US Nat Park Report #5 Yellowstone Day 3

After the brilliant hill day previously and with really only 1 day to go in Yellowstone but the feeling we had only scratched the surface we decided to try and cover a lot of ground, get to the North and East edges of the park and check out the wildlife along the way.

The route took us North from Madison junction (the 1st junction when you enter from the West, in a loop up via Norris and east through Mammoth, Tower-Roosevelt and out towards the East Gate … and then at the end of a day we swung down South West again to see the Not-to-be-missed-or-we-will-regret-it-all-our-lives Old faithful!

Throughout your travels in the park you will see Bison (Buffalo) – LOTS of Bison! These majestic, powerful and family oriented beasts wander, graze and inhabit many many areas of the park and its your job to SLOW DOWN when near them (and in fact don’t speed at all!), keep a safe distance and not interfere with them – remember this is nature not a fun fair.. these rides can bite!

Often you see herds grazing lazily down by waterways, moving slowly as a group through the valleys or using the main roads to traverse  the park,  either along them – prepare to be patient and let them take their time – or crossing them to get to familiar grounds – again stop, give them space , take photos from a distance and enjoy the scene.

Please don’t ruin it by taking selfies! It both amazed and saddened me in equal measures to see tourists scream to a halt – doors flung wide , cars abandoned in the road and them rush close to Bison for that “perfect shot” of them with an animal in the scene that has been unchanged for millennia – the irony not lost on me… #Idiots (Disclaimer – I do this on occasion but NOT with animals)

Leaflets and web info provided by the park is exceptional so deciding what to do is not hard – but there is loads so planning helps. Time of year , locations and time of day dictate some activity and certainly what wildlife you may/may not see. I was sad to not see Wolves on this trip but will be back and will spend more time in Lamar Valley for sure, at dawn /dusk to get  glimpse of these amazing animals.

The following photos’s are a collection of Mammoth Springs (utterly stunning and on a grand scale), the road towards the North East of the park (Lamar valley)  and Old Faithful (in that order), with some wildlife along the way. I hope you enjoy them, we definitely plan to go back in years to come and camp to spend much more time in this wonderful place.

Mammoth Hot Springs  – located in the North West portion of the park. For information of formations and geology check out Yellowstones information site and Map

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Start of the extensive springs area and boardwalk
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Looking East
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Mineral deposits creating beautiful colours
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Mammoth is spread over a wide area and is elevated through a number of tiers
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Blow holes surrounded by the thin salts crust – active for thousands of years these geothermal vents are part of a wider super structure round the Yellowstone caldera

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Salt and crystalline deposits form alien architectures like coral in the pools

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The entire hill is a massive section of Travertine, etched and coloured by the springs and minerals coming from them

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At an elevation of a little over 2000m the views are incredible !

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Live and evolving… this boardwalk is slowly being consumed .. if you stand in that water too long your shoes will dissolve and the heat is incredible

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Thermophiles (microscopic organisms) thriving in the heat and chemical soup

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The alien landscape , one side vibrant colour the other acid deplted white and grey
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Travertine pools

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Lamar Valley Road Trip  Taking the road in a long Anticlockwise North and East run we got to experience the stunning vastness of Lamar Valley and its beautiful vistas – Just being out there away from the hustle and bustle of towns is amazing.

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Aren’t they incredible ! – Bison

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Sheep Eater cliff – The Sheep eater tribe were so named for eating long horn sheep, this basalt cliff is the heart of their territory – North West quarter, between Norris and Mammoth))
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Swan Lake (I think, just South of Mammoth) – if anyone knows better please correct me !

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The beautiful expanse of Lamar Valley and the North of the park

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A rare “non bison ” spot – long horn sheep

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Canyon Falls (Artist Point) near Canyon Village

Old Faithful – Swinging back south and west we had to visit this iconic thermal vent for its “regular” eruption. Hint – if going in May wrap up warm and be prepared to wait 😉

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On approach.. venting ahead of the main event!
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Thar she blows! – 100m or more into the sky

Our day done, we set off back to home, via a beautiful riverside driveway and some last glimpses of the wonder of Yellowstone.. too short a visit for sure but now we look to heading South West… Utah – and the next stage of our 3000 miles road trip adventure!

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