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DSC_0298After stopping at West Thumb Geyser Basin with Mr. Gecko’s parents, we continued north into Yellowstone. We made a brief stop at an overlook for Lower Falls, where I took pictures of an osprey pair defending their nest.DSC_0252Then we continued across the park to Norris and turned north again to head to Mammoth Hot Springs, another area that I hadn’t visited before. To get there, you pass through an area known as the Golden Gate of Yellowstone. I was driving, so it wasn’t until we stopped at Mammoth that I realized that was where we had stopped and taken pictures.DSC_0269It was raining off and on when we got to Mammoth; the rain in this picture is falling on Fort Yellowstone. We stopped at the Upper Terraces first, and took the one way drive. DSC_0274These hot springs are outside of Yellowstone Caldera, and are built of travertine, a mineral that gets deposited by the hot water as it flows. The terraces it forms change rapidly.DSC_0304Some areas the water shifts course quickly…DSC_0307Other areas, it stops flowing over completely. These are called dormant terraces, because one never knows when the water will start flowing there again.DSC_0276The dried terraces form interesting shapes.DSC_0284Mr. Gecko thought this one looks like a face, and I agree with him.DSC_0336You can also find little baby terraces that haven’t been built up yet.DSC_0315Orange Spring Mound, on the way out of the one way drive, is another travertine formation. It has three hot springs flowing from it, and bacteria give it the orange coloring.DSC_0364I don’t know the name of this one, but I thought it was pretty. DSC_0356This one is Angel Terrace, and it’s on the way to the Lower Terraces. More rain had moved in by this point, so I didn’t take many pictures here.DSC_0382By the time we got to the main part of the Lower Terraces, the rain had turned to small hail. I was stupid determined, though, so I got out of the car and walked over to see what was there. The hail got bigger.DSC_0387You can see the size of the hail in this picture. Also, the sleeve of my jacket. Shortly after I took this, I got hit in the ear by a chunk of hail. It really stung. As I was getting ready to turn around, the hail stopped, and I was able to take some more pictures.DSC_0397I love the colors in this terrace, Palette Spring.DSC_0398Stuck in the middle of it is Devil’s Thumb. This was our last stop for the day, other than a visit to the Albright Visitor Center and dinner in Gardiner. It’s a long drive back to Colter Bay from Mammoth, but it was worth it.

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