Be Bear Aware, Caution in Thermal Zones, Congestion Ahead
Monday, April 30th: With calendars about to turn to May are you prepping garden beds or salting the driveway? 40 degrees, blustery winds, and slow drizzles. Not feeling spring just yet. I guess the snowbanks roadside are another clue.
For those not heeding the 'Do Not Walk On Thermal Basin' signs, proceed at your own risk. Let the remains of those past be your guide.
Or maybe, for those not ready to heed 'Do Not Approach Wildlife' cautions, this fella just might reset expectations before leaving your car for a closer look!
Enroute to Mammoth Hot Springs, Gibbons Falls provides a spectacular valley vista into the Yellowstone caldera. Paint-pots, thermals, geysers, and terraced springs. Pullouts along the drive treat us with occasional wildlife, serpentine creeks flowing amid brightly colored grasses, snow banks intersperesed with thermals hinting at steam vents and boiling water hotspots.
An ancient bubbling spring leaves behind a cone, a nourishing planter for a tree to take root, rising above the surrounding landscape.
Cascading terraces form around and below bubbling springs creating broad landscapes of rice patties in miniature.
Where bubbling springs overrun vegetation, calcification leaves behind well preserved tree and brush remains which survive ensuing decades. Stark and barren, could this be a forest fire aftermath? That too, not far from sight throught our drive yesterday and today. In most other areas regrowth has begun, regreening most landscape and hill vistas. Here, the scene will remain barren until well after these springs dry up.
And finally, an 'identify this nature photo of the day' photo. All guesses welcome.