Upper Terrace Snowshoe

19 March 2020 by 1der Girl

Yellowstone - Nature Heals

It took me awhile to calm down from this morning's bathroom incident. I was so upset at the stupidity, ignorance and racism in this country, and I couldn’t help but to be reminded of one of the most painful things I’ve ever heard. It breaks my heart whenever I think of it.

When I was in college and visiting my most beloved Daddy, I asked him if he could do it all over again, what would he be? The context, of course, was his profession, for as a physician, he was always so sickened and angered by how the politics at the hospital always got in the way of providing the best patient care. I was completely floored when he said, “I would be white. Then I wouldn’t have to experience racism and prejudice.”


We went up to the Upper Terraces parking lot to snowshoe around that area.

We started along the Snow Pass ski trail, but since it appeared the trail just followed the road for a while, we decided to change directions and follow a snowshoe trail to see where we would ended up.

Yellowstone - Snow Pass - Upper Terrace

We did that a couple years ago in Jackson, but the tracks we followed on that excursion lead us far into the forest and then stopped in the middle of nowhere. We didn’t want that to happen this time, but of course it did just that when the path dead-ended. Fortunately, this time it was close to the beginning of our jaunt.

We ended up in in a small, makeshift snow-camp site. There was even food still hanging in the tree! I was quite surprised by this since hanging food in the Eastern Sierra is not legal. I guess Yogi hasn’t figured it out up here…

We decided to go our own way deeper into the forest. Because of our compass readings, we knew we wouldn’t get lost. Boosting our confidence was knowing our fresh tracks would not be covered up / were clearly visible on this beautiful, sunny day.

Within a few minutes, we encountered more “rogue” snowshoe tracks, so we changed directions and went towards the direction of the Upper Terrace Ski track. After meandering through the forest, we found an established hiking trail that was intermittently exposed from the spring thaw. It was cool to see shoe prints that were frozen under the winter snow.

Upper Terrace Hiking Trail

Eventually we intersected with the Upper Terrace ski track, right by the Orange Spring Mound. What a cool mass of travertine terraces which house a complex network of fractures and fissures that bring hot water to the surface.

Yellowstone - Orange Spring Mound

There is an actual spring inside the mound that flows from vents from the top and side. We could hear it gurgling, and since there was no one around, this was the only sound paired with the gentle wind.

Yellowstone - Orange Spring Mound

It was so unique, it really required a study of its structure and the beautiful colors and gradations caused by the thermophiles that live in the spring's hot water. Isn't it amazing how these microscopic organisms can live and thrive in boiling water?

According to the NPS website, the temperature of the hot springs in Yellowstone is approximately 198°F / 92°C (the boiling point of water at Yellowstone's mean altitude). The vents pump out steam reported as high as 275°F / 135°C. Now that's frick'n HOT. And to think just how many brain cells are missing in the imbeciles who think it's a good idea to dip their toes and bodies in the water...

We could hear the spring sputtering and see water coming out from the top. The glistening shininess all round the mound is from the water.

Yellowstone - Orange Spring Mound

The view constantly changed due to the steam generated all around the terraces.

Yellowstone - Orange Spring Mound

This was the perfect location to grab a quick snack.

We then continued on the established trail and caught this expansive view of the valley.

Yellowstone Valley View

I love informational signs and always read them. I also like to take pictures of them so when I'm viewing images years later, I know what I'm looking at. In this case, it's great to understand just what we're look at / seeing.

Fort Yellowstone sign from Upper Terrace trail

We encountered an unexpected visitor on the trail.

Yellowstone Upper Terrace visitor

We passed more beauty.

Yellowstone Upper Terrace Trail

And more amazing, heat seeking / resistant micro-organisms.

Yellowstone Upper Terrace micro-organisms

We eventually we found our way to the exact point where we saw the “rogue tracks” and made our way back to Beastie. While we were de-gearing, two rangers passed and started talking with 1der. He told them what happened this morning.

They were utterly disgusted and apologized on behalf of Yellowstone for the a-holes I encountered this morning at the bathroom. Why should Yellowstone have to apologize for those effing idiots. Yuck...

They also said they would look for them if we had their license number. Sadly, we didn't.

Thankfully, 1der was able to talk with this very nice husband and wife ranger team about positive things. They just got re-assigned to Sequoia National Park and are moving there next month. They said to be sure to look them up next time we’re there. We look forward to seeing them closer to home.

When we got back to the campground, we stopped to pay for four more nights. Imagine our great surprise when we saw the campground fees were suspended. We get to stay here for free! Now that is icing on grand cake…

Yellowstone Mammoth Campground Free Camping

As we drove through the campground, the elk were all over. More wildlife, more reminders of my / our incredible life. My Daddy would be so happy with how the day turned out.

Nature always heals the soul.

1der Girl
1der Girl


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