Hot springs, wet pants, and walls of ice
Mammoth Hot Springs Travel Blog› entry 7 of 7 › view all entries
May 7th, 2008 – by: seventy6daytripper
Really, really, cold.
No. REALLY cold.
We came unprepared. Blue jeans, long johns, toboggan, sweater, t-shirts, 2 pairs of socks. The end. That's all we had. Dramatic enough? Haha, if you can't tell, it was really cold, a lot colder than we thought we'd ever see.
I woke up in the Wal-mart parking lot with numb toes, and cold nose. I thought I had been knocked unconscious and woke up in the driver's seat of the car in a random parking lot. What I didn't expect was the change in temperature. After a few minutes of situating ourselves in the car, we headed out of the parking lot and straight for Yellowstone.
As we got to the park, it began to snow. And snow. And snow.
Yellowstone Lake peaked our interest when we passed it, mostly because it was completely frozen. I have never seen a frozen lake that big, so that was exciting for me. We skipped rocks off the surface until our hands were numb (about a 3 rock limit), then got back in the car and headed farther into the park. About this time, the driver realized we were almost out of gas. Almost out of gas surrounded by mountains of ice and snow. Beautiful.
We scanned the park map and found a gas staion nearby. Closed.
We found another one closer to our camp. Closed.
As a last resort, we pulled into this rundown gas station and peaked inside.
We continued on the park roads for what seemed like hours (Yellowstone's huge!!!) until we finally reached our campsite at Mammoth Hot Springs. Compared to our Badlands campsite, it was very similar. The nagging difference that we couldn't seem to forget was that the temperature was about 40 degrees colder. Who would've thunk it? Early May? Not cold, right? Haha, shows how inexperienced a traveler I am. The campsite we picked was fine, except for all the deer droppings everywhere.
After we were settled, we made our way towards Old Faithful, stopping at the Fountain Paint Pots and the Mammoth Hot Springs terraces. Chalky white and foul smelling, these sulfurous outcroppings of natural hot springs were very cool to see. A wooden path wound its way up, down, and around all the hot springs, leaving us to get lost amongst the stinky rocks. At one point, the snow was so bad that instead of a wooden path, there was a simple rope tied to a tree that snaked its way down to our feet.in a scene from the video tape in The Ring, you know...the part where you see the girl climbing out of the well....the fly on the screen, the lady falling over the edge. Whether it was the way the steam rolled over the springs, or the eeriness of the half dead trees that were sticking out of the liquid, it was creepy....
...until two Asian photographers entered stage left and started clicking like mad. Action shots. Action shots of steam. Seriously?? And peace signs. World peace for the steam and hot springs. Yippee!
After the hot springs adventure, we headed south towards the paint pots. Being the novice Yellowstone visitor, I didn't have a clue what the heck my roommates were talking about...
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