Mammoth Hot Springs

Our last stop on our anniversary in the park was the Mammoth Hot Springs area. I was reading our guide book about the area just about the time I heard Caleb excitedly squeal "ELKS!" from the backseat. And then I heard Ian say, "Holy cow, check these things out!" About that time I had come to the part that said to be sure to drive around the square to see the elk sunning themselves on the lawn. Yep, there they were...

Some folks were brave (or stupid) enough to get out of their cars and approach the elk to take closer pictures. We decided to play it safe ~ for the sake of the children ~ and stay in the car.

We drove just around the corner and this
alien landscape greeted us. Mammoth Hot Springs totally lived up to its "otherworldly" appearance that we'd heard about! For a look at the really unusual, this area is not to be missed in Yellowstone.

The tall "peak" is actually a dormant hot spring cone. I'm sure that was an interesting "thermal feature" when it was active!

We began to explore the maze of boardwalks around the area when Caleb (who was clutching his animal identification card as if his life depended on it) started excitedly proclaiming, "Bunny!" Both Ian and I were prepared to tell him to keep up and that there were no bunnies here when low and behold, we noticed the long eared Jackrabbit just beside the boardwalk and Caleb was correctly pointing to it on the card. I really need to learn my lesson about doubting that boy!

Hello Mr. Bunny!

His amazing identification skills apparently got to his brain and before long Caleb was trying to identify any bird that flew by. Cute for sure, but as anyone who has toured with me before knows how I can get focused, I began thinking (and maybe even saying) "We're burning daylight here sweetie!"

It was the end of a long, hot day, and at this point Caleb was protesting walking. His stall tactic was brilliant ~ he sat down, pointed to an owl, and would say, "Owl say hoo-hoo!" Cute ~ the first five times...

Eventually we managed to get Caleb to come along (read that Ian carried him) and we traded taking photos with another family in front of the terraces.

It looked like a glacier, but is actually travertine (a mineral build-up) that is the result of about 50 hot springs in the area.

This one made me think of a snowy morning in a field.

As a trade to keep the peace when Caleb laid claim to the animal identification card, we allowed Kylie to use the old point and shoot to record her perspective of the trip. She took her role very seriously and on the first day spent a lot of time asking us if she should take a picture of a certain thing. By the second day she had fallen into her role of photographing and had a pretty good eye for a three year old! Despite the fascinating landscape, Kylie eventually decided that her cute little brother made a more interesting subject to photograph.

This was my favorite of the series I took of her photographing him.

Are these two seriously cute kids or what? Poor Caleb's face was so chapped from having us wipe his nose about 5,672 times on Thursday and Friday. He had one dreadful head cold but managed to keep his sunny disposition all the same!

By the time we finally headed from Mammoth back to the West entrance we knew we were going to be getting a late dinner. As we came around one of the last corners before we got back to Madison Junction, we noticed a bunch of cars stopped on the side of the road. In the interest of time's sake we almost kept going, but at the last second Ian encouraged me to pull over to see what everyone was looking at. It was a good thing we did. We made our only bear spotting in that stop.

Did you find it? Follow the white tree trunk furthers to the right in the middle of the picture up to the top. Just above it you will see a black dot. Yep, that's the closest we got to a bear this time.

We rolled into West Yellowstone at about 9:15 and forgot any pretenses of finding a nice place for us to have an anniversary dinner. We settled for the Canyon Diner and had burgers and onion rings. By the time we made it back to the campground we had to wake the kids for quick showers and then we all crashed!


Cindy M said...

For the love of Pete, Kristi. How is it that you made closer contact with a bear on a multi-lane highway than in the middle of Yellowstone?!

Are you sick of me and the bear jokes yet?

LOVE LOVE LOVE that picture of Kylie taking a picture of Caleb!

And, yes, those are two of the cutest kids I've ever seen. Ever.

The pictures of Mammoth Springs are bizarre and beautiful! What an amazing landscape!

Nancy said...

That was freaky seeing all the elk with the buildings all around!

Love the photo of Kylie taking a photo of Caleb. Little miss photog!

Anonymous said...

Just as I'm thinking to myself, "Man I'd like some of that travertine for my bathroom" you went and posted the cutest photos ever of your kids! I love how kids smile for other kids holding a camera. It gives you a look into their "peer" personality.

And the part of WY that we drove through yesterday just wasn't as spectacular. It was honestly quite flat and dull. We went over a little bump in the road and noticed the Continental Divide sign. Seriously?