A short drive from the park’s north entrance sit Mammoth Hot Springs, a slowly growing travertine hillside fed by hot underground mineral water. We rented a little one-room cabin behind the hotel, a few minutes’ walk from the springs.
As we blew through the park on our way from Bozeman to Cody we made a wrong turn and ended up at Orange Spring Mound, a large travertine lump behind the main cliffs. We snapped a few photos but chose to wait a few days before fully exploring the area.
I woke up at dawn on our last day at Mammoth and grabbed the cameras, determined to catch the springs in the first light of day. I rushed out to the car to find it frosted over – not able to find a scraper I abandoned the car and ran to the road. The sun was trapped behind a layer of fog and the springs looked really far away all of a sudden. I got distracted by the bison and elk milling about across the street from the hotel. It was really cold and the coffee shop wasn’t open yet. As I contemplated aborting the mission and going back to bed the sun broke through and I huffed off to the hillside, cursing myself for not being in position. I scrambled over the hill, frantically snapping away. Gotta learn to relax.
Mad at myself for missing the first good rays of morning light I slunk back to the hotel, got coffee and handed the camera to Melanie. We returned for a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk, taking time to appreciate the quiet splash of warm water, the terraces and subtle crosshatching etched into the crystal surfaces.