So had a super early start today planning to go to Mammoth in the morning to try and catch some elk herds. On the drive in though we saw an elk herd between West Yellowstone and Madison along with the bull elk sitting in the grass. Had to wait in some traffic due to roadwork on the way to Mammoth but eventually got there. Except there weren’t any elk there (yet). So we continued on to the Tower area to head partway into the Lamar Valley which is a known place to spot all the types of animals in Yellowstone. Didn’t see any new animals, but got to see more bison. Except this time they were in huge herds. And by huge I mean like > 50, with little calves and little bull calves play fighting. Had a semi close encounter with a giant herd too. Saw it by the road so pulled over in a pullout and walked back along to road to get some photos… which was all okay until the whole herd started moving towards us! Once we realised this, made a quick walking retreat back to the car as we weren’t sure where they were going. They eventually decided to cross the road right where we were standing a minute earlier. Pretty impressive seeing them all cross. Luckily they didn’t decide to sit in the middle of the road as when they do they can shut down traffic for hours.
After that headed back to Mammoth and this time road the elk were in town. These elk weren’t scared of humans so were happily sitting in the middle of the village in front of buildings. Elk at Mammoth are quite frequent and they have proper signs up warning you as there are lots of people in this area. Also rangers and volunteers to make sure no one harasses them. Did a boardwalk trail around the springs as well. Many of the springs are dormant at Mammoth, leaving behind pretty cool white terraces formed by the calcium from limestone that rose to the surface years ago. After that checked out the Norris area then headed back to town after another epic day. Thinking to take tomorrow easier and check out the falls in the Canyon area then decide what to with the afternoon.
Some pics from yesterday and today:
In the cold morning all the steam rising from the pools, springs and geysers looks a little kind of freaky!
The water is hot…
These guys decided to have a Sunday snooze next to the trail
The bands of colours are caused by different types of bacteria that grow in different temperatures
Hey there lone guy…
Bubbling mud at Mud Volcano. Smelt like rotten egg gas (hydrogen sulfide gas)
The bison herd before they headed for us… there was way more than shown in this pic
Elk at Mammoth Hot Springs
Terrace at Mammoth Hot Springs