Sunday, June 17, 2012


Saturday, June 16th:

 Tim took his early morning ride and found Elk and Bison on the side of the road.

Montana or bust! Off we went on a gorgeous 70 degree day up the Northwest section of the Grand Loop Road. Our destination was originally Mammoth Springs to see the travertine terraces, but since Montana was only 5 miles north of that, we decided to take the plunge and drive into Gardiner which is just outside the North Entrance to the Park.  We drove past many interesting things along the way and promised ourselves we would stop at them all on the way back.

When we arrived in Gardiner, there were folks on horseback parading down the street with flags waving. Evidently, there is a rodeo in town tonight. Sorry we won’t be there to see it. Gardiner is a quiet little town with all kinds of storefronts for the usual gifts and knick knacks along with many white water rafting companies and corrals for horseback rides. While interesting choices, we opted to find the fishing store where Tim bought wading boots so he could venture into the streams. Maybe that would help with his fishing!?!

We returned to the Park through the Arch that was dedicated to Teddy Roosevelt as he use to frequent the Park. The sign above it says,   “ For the Benefit and Enjoyment of All.”
Tim Driving Through the Roosevelt Arch

We also crossed the 45th Parallel!

Mammoth Springs was our next stop. Here we saw incredible sights. It almost felt like we were back in Carlsbad Caverns. The literature tells us that the Terraces are formed the same way the stalagmites and stalactites were formed with the combining of carbon dioxide in hot water forming a weak solution of with carbonic acid. This in turn dissolves the limestone formations under the Earth’s surface and it seeps downslope. Once the solution reaches the open air, the carbon dioxide it escapes and forms carbon carbonate and creates a material called travertine.  Some of the travertine, we are told, builds up at a rate of 3 feet per year.  The shades of the terraces are colorful when they are active, but when inactive the color turns to white or dull grey.

We toured the Lower Terraces by foot climbing steep stairs (244) plus many  ramps between the sets of stairs.  The Upper Terraces were easily viewed by driving through the designated one way road.  Surprisingly, we found some wildflowers near one of the terraces.
Stairs at Lower Terraces

Lower Terraces
Upper Terraces

Upper Terraces

Wildflowers on Upper Terrace

Shortly after the Terraces, we came upon a grouping of rocks called the Hoodoos..not sure why. These are actually “pieces of old hot spring terraces that tumbled down the mountain in massive landslides.” They are quite intimidating as you drive among through the side road. They look like they aren’t quite through toppling over!

Hoodoo Rocks

We stopped to see Sheepeater Cliff which was named for the Shoshone tribe who used to dwell here. The Native Americans often used obsidian from the Obsidian Cliff nearby for making points and tools.

Roaring Mountain loomed on the east side of the highway. It looks very bleak now, but the noise from all of its fumaroles used to scare the folks on the wagon trail. It’s pretty lifeless now, but we did see one or two of these vents still active. 

There were several lakes, rivers and streams along the way. The mountains and meadows never cease to amaze us. 

We passed through an area called the Golden Gate because of the gold color on the cliff wall. From the same spot we spied the Rustic Falls.
Golden Gate

Rustic Falls

Back at the RV, we relaxed by the campfire and enjoyed the pleasant weather of the day.

1 comment:

  1. Thank goodness you finally have some warmer weather! You might want to mention to your followers that double-clicking on your photos will enlarge them to full screen size- all the better to see them! Keep on...