It’s a little amazing that we actually managed to get here (“here” being Yellowstone NP). A couple of days before we left last week I managed to come in contact with a nasty summer cold that had both my nose and eyes running like a broken faucet. Since trips like this require reservations made well in advance, however, there was no choice but to head out. Needless to say, my wife was soon suffering with the same disease. We made a good pair, especially in restaurants. Coughing, hacking, nose blowing – the works. I figured sooner or later someone would decide we’d contracted the Ebola virus and shoot us where we stood. Or sat.
But we survived. It wasn’t the easiest 2,000 mile drive I’ve ever done, but we made it. Of course, one wonders how many poor souls we infected along the way……..
This image is from the Mammoth Hot Springs area in the northern part of Yellowstone. The terrace-like structures you see here are created by dissolved limestone that calcifies as it flows down hill. Eventually it forms these amazing structures. After a few years the springs tend to dry up, but new ones are always forming. The area is constantly changing.
I still find it hard to believe how big this place is. It covers more than 3,000 square miles with roughly 340 miles of paved roads. I don’t think it’s possible to see more than a small fraction of the park in one day (which, of course, is why we returned).
Unfortunately, a fairly long section of road heading up to Mammoth is under repair (significant waits!). I think, but I’m not sure, that it’s the section of road that partially melted earlier this year. That’s right – melted. In some places the temperature just below ground here is about 450 degrees F. If it gets real close to the surface, things “melt”. Even asphalt. People have actually died here by walking where they shouldn’t and stepping into some serious heat.