Yellowstone – Mammoth Hot Springs, Grizzly Discovery Center, and Elk bugles!!!

After a few days of driving many hours in the park, we decided to take a morning off and go to the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone. We haven’t seen any bears in the wild yet so this was a good “cheat” for us. Most of these bears were orphaned when their moms were either killed or had to be euthanized because they had become human food dependent. (“A fed bear is a dead bear!” Always secure all food when you’re in bear country!)

They are truly so so cute but yet scary at the same time.

I would never want to come across one of these in the wild! On our bucket list we have “see a grizzly in the wild from a very safe distance”. We loved watching them swim and look for the food that the keepers hid for them.

Look at those claws!

The exhibit hall there was informative. The most memorable part to me was the display about the market for bear gall bladders and how popular they have been for centuries especially in Asian culture. The story of the NC mountain grandmother who has a shot of moonshine and a wafer of bear gall bladder every day made me LOL. Oh NC we miss you.

After B was off work that day we headed into the park. As soon as we entered we saw these beauties in their usual spot. But this time – there was a stag!

I think the mating (aka rutting) season is starting!

After admiring for a bit, we were off to the northwest corner of Yellowstone which is Mammoth Hot Springs. This area was the original entrance to the park. Visitors would go through the “Roosevelt Arch” which was dedicated in 1903. I love the inscription at the top which says, “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People”.

We had dinner at the restaurant there and thought it was actually quite good (especially for “park food”!).

As we headed toward the springs we heard our first elk bugle!!!! It was awesome! We loved hearing this big stag holler out for his ladies!

So far he’s only gathered one lady for his harem so he has lots of work to do this season. For now, it’s still early in the rutting so he spent quite awhile resting after his bugle.

We sat and watched them until they stood back up and left. I couldn’t believe how with one little snort from the stag, the baby elk was up and doing exactly what he was told! I’m thinking he’s experienced a point to the hiney a few times before.

On to the hot springs! These terraces of travertine are soo cool looking!

The travertine is formed when minerals (calcium carbonate) are dissolved in hot water. Then as the water comes to the surface it cools and can no longer hold the minerals so it precipitates forming travertine.

The rate that this is building up is phenomenal and if this rate has been consistent, all this could have been deposited in a few thousand years. The terraces are always changing (so the boardwalks have to be frequently repositioned).

The colors were soooo amazing!

We thought for sure that artists must have looked at the handiwork here and been inspired. We see these designs in wallpaper and bedding and paintings and counters and all kinds of places haha!

I couldn’t get enough pics! It was all so beautiful!

It was a great night and RR still just can’t get enough of this park!

Thanks for following. We still have quite a few more posts to share about our time in Yellowstone so far! Stay tuned…

P.S. Happy birthday (tomorrow) MomMom!!! We are so blessed to have you. I was so teary-eyed looking at your birthday pics from last year. We knew the hurricane was coming but had no idea what was ahead for us. I remember we were just so thankful to be evacuated and to be with you all. We loved that week so much and being with you all so unexpectedly – especially being with you on your birthday!!! Great memories!

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