Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Yellowstone NP – Lamar River Valley and Mammoth Hot Springs
We woke up at 4:30am to make the 1.5 hour drive to the Lamar River Valley and catch the animals at sunrise. I was super tired, but it was beautiful and we saw some great wildlife. No wolves, sadly, but several bears, countless bison, elk, and pronghorn antelope.
We even saw a herd of bison crossing the river and one of the babies got caught in the current and started floating downstream. Its mother separated from the herd and went after it, finally guiding it to the side of the river where it was shallow and the calf could get back on its feet and rejoin the herd. It was like our own little nature documentary, complete with high drama.
Around 8am we turned back and headed to the Roosevelt Lodge to grab a coffee before we turned toward Mammoth Hot Springs on the north side of the park.
We made a quick stop at Undine Falls. Yellowstone has more waterfalls than any other National Park.
Mammoth Hot Springs was a lot cooler than I anticipated. The travertine features are so unique and they are always changing, as earthquakes and other forces change the underground plumbing, causing water to flow in different places over the years. The terraces are all accessible only by boardwalks and they are fairly steep in parts.
We then got to one of my favorite parts of the park (ok, there are a lot of favorites): The Roosevelt Arch. This Arch was built at the north entrance of the park at Gardiner, Montana and was dedicated in 1903 by Teddy. The iconic words at the top are a symbol of what the National Parks represent and how lucky we are to have them preserved:
For The Benefit And Enjoyment Of The People
Sorry, I geek out over Teddy.
After having lunch in Gardiner we headed back to Canyon Village and caught some views of the Upper Falls and also the Lower Falls from Artist Point. The light wasn’t the best, so we decided to come back again early the next morning.