Things Are Heating Up!

Thursday, September 11, 2008 Road Junkies 1 Comments

Day 6: Gardiner,MT to West Yellowstone, MT
When we entered the park this morning, we learned that the Beartooth Highway was closed today due to snow, so we were very glad we came in on it yesterday!

Things heated up for us in Yellowstone today. First we visited the Mammoth area and saw Minerva Spring (below) among others. The delicate travertine formations were created by hot spring waters. Heated by the volcano below Yellowstone Park, water travels through buried limestone and bubbles up to the surface to deposit travertine. Some of the scenes around the Mammoth Hot Springs area have a surreal appearance. The minerals and heat of the springs have killed the trees and conspired with the mineral deposits of the springs to create an image reminiscent of a winter snow scene.
Heat-dwelling algae and bacteria grow abundantly in Orange Spring Mound water, creating the colorful display below.
This is one of many examples you can observe of plant material which has fallen into the hot springs and been covered with mineral deposits to create beautiful displays.
At 27-feet deep, Emerald Springs is lined with yellow sulfur deposits. The yellow color from the sulfur combines with the reflected blue light from the sky to make this hot spring appear emerald green.
The Yellowstone River plummets more than 500 feet to create the raging waterfalls that enter the 1000 ft-deep Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. More than 4000 feet wide at the top, the canyon snakes for 20 miles and is one of the most striking views of the park. Temperature today ranged from the lower 40's to the lower 50's. This morning's forecast called for rain all day, but as you can see from the photos, we had beautiful blue skies most of the day. Tomorrow we're back in the park and spend the night at the Yellowstone Lake Lodge Cabins, which means no telephone, no television, and no internet!