Saturday, March 26, 2011

To the Terraces

This morning I headed out to explore the terraces. I didn't go out this way.

It's a kick to be back early enough to see the Bison hanging out around the dorm before they migrate farther into the park. The Elk may be just as unpredictable, but the Bison are far more intimidating.

I took the stairs as far up the lower terrace as I could but they're not cleared all the way up. So I took the road up and around instead and reached the upper terrace just before the road barricade. From what I've heard, several sections of the park roads have now been plowed, but they're not open to regular vehicle traffic yet. It's bike season.

It was one way traffic on this boardwalk--the snow was knee-high to a greentangle. Actually the snow was hard enough to walk on, but since I never saw another person the entire time I was there, one way traffic was all that was needed.

I love the landscapes created by the combination of limestone and hot springs here. To me, it's a lot more interesting than the geysers which erupt in the areas where the water travels through harder underground stone.

You can't actually tell from the following photo, but that's the first Mountain Bluebird I've seen this year. You would have been able to tell if I'd had the camera's recorder on because at first sight I yelled, "Mountain Bluebird!"

Hmmm, desolate and bleak, just the way I like it.

This is Orange Spring Mound in the next photo. The orange cones aren't part of it, but they're at the very edge of the upper terrace road. I walked there through the light snow, singing songs to the invisible bears, to see if it had spilled over the road yet. Some trees on the opposite side were cut down last year because rerouting the road is inevitable if this spring continues to flow.

To be able to see these scenes at all is a treat. To be able to see them without a crowd around is a special perk of being here at this time of year.


Terry said...

Orange Spring Mound is a mound of ice, I assume? Must be, limestone wouldn't move that fast.

greentangle said...

No, it's rock. It's a freaky place! From the 2011 Yellowstone Resources and Issues

Travertine terraces,
found at Mammoth
Hot Springs (left),
are formed from
limestone (calcium
carbonate). Water
rises through the
limestone, carrying
high amounts of
dissolved calcium
carbonate. At the
surface, carbon
dioxide is released
and calcium carbonate
is deposited,
forming travertine,
the chalky white
rock of the terraces.
Due to the rapid rate
of deposition, these
features constantly
and quickly change.

You can also take an online tour here which includes a page for OSM: