We got up and had our last breakfast in the area at the Old Faithful Inn (when you find a good buffet, you stick with it!). Then, after a last look at the steam rising from the Basin, we headed out. It was a cool morning (in the 30's), so the steam really showed up.
Our first major stop was at the Norris Geyser Basin. This is a view of the Basin from the parking area, which looks down onto the main Basin area.
There are a number of geysers at Norris. Some of them are Steamboat Geyser, Echinus Geyser, the Monarch Geyser Crater, and Minute Geyser (pictured below). One oddly-named geyser (that we didn't get pictures of) is the "Puff 'N Stuff" Geyser (think some of these were named in the 60's???).
As we were getting ready to leave Norris (at about 10:00AM Mountain Time - Noon Eastern), we stopped by the Norris Visitor's Center and heard about the tragic events that were happening back East. We had heard people talking about a plane hitting the Pentagon earlier, but assumed that someone was talking about a movie or something. Since there was really nothing we could do, we continued on our way and tried to just enjoy our day as best we could (while listening to the radio to keep somewhat up-to-date).
Our next turnout was Roaring Mountain, located on the road about 5 miles North of Norris on the way to Mammoth Hot Springs. The entire side of the mountain is slowly venting steam, and you can hear the steam constantly coming out of the mountain.
Along the way, we saw a 1-way side road called Kingman Pass Road. We figured it would be a couple of miles down a dirt road before we joined the main road again. It turned out to be almost 6 miles and not really a very good road (at least, not in a Ford Focus!), but the little car managed to get us through (though slowly) and the views were fantastic.
At about 11:30, we arrived at the Terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs. Mammoth Hot Springs is a gigantic plateau, all calcite.
This is a view of the Mammoth Hot Springs (the Town) from Mammoth Hot Springs (the Terrace).
Along the wooden walkway at the Terrace, there are a number of Springs, including New Blue Spring and Canary Spring.
We also went down the Upper Terrace Drive, which features some really great views and some unique features, such as Orange Spring Mound and Angel Terrace.
On the way to the town of Mammoth Hot Springs, we got a picture of Mammoth Terrace from a parking area in the Lower Terrace Area.
After driving through the town, we headed toward Tower-Roosevelt on Blacktail Plateau Drive. This road features some very good views.
After leaving Blacktail Plateau Drive, we saw a sign announcing The Petrified Tree of Yellowstone. This was just too interesting to pass up. They had erected a wrought-iron fence around the Tree to keep people from taking bits of it as souvenirs (which was apparently a major problem at one point).
As we got near Tower-Roosevelt, we stopped at Calcite Springs.
Our next stop was at Tower Fall (at Tower Roosevelt). There was a small restaurant there, so we took a quick break and had an Ice Cream lunch (yum!).
From Tower-Roosevelt, it was a very long drive down to the Grand Teton National Forest, so we didn't stop for too many pictures. This area was affected the most by the gigantic forest fires of the late 80's, so there were miles and miles of blackened Lodgepole Pine trees, with a few young trees growing through the ashes. We ended up having to make one stop, when a mountain goat decided that he wanted to use the road for a bit.
From there, it was a long but uneventful drive to our next stop, Colter Bay Village. If we had to do it over, we would have arranged a night up around Mammoth Hot Springs so we could have spent more time. On the other hand, we never planned on going to Mammoth Hot Springs at all, so this entire day was an unexpected bonus.
Continue on to Day 5
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