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« On The Road to Yellowstone National Park | Main | On The Road to Grand Teton »

07/15/2012

On The Road to Mammoth Hot Springs

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We covered so much ground today at Yellowstone - it seemed like three days in one!  We hit the road early, heading toward Mammoth Hot Springs.

 

We drove past waterfalls, wildlife and a petrified tree, dating back to the eocene times!

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When a chain of volcanoes errupted at this location 50 million years ago, they triggered massive landslides.  The rolling mix of ash, water and dirt covered the forest.  The silica in the lava flow plugged the living cells in the trees creating a "forest of stone."  The locked gate protects the only reaining petrified tree at Yellowstone! As we continued north, we saw several cars parked along the side of the road.  This could mean only one thing - a wildlife sighting!  We were in luck - it turned out to be a mother black bear with 2 cubs!  This was a great area to spot black bears - up the road we were treated to yet another!

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The scenery changed dramatically as we approached Mammoth Hot Springs.  About 50 hot springs are concentrated in this area - the average temperature is 160-degrees!  Remember, Yellowstone is sitting  over a volcano - in some spots the magma chamber is only 5 miles from the surface!

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As if we hadn't had our fill of hot springs and geysers, we left Mammoth to check out the Norris Geyser Basin, another Yellowstone "hot spot!"  Ranger Dave explained about Yellowstone's last super-volcano, 640-thousand years ago!

 

We decided to make the Yellowstone loop complete and visit Old Faithful one more time, just to blow off a little steam!

 

We topped off the evening celebrating my husband's birthday with "Lava Cake" or "Caldera Cake" as they call it here!  The drive back to the lodge at sundown in the rain was a little unerving, but that's all part of the adventure!  

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Tomorrow our final destination - Grand Teton!

 

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