Rounding out our YNP experience we headed out late morning to Mammoth Springs at the northern edge of the park. On the way up we checked out Roaring Mountain. Lots of thermal vents of various kinds. Years ago when the mountain was more active the roar could be heard four miles away. That’s impressive.
Also impressive is Mammoth Hot Springs. The terracing created by flows of sulfuric stuff through the rhyolite is unusually pretty. It’s amazing how hot water and gas can create so many different variations. Extremely interesting and another glimpse into the handiwork of our creative, powerful God.
We had lunch—ice cream—at the grill in the village of MHS and then drove a backroad up to the north entrance of YNP. Good call because we saw elk and pronghorn grazing on the hillside. I think pronghorns are the coolest looking animals with their colorful markings and fluffy white butts. But that’s me…
On the return trip to West Yell we stopped into Norris Geyser Basin, which was slammed earlier in the day, and walked around the boardwalk to see its version of hot water coming up through the ground. I still wasn’t getting tired of the fumaroles, cauldrons and springs. But we forewent the loop around the back basin in favor of a beer back in camp.
The Madison River elk family greeted us again on the final leg into West Yell; this time they were just hanging on the far side of the river with the big boy looking over his harem. Yep, another great day in our great nation’s first and greatest national park! Next up: The Grand Tetons!
After visiting wildlife-filled Lamar Valley in the morning and then a mediocre lunch at the unexpected yet friendly grill in Canyon Village we covered the short distance to first the North then the South Rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Beautiful canyon wall colors, lots of water in the Yellowstone River. More stunning beauty. Does not get old.
A short distance south from there is the Mud Volcano area. I’d also visited this area several years ago but it’s so cool (not literally!) I was excited to see it again. I’ll let the pics & vids speak for themselves. Very impressive area!
As we were closing down the day’s sightseeing, headed down alongside the Madison River toward West Yellowstone we came upon a herd of elk, grazing and relaxing on an island in the mid of the river. Such beautiful animals. (Tasty chops, too!) We’ve been treated to bison, elk, deer, trumpeter swans, and myriad birds & ground crawlers. Still got eyes out for bear and moose!
We made an early morning departure (5:30) to head across the park to the Lamar River Valley for some wildlife viewing. And accomplished our goal! Almost immediately into the wide valley we encountered a few solitary bison and then a buffalo jam a few miles down the road. So cool to wait and watch as these majestic beasts graze and roll and chase each other alongside (and on) the road.
Several times the animals were within a couple feet so we just continued rolling slowly along, trying to not disturb them. Great picture opps, great videos and sounds. So fortunate to have experienced so many bison in one place. Truly great!
A ways down valley several groups were lining the road, reportedly spying a wolf across the meadow. While we didn’t see one it was still kinda cool to know one was likely out there, as professional guides were camped out watching.
After reaching the northeast entrance to the park we retraced our tracks in Lamar Valley to take in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and Mud Volcano Area, which I cover here.