Wild Yellowstone – Day 10 (Gardiner to Cooke City )

Day 10 was another day of travel as we were moving across to Cooke City, which would be our base for the remainder of the shoot. Our only planned stop along the way was Mammoth Hot Springs.  The thermal features at Mammoth are at their best before the hot sun burns off the mist and steam that comes off the hot pools and springs. We arrived about 8.30 am and began photographing the various thermal features and terraces making up Palette Spring. Our treat for the morning was a small heard of elk making their way across and down the terraces. While it would have been nice to have got an odd number in the same frame one always seemed to be looking away or doing something that spoiled the composition.

Elk on Palette Spring Terraces

As with all of the thermal features in Yellowstone the hot springs and pools are in a constant state of change, none more so than those at Mammoth. On my first visit to Yellowstone (winter of 2006) Canary Spring was absolutely spectacular, but on subsequent visits it was obvious that the feeder pool was moving further down and across the hillside. Fortunately, it seems to have stabilised for a while because the springs and terraces, albeit much further from the boardwalk viewpoints, are again full of colour.

Canary Spring, Mammoth Hot Springs

We arrived in Cooke City (Montana) in late afternoon.  After unloading our belongings at the motel we headed west out of town along the Beartooth Highway. This road is closed during the winter as it rises to around 11,500 feet and is snow covered. Even in late June there was still plenty of snow to be seen. The highest parts of the Beartooth Highway level off into a wide plateau near the top of the pass. Panoramic views over the numerous lakes that are typical of the  Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area are available from the plateau. The area is also part of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

We made numerous stops along the road to photograph the wild flowers and even the odd Yellow Bellied Marmot who found us just as interesting as we did them.

Yellow Bellied Marmot, Beartooth Pass

Images edited in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.1

 ** Disclaimer** Above images are quick previews specifically for this blog so that friends and family can see how I’m getting on.