drive to the Mammoth Hot Spring area, passing yet another waterfall.

Elk are (were) quite common in this area. We say “were” as since the wolf has been reintroduced, the population of elk has diminished to more reasonable numbers. We were here in 1998 and saw tons of elk all over this area, this time, we saw two elk, but dozens of signs ! :-)

Limestone is the dominant underlying rock and the hot springs here deposit travertine, which is pretty cool! Whereas we’ve seen lots of blues, greens, and terra cottas so far, this area was quite white, which some additional colors – really quite beautiful.

Mammoth Hot Springs is like a little village – here’s a view – quite cute!

We also saw a magpie………..

And one last really cool formation before starting our trek back to West Yellowstone.

But of course, we came upon a traffic jam – was it another bald eagle?  Hmmm….no – it was a grizzly swimming!  Not a bad photo given that he was about a mile away……

We continued along, enjoying more scenery

Until we ran into another animal jam……

This one revolved around elk – some females, calves and a bull elk who was looking for some love! As there was nowhere to pull off the road, Suzanne took these photos while hanging out the window and taking the photos over the roof of the truck – not too bad photos considering! :-)
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