Wednesday, June 5
We spent our time today in two main locations, Mammoth Hot Springs and Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and driving between the two. Mammoth Hot Springs is near by, at the north entrance of the park. It is also the home of Historic Fort Yellowstone-which we have not visited yet. Fort Yellowstone was the home of the US Army troops who protected the park, similar to what occurred at Yosemite, until the Park Service was created in 1916.
My initial impression of Mammoth Hot Springs was of a rather dull location but closer inspection proved me wrong-amazing, isn’t it? Part of the area is inactive, showing where hot springs had flowed previously. The white rock and dead trees are then complemented by several springs, usually colored by minerals and highlighted by steam. As always, you are walking on boardwalks to protect the sensitive areas from intrusion by visitors, and protection from contamination.
As discussed on several of the walks, various microbes, bacteria, and algae live in the waters and contact with human organisms can change the environment for them. Despite all of the warnings, we still see people walking where they hadn’t outta and trying to scoop water out. The differing types of organisms frequently give the color to the thermal feature.
Portions of Mammoth Hot Springs are on elevated terraces giving a great view of the historic fort and valley beyond. The steep hikes provide great exercise even if the walks are not multiple miles long.
The afternoon was spent at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone which is over 1000 feet deep. The heating action of this volcanic area softens the rock slightly to make the erosive effect of the Yellowstone river greater. We did some exploring on our own and took a ranger hike along the south rim.
Again, no bears were sighted. The ranger did point out grizzly claw marks on one of the trees along the trail, about 7 feet up the tree. An English couple staying at the Headwaters of the Yellowstone B and B with us have seen three bears so far.
Ed and Chris June 6 11 pm