August 9, 2014
The next day we backtracked through Canyon Village and planned to stop at the Norris Geyser Basin. However, we missed the entrance to Norris at the intersection with the Grand Loop Road. And with that we were headed north to Mammoth Hot Springs!
Soon the traffic on the highway stopped. Eventually we saw a brown bear walking along the other side of the road-- that is we saw it until it disappeared behind a huge tour bus! But I got a short video clip of the bear
once we'd cleared the bus.
The terrain around Mammoth Hot Springs is quite different from what it looks like further south in Yellowstone. There aren’t as many trees. It’s rather arid. While we’d seen a lot of thermal activity the previous day, Mammoth Hot Springs is much more “minimalistic.” The graceful terraces are beautifully colored. They seemed delicate.
Mary Anne and I commented what we remembered seeing here in 1989. Our recollections were of large, wet terraces with lots of flowing cascades. This time we were struck by how dry the terraces were.
Even though Mammoth Hot Springs aren’t as “vigorous” as other places in Yellowstone, there were plenty of tour buses filled with tourists from overseas. At the Overlook to the Main Terrace, Kyle had a humorous conversation with a German tourist. Kyle was asked if Americans traveled very much. The tourist said, “It seems like ninety percent of us here in Yellowstone are from China, Japan, and Europe!” And that was an interesting observation.
Leaving Mammoth Hot Springs, we followed Kyle and headed easterly on the Grand Loop Road. There the terrain began looking quite alpine. We drove through large open meadows fringed with trees. It reminded us of areas in the Rocky Mountain area of Estes Park, Colorado.
Then Kyle turned off the paved roadway onto Blacktail Plateau Drive. It was 10-15 miles of one-lane gravel roadway. Top speed was 25 mph. We saw hunting birds. We also saw, up on a mountain-side, a mamma grizzly with her two cubs. Priceless.
Back in Canyon Village we attended mass in the amphitheater of the campground. The officiating Jesuit priest was from a college in Pennsylvania. He delighted in telling us of the fine fish he had caught and released that morning!
Then, once again on the highway between Canyon Village and Bay Bridge Campground, we encountered buffalo. This time we saw several swimming across the Yellowstone River. Priceless!
Go here for: YouTube video of Bison