I wasn’t going to get out of bed (when Tom's alarm went off at 7:30) until I remembered that Tom had double-stack (2-egg) sandwiches planned for breakfast. Even then, it was a bit difficult. As I swung out of my nice cozy bed and into the 41 degree temperature inside the Airstream, "brrrrrr" was the thought that came to my mind. We slept without the furnace! Outside the temperature was 35, but warming by the minute. Breakfast was fabulous, (nothing like hot coffee in a tin mug to warm the hands,) and we were off to explore by 8:30.
We started with a beautiful drive to the northwest, mountainous area of the park -- Mammoth Hot Springs.
Yellowstone’s first hostelry was opened in 1871 at the Mammoth area. In 1883 the first hotel was opened with 150 rooms completely lit by electricity. The structure that is here today was opened in 1937. Mammoth is also the location of Historic Fort Yellowstone from which the US Army protected the park from 1886 - 1916. Today it is the home headquarters for the National Park and also home to the Albright Visitor Center. Mammoth area is home to a large cluster of official park buildings.
The thermal manifestations are very different in Mammoth than in other areas of the park and comprised mostly of calcium carbonate deposits. The Upper Terrace Drive loops around high above the Mammoth Hot Spring area with views of the thermal features from above and the distant hotel. The Lower Terraces' boardwalk puts you right on the terraces themselves for a very subjective and personal view.
From that juncture we drove down to the Norris Geyser Basin – one of the hottest and most dynamic of Yellowstone’s hydrothermal areas. The Norris setting is home to one of the world’s largest active vents of the Yellowstone volcano, and it sits on the intersection of three major faults. Because the area is so active, it is also ever-changing and very unpredictable. Don’t expect a time-table of when these geysers might blow!
We were glad to get back to the campsite by 3:00, and for the first time on this vacation we each grabbed a lawn chair and relaxed for an hour. Of course, I get a lot of relaxing as Tom drives us from one place to the other, but in the chair we could unwind and not be afraid of missing something if our eyes closed. Tomorrow will be our last day in Yellowstone, and we will be ending with a surprise that Tom planned on and made reservations for 6 months ago!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown