mammoth hot springs

by Anne

[September 3rd]

Yellowstone NP has been a magical place of untold wonders in my mind for as long as I can remember. It was on top of my seemingly unattainable bucket list of course; it feels good, you see, to have hopes and dreams, plans and goals, whether they come to fruition or not.

And then we booked that very long flight via Dallas to visit our children in Vancouver – you do know that you need a visa to pass through Dallas, Britt queried. OH NO!

A blessing in disguise it turned out to be, then, when Britt suggested we take the second week of our vacation away together to Yellowstone which is a mere hop away from Fernie where we were heading to fish for the first week.

And so it was that we passed through the enormous stone gate this day.

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0009eLooking back after entering Yellowstone NP at the north gate.

I arrive with expectations and mysteries to solve. Immediately, expectations are transformed and mysteries pass right under my nose, veiled.
We climb ever higher and higher, flanked by forests of trees, and suddenly there it is, Mammoth Hot Springs.
I am always implausibly disorientated upon finding myself amidst any new collection of structures, but I am in good hands which means I can sit back and relax. B and G always figure out masterfully where we need to be.

Mammoth hot springs! Could it be!
So much more, at least for me!
Once again, photos simply cannot do justice to what to me feels like a fantastical dream, so this is just a taste!

We stopped off to explore the lower terrace before heading on to Madison Campground where we were to be based for the first couple of nights.

mammoth-map

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Liberty Cap (11m) so named in 1871 because of its resemblance to the peaked knit caps symbolizing freedom and liberty during the French Revolution [pink 1 on map]

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Palette Spring [pink 2 on the map]

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Devil’s Thumb0009j0009k0009l

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Palette Spring from above [pink 3 on the map] [photo by Hugo]

As we wander further afield we find ourselves surrounded by more of a moonscape. Activity on these terraces fluctuates considerably over the years. Minerva Terrace is dry right now. Mound Terrace was dormant for decades but recently started flowing again. In the 1980s Jupiter Terrace flowed heavily, overtaking boardwalks several times.

Missing in the photos is the trickle of crystal clear waters and the activity of thermophiles, the smell of sulphur and welcoming warm steam on a cool day.

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Fauna at the Springs

Time is marching on with some distance yet to cover, at 40kms/hr, to our campsite; the main and upper terraces will have to wait…

Excitement along the way, albeit not much more than a speck, down, down in the valley. Still, people have gathered and binoculars are out:

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It’s a GRIZZLY!

Next stop, camp! The board announces that the campground is full but thankfully we had reserved a site, so we sail on by.
In double quick time, the tents are up and supper is on the horizon.

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Rain is in the air…

Thought for today:
The most miserable pettifogging in the world is that of a man in the court of his own conscience. -Henry Ward Beecher, preacher and writer (1813-1887)

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