Today was another absolutely gorgeous day with a bright sunny sky and at the higher altitudes in the park the temperature was in the mid 60’sF (18C) but in the lower elevations I saw a high of 80F (27C) – sure can’t complain about that.
The park consists of two large loops and being at the north entrance to the park we took the top loop then a bit of the far side of the lower loop down to Fishing Bridge. This would be one of the routes to Old Faithful but the road was closed at Fishing Bridge due to the fire. Where we could have picked up the other part of the lower loop at Norris wasn’t in the cards as the road is closed for construction between Norris & Madison, meaning no access to Old Faithful that way. Had we stayed in West Yellowstone, which was my original plan, we would have been able to get to Old Faithful but no where else in the park so either way we would have been beat to see the whole park.
Today’s drive was absolutely beautiful with lots of great scenery and many places to stop. The Lower & Upper Falls were stunning and could only be seen from overlooks along the canyon rim.
The hot springs are fascinating, they just bubble away and at Mud Volcano there was one spring called dinosaur cave because the wind effect makes it sounds like one – neat.
I will let the pictures tell the story.
Mammoth Hot Springs - Lower Terrace
Liberty Cap - A Dormant Hot Spring Cone
Mammoth Hot Springs - Upper Terrace
Upper & Lower Falls
There is only one campground left open in the park and it is just outside of Mammoth Hot Springs. We took a drive through and it would be nice there but a bit tight to get the trailer through – we were surprised at how busy it still was. There were many signs in the campground to keep away from the elk, apparently they wander at will through it – we saw many tents and wonder what would keep an elk from walking right through one!
We stopped at the Visitor’s Center at Fishing Bridge to eat our lunch then went inside and looked around. The woman on the desk said that tomorrow was their last day for this year – we found that a lot of the places have already closed for the season. She said that this September has been unusual, as September is usually a cold and snowy month in the park, but this year it has been more like August weather. The fellow here at the campground also said it is the best September they have had in years and they have been really busy.
We were disappointed that we had only seen some bison during the day but when we got back to Mammoth Hot Springs there was a whole herd of elk on one of the main squares – they are the resident elk. There was a 12 point bull in the herd and apparently he isn’t usually there, guess he was visiting his ladies. They had park personnel keeping people back and in groups as he could be dangerous if he decided to charge, the Ranger where we were standing said they are less likely to charge a group than a line of people. Fortunately, he wasn’t eager to do any charging while we were looking at him!!!
When we got back into Gardiner it was after 6 so we stopped at a pizza place for dinner – we had a good pizza and a cold beer. When we got home it was after 7 but still warm out so sat outside for a while and then walked around the park before heading in for the night.
The weather forecast for tomorrow is for very cold temperatures with either rain or snow, sure a difference from today, so we will wait and see what happens. I will save some pictures from today to post tomorrow just in case we don't get out because of the weather.
And so ends another great gift of a day and we look forward to another nice day tomorrow.