Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday morning, West Yellowstone. These past two days we've hiked Mammoth Hot Springs and the Norris Geyser Basin. It's hard not to realize the interconnectedness of all things in nature, even to the micro level, as the temperature of some of these hot springs affect what can live in any pool as does the mineral content, so colors range from rich orange to purest blue. For example, yellow has more sulphur (smelly eggs) between 140-181 degrees F, while emerald green is mostly algae at below 133 degrees F.

The entire ecosystem is a scientist's dream! Signs everywhere warn people to stay on the trail, for the crust of the earth is very fragile. Every year some people are scalded and some die because they fall through the crust; sometimes the boardwalks themselves must be changed because vents, pools, and mudpots shift. We can see sturdy pine trees growing right to the edge of the basin, and as we walk through, hear the puffs, huffs, and gurgles of different kinds of water and steam pushing up from underneath the ground.
Our absolute favorite at Mammoth Hot Springs was the Orange Mound with its mysterious white, orange and green coloring. Who could forget at Norris Basin the Emerald Pool, the Blue Mud Steam Vent, the Pearl Geyser, or the Steamboat Geyser (it's last eruption of some 300 feet was in 2005, with an unpredictable cycle sometime in the next 40 years or so).
Yes, we continue to see lots of animals everywhere. Yesterday a bison was trying to cross the road, but a river of slow-moving cars prevented him, so he headed down one lane, backing up traffic, while we moved in the opposite direction. I'll try to post more pictures in WEBSHOTS (see link to right), but our connection with internet is tenuous, and starting tomorrow, we'll be on the road again, headed for the Tetons. Ah for the days of comcast! The writing is going reasonably well, but the hills around us as we enter Yellowstone are starting to be dotted with the deep red and brilliant yellow of true fall. That must mean school is soon starting. Make it a good week! Beth

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