Wednesday, December 28, 2011

THE Trip, Yellowstone National Park, Driving to Mammoth Hot Springs

Copyright 2011, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

On June 25th 2011 we made our last visit to Yellowstone National Park.  We left West Yellowstone, drove to Madison and turned north.  At Norris we kept going north, heading to Mammoth Hot Springs.  On tap for the day is to have lunch at Mammoth Hot Springs, then drive what I am calling the north loop, east to the Tower-Roosevelt area, then south to Canyon Village area and returning to Norris, Madison and West Yellowstone.

Below:  Sheepeater Cliff, name for the Shoshone Indians who used the bighorn sheep.  The cliffs are now a very popular climbing place, for young and old(er) alike.  You can't tell from this photo, but, lots of youngsters just scamper up this cliff, almost as if they are bighorn sheep.

Sony brings us closer.  And, no, Man, nor I, attempted a climb.

Below:  another view of the area, more cliffs  The cliffs were formed some 500,000 years ago by basalt lava that formed these columnar joints when it cooled.

This is the Golden Gate area, ya, we drove over that bridge, and ya, ole Carol was looking out the window of Big Butt on that far right side.

On some park signage nearby I found this photo and information.  The signage explains that a wooden trestle was built in 1885 by the Corps of Engineers.  It has been replaced twice since 1900.  I have to say, I am really glad it was replaced, cause the chances of getting me over this wooden thing are slim and NONE!

Turn around 180 degrees from the view of the bridge and behind you, Rustic Falls.  Putting the search engine to work I found some web sites, one web site that talked about Rustic Falls, here, and another site is here.   Fun to look at the difference in the amount of water coming over the falls on these two sites.

Continuing our drive north to Mammoth Hot Springs, at one point you can see the town, the Albright Visitor Center and Historic Fort Yellowstone, below.

We drove through the Upper Terraces area, and probably would have stopped for a photo op or two, but we could not find a parking spot for Big Butt (and we were getting hungry!).  But, Man snapped this nice photo of the Orange Spring Mound out the truck window.  This spring flows from vents from the top and the side.  The color comes from thermophiles that living in the hot water. (As a reminder, when I link to another web site, you must be the judge as to the validity of the information.  I find em, lead you to em, you read em and judge em!)

The formation below is called Liberty Cap, it is 37 feet tall, created from a hot spring that was active in this one location for maybe hundreds of years.  The internal pressure raised the water to a great height, which allowed the mineral deposits to slowly build up.  Kinda cool, err, warm eh??

We finally made our way into Mammoth Hot Springs and had a wonderful lunch.   Many of our friends asked us if we saw the herds of elk while there.  Well, mmm, NO.  Not one elk.  Even the sign said we should see elk.  SIGHH.

We did spy this bird, it is a black-billed magpie.

And, we saw these rodents, believed to be the Uinta ground squirrel. They were busy little creatures, scurrying, having some lunch of the weeds and grasses growing there.

I have to admit, they are kinda cute, and my faithful readers will remember how much I love (?) rodents.  NOT!!

After our lunch we wandered over to the visitors center, and had a look at the displays.  It was time to get back on the road, we will head east towards the Tower-Roosevelt area, and we will have a bit of a close encounter with - - well, come on back, and soon I'll show you - -



irisheyes jennifer said...

Great photos Carol! I especially like the Orange Spring Mound. There is no way you would get me on that bridge way back when it was made of wood, and I'd even need a lot of convincing to go over now, but the view looks spectacular.


Michelle Goodrum said...

Love the last rhodent pic next to the red bucket.

Ya know I keep tagging your posts under "travel"
Before you know we will be able to go almost anywhere in this country and find something fun and interesting based on your travel posts!

Lynne Carothers said...

I loved looking at your photos of this part of Yellowstone. When we were at the same location several years ago, we had to try to get around all the elk to find a place to picnic! They were everywhere. The formations are amazing.

Lisa Wallen Logsdon said...

This was really special Carol! Your blog would have been an absolute favorite of my parents if they were still living! They have been to many of these places. Most of their photos were on slides that my brother now has. They loved Yellowstone and I'm pretty sure I saw that same little squirrel in some of their photos, LOL!

Carol said...

Thanks gals, Jennifer, that wooden bridge made me weak kneed just looking at the photo! LOL

Michelle, I liked that last photo too, gotta admit, they are kinda cute sitting there like that. I hope to bring more and more travel posts, thank you.

Lynne, thanks. What elk?? :-))

Lisa, MMM, as every good family researcher knows, your parents probably saw the ancestor of my little squirrels. Fitting somehow, between researchers.