I’ve spent time in quite a few mountainous state parks, but not one with this sort of enormity–and diversity–at every turn.
And now, one of my favorite moments in Yellowstone
I’m glad I got held up by road construction at one point. It gave me time to take a look at the park newspaper … where I discovered that my reverse S route wasn’t going to work to get me through there. One of the roads I’d planned to take through the park had closed for the winter … about two weeks before I got there.
I simply turned north instead of east when I reached Norris, and headed directly to Mammoth Hot Springs, another of Yellowstone’s more famous sites.
When I first spotted this chunk of rock as I pulled into the hot springs parking lot, I thought it was some sort of statue. It’s roughly man-shaped, and looked like it could have been rough-shaped into some form of iconography … but when I got closer, I discovered that this is actually a plug, a rock outgrowth that grew over thousands of years, pushed up by the heat and pressure of the geothermal earth below it.
As the sign proclaims, Mammoth Hot Springs is actually a series of hot springs, spread across a large area.
There are a long series of trails which allow you to explore large chunks of the springs, but I ultimately chose to just spend some time in the lower area instead.
And to take one last look at the beauty overall …
… before heading out the North gate …
… and watching the sun set over the mountains on my way home