And So It Begins

May 05, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Visions in TravertineVisions in TravertineCanary Spring - Mammoth Hot Springs (Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming) Yellowstone is preparing for its busy summer season; the west gates re-opened to auto traffic a few weeks ago. The other entrances will soon follow. My preferred times for working in Yellowstone are winter and the collar weeks when it's much less crowded, so I ran up there the other day for one last shoot before all the visitors arrive. As it was cold and windy with on-and-off precipitation, there were few people around. Nearly perfect!

The flood gates are already open in the Tetons, which remains at least partially accessible to vehicle traffic all year. Truth be told, it seems they never really closed; Grand Teton National Park set an attendance record in January. Apparently that wasn't a fluke, because March also saw record visits. (Seriously. March. Not exactly renowned as the month everyone wants to flock to the Tetons.) April's numbers aren't in yet but I expect they were big, too. 

Looks like it's going to be a busy summer! 

The inner loop road opened last Saturday, so most of the park is now drivable. There's already quite a bit of traffic - and the inevitable jams wherever there's a sighting of 399, 610, or Blondie with cubs in tow. Outside of the famous grizzlies, there are some pretty adorable bison calves romping around also.

Be advised you'll still have a little bit of a wait before everything is wide open. As of a few days ago Signal Mountain Road hadn't yet opened. The road down to Schwabacher's Landing and Pilgrim Creek Road also remain closed. This time of year foot access to places like Willow Flats, Antelope Flats, and Blacktail Ponds is restricted. That's usually lifted by the end of May.

After a very wet February with one snowstorm after another, March and April were dry. Really dry. (This doesn't bode well for fire season.) Unless the weather patterns shift soon it means my favorite time of year, "green season," will be truncated. Wildflowers usually arrive the first part of June; we'll see if the precipitation deficit impacts the timing of the blooms.

However Mother Nature decides to arrange her schedule and manage her appearance, it'll be beautiful. About that I have no doubt. You can't beat springtime!

About the photos:

The travertine terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone are one of my favorite features of that park. I enjoy photographing them in all seasons and especially like to capture them abstractly. The image at the top is a "straight up" depiction of Canary Springs which includes some of the mountains in the distance for context. Below, thermally created steam drifting across the scene helps render another area of the same spring abstractly.

Two teen-aged girls who came by while I was working there were delighted by the otherworldly scene and exclaimed, "It's like Mars! Only white!"

It's fun to see people get excited about sights like this. And IS weird and wonderful. A little bit of Mars in the northwest corner of Wyoming.



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