Camping is always an “adventure” to say the least. Weather here in Yellowstone is so arm during the day (80s-90s) but temperatures at night dip below freezing! Our first night my mom and I snuggled into our individual twin-sized inflatable mattresses. In the middle of the night we both were freezing, and ended up snuggling up on one of our beds to share blankets in attempts to warm up. After several periods of readjustment, we finally got comfortable at 4 AM and passed out until 9 AM, the longest we have slept in on this entire trip!
Yesterday was so much fun! I guess I talked about it briefly in the previous post, but we headed north from our campsite in Canton Village until we reached Lamar Valley. This is the location of the reintroduction of wolves to the park. In case you missed this in Biology class, wolves are a keystone species in the park. Years ago, these wolves were hunted to extinction. This had a ripple effect on the entire ecosystem. Wolves are an apex predator, consuming deer, elk, and even bison calves. Without wolves, prey species grew out of control. Browsers became out of hand and ate all saplings and low branches of trees and shrubs, influencing the landscape of the park. Beaver populations grew consuming waterside trees, which are a crucial part of an aquatic ecosystem, called a riparian buffer. These roots slow down water, allowing roots to uptake water, as well as stabilizing the soil. Without these trees, erosion and sedimentation become a problem, influencing all aquatic species from fish to macro vertebrates. Anyways, eventually ecologists were able to reintroduce wolves to restore balance to the ecosystem. So we drove through Lamar valley to search for these famous wolves (with success!) the landscape in this area was a grassland with hundreds of bison, deer, and elk. With the occasional black bear family. How freaking cool!! I loved it so much, it was such an adventure! After Lamar valley we headed to Mammoth Springs. This area of the park was unlike anything I have ever seen. The volcanic activity has created unreal structures in the landscape. Such as terraces with boiling water. These formations had a variety of colors depending on what bacteria (extremophiles) inhabit the scalding water. I can’t even use words to describe some of these formations, I’ll post photos don’t worry. The white rock against the blue skies was quite a sight, with snow capped mountains in the distance, it was literally picture perfect.
Lunch was spent at a picturesque creek side picnic table. It was such a perfect afternoon. Our next stop was feuded basin where we did a short hike to view a variety of colorful pools, steaming vents, and geysers. How the hell is this place real? Honestly I felt like I was not on this planet. If you haven’t visited this area of the nation I highly encourage you to pack your car and see it for yourself. We are so lucky to have this in our country.