Mammoth Hot Springs
This morning I am on my way at 07:00. As I do not have to go very far, I do not have to get up that early. First stop is Mammoth Hot Springs. This is a large limestone hill with a couple of springs and terraces. Hot water with dissolved minerals flows via underground channels to the surface and forms terraces of chalk. The water evaporates at the surface and leaves the minerals behind. After hundreds of thousands of years colorful terraces are formed this way and even a complete hill of terraces. The colors depend on both microbes that live here and the type of minerals that have been deposited.
On arrival there are some Elk wandering around. As they seem to be at ease, I walk via a wooden boardwalk to the spot where I want to photograph. I end up being only one meter away from an Elk, but there is a wooden handrail between us. We look each other in the eye for a brief moment but he does not seem to care about me being there. The moment I pull out my tripod he startles and starts jumping wildly, before running away (happily). Weird animals. Someone else stretches his arm to one and that Elk licks his finger. They are totally unpredictable and you never know when or why they will feel threatened. Unpacking a tripod is a clear case if you ask me (-;.
One of them comes very close for a good shot.
I notice that they are very curious. On one of the terraces, a bird is screaming like a madman, everytime an Elk approaches too close. I think she has a nest somewhere nearby. It is spring after all.
The tweeting is so attractive that one of the Elk approaches to sniff the little bird. After that he keeps following it for minutes. It seems like he wants to eat the bird.
These terraces provide many opportunities for photography and they are currently bathing in beautiful soft light. Let’s start shooting.
A nice transition from orange (iron) to white (lime).
Trees are sometimes unfortunate here and are encapsulated completely over time. This photo cleary shows the cross-bedding, the crossing lines caused by water flowing from different directions.
I have a look around and notice that all Elk have gone. Most probably they dived into the bushes somewhere.
A wall, left from the terraces…
…and the fine details in the floor.
Maps, Charts & Downloads
GPS Map with color coded altitude information
Color coded distance/altitude chart
Download the original gpx file here.