I awakened to sunlight streaming through the blinds at 5:47 a.m., and made sausage and egg biscuits for MCL as they got up and began readying for the day. I think I woke up at least 4 times to use the bathroom in the night, and on the last trip I may have broken my second biggest left toe when I hit the black coffee-table between me and the bathroom. After a long squelched wail of agony, I stayed up and started the breakfast. C said he woke up about 20 times because L hogged the sheets. Family Vacation.
Our first stop traveling south was Mammoth Hot Springs. This is an amazing arrangement of pastel colored travertine terraces constructed slowly over the centuries by calcium carbonate bubbling up from the volcanic under-earth to flow down the rocks of a hillside leaving its deposits for spirolea bacteria to inhabit to grant it the colors.
Mr. Roosevelt had his photo taken here in the early 1900s so M & I did likewise with the same background: the “Liberty Cap” stone formation with a sloping hill in the background.
Based on other photos I’ve studied, the travertine terraces he and we were facing in the photo were substantially smaller then. Another difference between his experience and ours is the company in which we found ourselves while seeing the sights and smelling the sulphuric stench. He arrived at a wilderness destination by horse, along with his presidential entourage, to make camp, take photos, cook meals etc.. We, along with thousands of other tourists of all nationalities, came by plane then automobile, and parked in nearby parking lots and gassed up at nearby quick stops. The whole thought of all these people polluting such a pristine place with their all-wheel drives, plastic water bottles, and worst of all perhaps – loud voices, disgusted me. And then I realized that although my family and I were not adding to the noise, we did add to the traffic. And then we saw a fox. He glided slowly but gracefully over the eggshell terraces which probably would break under the weight of a human. As if he owned the place and we were there in limited areas by license only. He showed no concern at all for the hundreds of intruders, and if he was actually considering what I just suggested, he would have been correct. Maybe he understood that all these people in their yuppie suv’s were the funding for his protection from those who cared even less about this environment. Then again, he may have just been out for a stroll, and stories to tell the family. I wonder if Mr. Fox’s ancestors met Mr. Roosevelt. They may have contributed to Mrs. Roosevelt’s wardrobe. . .
From the hot springs we traveled through some of the most dramatic and picturesque scenery I’ve ever beheld, to stop and walk a half mile off the road to Wraith Waterfall. Here, even if just for a moment, we heard nature uninterrupted.
No cars, no human voices, no planes overhead – just the sound of rushing, cascading water and the wind in the leaves and grasses.
A tiny little guy greeted us as we walked in, pausing from his search for food among mounds of bison excrement taller than him.
Our next encounter would be the magnificent beasts that left the mounds.