Our last day in Yellowstone and we headed to Mammoth Hot Springs in the north. However we first sampled the wares of the "Kamping Kookhouse" of this KOA. It was a "kamping" breakfast and while hot and massive, left a whole lot to be desired - except we didn't have to "kook" it.
The day was beautiful and warm. Full sun to the point of needing sunscreen. The trip to Mammoth was as everything is in YNP, spectacular. Brand new highway for most of the journey - and it is a journey between visitor centres. We typically travel 1 1/2 - 2 hours to get to the next centre.
Coming up to Mammoth, the landscapes change and you come down from the heights of 6700 feet to just over 5000.
Spring appears again with no snow and what trees and shrubs there are, are in leaf.
However, these are few and far between and it looks a lot like I remember Kamloops on the trip west in 1984 - dry, arid with sagebrush everywhere.
Mammoth village is beautiful and the first thing we noticed is that there are elk everywhere - I mean everywhere.
On the Visitor Centre's lawn, near the houses that face the main street, dashing across streets littered with people and cars. The rule is - 25 yards or 2 school buses away from wild animals, except for bears and wolves and then it's 100 yards. But when they walk in front of you, you'd better stand still or back away slowly because they apparently get pissed off with the papparazi and charge. Right now the females are calving and we got to see lots of babies.
One brave mama led her little one into traffic only to have the baby decide she wasn't going anywhere Mom said. She (mom) became quite upset and as the ranger tried to corral the little one to get her off the street, mom charged him.
It could have been a fascinating episode from "Nature" and there it was happening 50 yards from us. Eventually we all moved away so the rangers could get the two together again.
There was also a terrific ranger-led talk on the hot springs in Mammoth and how they make travertine - just like folks have on their counters.
There were more newborns on the way home - baby mountain goats - way up - seemingly unaware of their precarious rocky perches. They fade into their surroundings so well it is hard to get a picture.
But now we have to say farewell to YNP and travel on to Idaho and parts west. It has been a blast so far...