Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Buffalo, two Sandhill Cranes and a trip to Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone

Today we drove from Helena, Montana to Whitefish, Montana and tomorrow we plan to get up early and visit the Glacier National Park.  It was about a 300 mile drive and we passed by the prettiest scenery.  I have not been able to take my eyes off the places we have driven by.  The scenery changed from rural farmland to pine tree covered forests.  


In the meantime I am still continuing my posts from a few days ago, this one relating to a visit to Mammoth Hot Springs when we were in Yellowstone and some of the first buffaloes we saw that day.  This post is from August 25th, 2013  and was our 15th day on the road.  We were 4,641 miles away from home.

We are staying in West Yellowstone,  right near the west entrance of Yellowstone National Park, a place we love.  It is our second visit here.   Our last  was seven years ago.

Anticipation!   10.26 a.m. and we are in the park.  The first buffalo we saw caused a big stir among many visitors.  There are several pull-offs for you to be able to view the animals and using your common sense is a very important.

This fellow eventually made his way up to the road and the gentleman went back to his car when he saw where the buffalo was heading.

As thought,  a buffalo caused a traffic jam.   We took several pictures.  

One of the many Park Rangers showed up and assertively told people to move along as people drove too slowly and the Ranger was trying to get everyone going.  More importantly they are there to make sure that visitors stay safe.

We were okay, we had pulled off onto a designated pull-off and watched him eat his way up to the road. I heard the Ranger say to two young men who had done the same,"that"s okay man, you'll be fine if you stay behind your car."

And off that lovely animal went up the road.

onto the next patch of tasty grass no doubt.  And we stayed behind our car the whole time!

11.20 a.m.  Just stopped by Gibbons Falls.  

We were to pass them many times over the few days we were there.

There were plenty of opportunities for a horse ride if you wanted one.

11. 30 a.m. We spotted a pair of Sandhill Cranes.
They were amazing to watch.  I have never seen them before.

We were in Mammoth by the noon hour and we strolled up to Mammoth Hot Springs and listened to a Park Ranger talk for half-an-hour on their history.  In the photo below the formation on the right is called the Liberty Cap and is a dormant hot spring cone.  It is 37 feet tall and marks the location of a hot spring (and possible geyser) that stayed in one location for a long time.  Over the years the geyserite built this tower-like structure.  What is most unusual about it is that the spring did not seal itself closed as it built the cone.  The formation was named Liberty Cap by the Hayden Survey team that visited Yellowstone in 1871, referring to the peaked caps worn during the French Revolution.  Liberty cap is located in the Mammoth Hot Springs section of the park.

The Park Ranger must have given this talk a thousand times but he still made it seem fresh and very interesting.

It was hot and I really regretted not putting my hat on when we left the car.  My hat and I are becoming one.  I also forgot my bottle of water in the car.  Word to the wise, don't forget either on a hot day.

And I was amazed that flowers still grow nearby.

You can read more about Mammoth Hot Springs here.