Saturday, October 25, 2014

Yellowstone and Geezer VII - Yellowstone Day 2

September 29
We woke up this morning to heavily overcast skies, but by the time we were ready to leave the skies were lightening and we could actually see some blue skies to the west.  Today we were headed to the Mammoth Hot Springs area which is near the northern entrance to the park.  We retraced out route through the Lamar Valley and again saw many buffalo along the road and off in the distance.  Today when we reached the Tower Roosevelt Junction we continued west rather than turning south where we had come up yesterday.  Below on the map is today's route highlighted in yellow.  Today the road closure (marked in black with an "X" through it) played a big part in our travels.  Instead of driving south out of Mammoth to the Madison Junction we had to go all the way back around.

It seems everywhere you go in Yellowstone the scenery is beautiful.  

We reached Mammoth Hot Springs by late morning and decided to head north a few miles and visit the town of Gardner which is just outside the park.  We wanted to buy some sandwiches for lunch and I wanted to see the Roosevelt Arch which is just before you enter the park.  After taking care of business in Gardner, we headed back to Mammoth Hot Springs where the weather had warmed up into the 50's and we were able to have a picnic lunch outside rather than sit in the car like yesterday.

The Roosevelt Arch
Mammoth Hot Springs, as you might imagine from the name, is a another hydro thermal area.  This area was different than yesterday, instead of geysers and mud pots, there were beautiful terraces formed by the minerals from the runoff from the hot springs.  Some were still flowing and others had dried up and we read that this changes all the time, with some dormant ones coming back to life and vice versa.  We had blue skies mixed clouds that varied from puffy white to ominous black.

This is Palette Spring and is part of the Lower Terrace Area.

As we walked back to the car from the Main Terrace Area
there were several elk enjoying an afternoon rest.

This is the Main Terrace Area.

I believe this is called Orange Spring Mound.

After exploring the area for a while it was time to head to our destination for the night, the Old Faithful Lodge.  Normally the drive is only about 19 miles, but since a section of the road was closed for repair, we had to take a forty mile detour.  We retraced our mornings drive back to Tower Roosevelt Junction, but instead of continuing east through the Lamar Valley we turned south to the Canyon Junction.  As we were making this drive the clouds grew darker and darker and it finally started to rain just as we had stopped to visit Tower Fall.  We donned our rain gear and made the short hike to Tower Fall, but didn’t stay long as it was raining pretty hard.

A rainy picture of Tower Falls.
As we drove along we spotted this you big horn sheep. 
The picture was taken from the car as we were moving by so it's not very sharp.
At Canyon Junction we turned west to head back to Madison Junction where we finally turned south towards the Old Faithful Inn.  The rain had continued up until we reached Madison Junction, but thankfully had stopped by the time we reached the Inn.  We got checked-in and settled in for awhile, then went to dinner in the dining room.  After dinner we walked around the lodge a bit and then called it a night.  We still haven’t decided where we will go tomorrow so that decision will have to wait until morning.

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