The last of the pictures from Yellowstone. Most of these are taken early in the morning at Mammoth Hot Springs.
On Sunday we drove to Tower Junction on the only road in Yellowstone that is open during the winter to do some cross country skiing on the 10 mile Chittenden Loop Trail.
Practically the whole way out on the loop was uphill. When we got to the top the map had indicated that the remaining terrain was steeper than what we experienced coming up.
About this time we were hanging out and a fairly serious looking skier was passing by. We decided to consult with him about the rest of the trail.
I asked him if the way back was steep. He asked us if our skis had metal edges and we said they didn’t. Regarding the way we were about to go his exact words were “I wouldn’t do it”.
I laughed at this nervously, alternating between thinking he might actually be right, we should turn around, and that he was just underestimating our abilities to navigate what lay ahead. It did turn out to be steeper than the way out, but it wasn’t a big deal.
The first evening we spent the remaining daylight walking around the boardwalks of the upper and lower terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs. Say Wikipedia
Mammoth is a large hill of travertine that has been created over thousands of years as hot water from the spring cooled and deposited calcium carbonate (over two tons flows into Mammoth each day in a solution). Although these springs lie outside the caldera boundary, their energy has been attributed to the same magmatic system that fuels other Yellowstone geothermal areas.
This was my first visit to West Thumb Geyser Basin near Yellowstone Lake in the southeast corner of the park.
Our second day we drove over the the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and walked over to Inspiration Point on the north rim. The road was closed and we had the place all to ourselves.
We also did a 5 mile out and back to Cascade Lake, where we saw a couple of mellow looking bison hanging out under a tree.
In the evening we ended up checking out the geothermal features at Mammoth Hot Springs. I hadn’t been there all summer and it was interesting to see how the area changed.
Hilary and I just got back from a weekend trip to Yellowstone. Cold weather finally hit Montana and everything was looking rather wintery.
Our first evening we ended walking around Norris Geyser Basin as darkness set in. In the low light the rising steam from the geothermal features combined with the barren landscape made for a surreal experience.
After we left Virginia City we stopped at Norris Hot Springs, about 45 minutes west of Bozeman. The next day Hilary and I went down to Yellowstone with my roommate Ben and his girlfriend Sarah. We tromped around in the woods for a little while and then went to the Boiling River. It was a big weekend with two hot springs in two days, not too shabby.
The same day as the Christmas Stroll Hil and I took a trip to Yellowstone with the Boiling River as our destination. On the way in the park we saw antelope and a whole mess of bighorn sheep climbing this hillside.
The sun came through the clouds intermittently to make for a fine day for Yellowstone in December. All these pictures were taken with a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 prime lens.
These are the last of the pictures of Yellowstone from last weekend. After Norris we went to Upper Geyser Basin. It was the first time I’d seen it in the snow. Certainly way less tourists trying to see Old Faithful than in the summertime. The giant parking lot was almost completely empty.
I enjoyed the cold weather because it brought out the contrast between the temperatures inside the Earth and on its surface. Seeing the exact same things in the summer is a totally different experience.
Saturday in Yellowstone they had closed all but the northernmost road from Mammoth to Tower due to the snow. I really wanted to check out some geothermal stuff farther south, but the prognosis for road openings Sunday looked grim.
We headed towards Upper Mammoth Terrace with the plan of going for a walk around there (this area is open year-round) and hoping that the road south would be opened up by the time we were done. (This was about 11 am)
We arrived at the parking area to see the familiar sight from Saturday of the ranger’s Jeep parked in front of the barricade across the road with a half dozen or so tourist cars parked nearby. Hilary’s plan was to go over and talk to the ranger about when they might open the road.
No sooner did I turn the engine off and get out did we hear someone in an excited tone say something about “saddling up” and see the waiting people file into their cars as the ranger proceeded to open the gates.
We headed through the gate and south on a newly plowed and sanded road through pine forests covered in a fresh blanket of snow.
It was one of those moments where everything works out and you can’t help but think the universe made it happen just for you.
It has been snowing in Bozeman for the last 3 days. Hilary and I took a trip down to Yellowstone for the weekend. The landscape made it seem like winter had arrived, although I’m hoping for a little more fall before it really sets it.
After the Beartooth Highway we camped by Cooke City in what would turn out to be one of my favorite campsites of the trip. The next day we drove across the northern part of the park to the Boiling River, which was open to the public (Unlike when I was there with my sister Rebecca a few weeks earlier) They were doing some work on it though as the Boiling River had apparently “changed course” a little bit.
From Mammoth we went south to one of my favorite spots, the Old Faithful area, where we spent a decent amount of time making fun of how big of a deal Old Faithful is made up to be. We skipped waiting for Old Faithful in order to see the more interesting features nearby.
My old friends the geothermal features were still looking good, as always. I am a big fan of the concept of revisiting places. I’m specifically talking about the natural world but as I sit here in Asheville for the first time in 8 months I think this idea applies to cities as well.
Things are constantly changing with the day to day weather, the seasons, and just the random changes that constantly occur in the universe on any given number of levels.
One of the first things we did on the drive back to Asheville was head east on I-90 for a short while, then turn south onto the Beartooth Highway down to the northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park.
From north to south the road goes from the small town of Red Lodge, Montana, to the way smaller town of Cook City, Wyoming.
I had heard a lot about this road but living in Bozeman it isn’t on the way anywhere so I hadn’t been on it yet. It was an amazing way to begin what would be a fairly epic 3000 mile journey back home.