Yellowstone is a treasure trove of natural beauty and encounters. The park is infused with wild life, which, if you are brave enough to wake up in the wee hours of the morning, can be spotted in places such as Lamar Valley. Lamar Valley is north of Hidden Valley. You access it going up North toward Mammoth Hot Springs and making a hard right at the last intersection there.
In Lamar Valley, literally thousands of bisons are grazing as far as the eyes can see. It is quite a fascinating spectacle. In the beginning of August, when we went, there were lots of calves roaming with their mamas, the vast plains of Lamar Valley as well. What a sight!
However, a bit like in South Africa, after seeing thousands of impala gazelles, you are craving for something more elusive... Like a wolf, or a grizzly bear maybe...
But for that, again, you have to get early (like 4:00 am) and be on the road at dawn; this is when your best chances of spotting wolves will be. Sadly, our family's priorities were voted 2 sleeping in against 2 waking up early and so we did not wake up to go, and did not see wolves, but heard of people who did!
Mammoth Hot Springs is a fascinating formation, created by the accumulation of limestone, deposited by hot acidic, carbon dioxide infused water, pushing through the underground of the caldera, a super volcano that erupted about 600 000 years ago. The limestone accumulates into travertine platforms and creates this amazing stepping landscape filled with bubbly hot water and smoldering gas coming out of the mouth of Earth.
The fun part of Mammoth Hot Springs is to walk all its trails. Quite a nice physical exercise, especially in summer when it is hot, as it goes up and up quite a bit.
Kids really enjoyed running the trails and discovering these incredible formations that at time seem more like pools you'd like to jump in, although of course, unless you want to get burned to the 2nd degree, you should totally NOT give in to its attractiveness!
A nice lunch in the only hotel main dining room, which exudes the old charm of a balneotherapy hotel, and we were on the road again driving down the loop that was going to bring us back to our hotel in Canyon Village.
Another day filled with wonder and happiness!