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Monday, July 13, 2015

Day 35: Liberty Cap and Mammoth Hot Springs

Trying not to write a ton for this day since I'm about four days behind on the blog. Just skip a day, or combine them, you say...I just feel like there's so much that happens every day - so much I learn, see, do, experience, witness, you name it. These days are packed. Being behind on the blog has prevented me from reading as much as I want to and really connecting with the landscape I'm painting on a deeper level with more background knowledge.

A brief summary of Day 35, then I will let the pictures do the talking: The hill in my painting behind Liberty Cap (which was created through deposits slowly over time? Or something? I can't find my Mammoth Hot Springs map that had all this great information...) is called Capital Hill. A ranger told me that they used to have a cavalry fort on the hill and they would shoot canons off every morning when they'd raise the flag. He thinks we should bring the practice back. He also told me that these hydrothermal features are changing constantly...which explains why I didn't seem to see anything similar to Thomas Moran's paintings of the area. He has a bunch of watercolor so referencing the "Hot Springs of Gardiner's River" and the Mammoth Hot Springs are the only ones near the river, that I know of. I went and hiked along the Gardner River because there is a hydrothermal feature called Boiling River, but it didn't look like anything Moran painted. Plus there were some elk grazing so I couldn't venture too much farther down the Boiling River to see if it's source was a colorful hot spring.

I went for a short hike behind the Mammoth Hot Springs, hoping to get a different, less crowded angle on one to paint (the boardwalks were very crowded). It started to rain while I was hiking so I turned back. It was only lightly raining when I got to my car so I thought oh I will go walk the boardwalk, it's not raining too hard. Part way through my hike, actually at the point I was farthest away from my car, light rain turned to heavy rain. And my raincoat did not perform its only duty in life. And my pants got soaked, and my shoes and socks got soaked, and my shirt under my raincoat got soaked. Not a big deal if you can go back to your hotel and dry off, bigger deal when all I have is my car. But not as bad as if I was cycling and camping. Ironically I had a Yellowstone poncho from my family's visit many years ago in my car that would have done an excellent job keeping me dry. I took a long hot shower (sorry California), walked around the hot springs again, and decided to move on from the hot springs the next day. I also have limited choices for views here, since visitors have to stay on the boardwalk. I'll play by that rule, I like my skin unburned.

Also - didn't do as much reading about this as I wanted too - but I can't even imagine what it must have been like for the Hayden expedition, or the Langford expedition, or Colter, or native Americans, to see these hydrothermal features for the first time. What is this crazy giant roasted marshmallow in the ground?! And it's hot?! How??? Why???

Palette Hot Springs (I think)
Thomas Moran at Liberty Cap.
Studio at a Hot Spring.
Liberty Cap at Mammoth Hot Springs, 6x8.
"Liberty Cap and Clematis Gulch" by Thomas Moran, watercolor.
"The Hot Springs of Gardiner's River, Extinct Geyser Crater" by Thomas Moran, watercolor. Might be Liberty Cap again, or maybe there's another one of these I didn't see.
Lower Terrace, Mammoth Hot Springs
Lower Terrace, Mammoth Hot Springs. Big giant marshmallow.
Lower Terrace, Mammoth Hot Springs
Mr. Colborn - if you're reading, what kind of bird is this??
Time to turn around...
I mean it looks like chipped drywall!
Crazy giant drywall marshmallow.
Liberty Cap with storm a brewin.
Lower Terrace, Mammoth Hot Springs
Lower Terrace, Mammoth Hot Springs
Colors are created by Thermofiles that live off the gasses produced in the hot springs. Another crazy science thing I can't really wrap my head around.
Lower Terrace, Mammoth Hot Springs
The Scream at Mammoth Hot Springs (not an official name...but it really should be).
So much color! Must be lots of those little creatures here.
Boiling River that feeds into Garners River. People swim in the river where the hot water pours out.
Chowing down, blocking my path.
Very blue and clear.
Ooooh steam and sunset light.
New Blue Springs at sunset, upper terrace of Mammoth Hot Springs.
Upper Terrace, Mammoth Hot Springs
Cupid Spring, I think. Upper terrace of Mammoth Hot Springs.
A Moran watercolor, to contrast with photos of the hot springs.
"The Hot Springs of Gardiner's River, Diana's Baths" by Thomas Moran. No rangers remembered Diana's Baths as a name, so not sure where this was.
"The Great Hot Spring, Gardiner's River" by Thomas Moran. I think this is the upper terrace today, that has much less water. So maybe that's a theme with all of these, that there is less water today.



  1. Day 35. The bird is a Western Tanager. Beautiful bird that loves to eat mayflies by the river. We have them here in California.

    Mammoth Hot Springs is awesome.

  2. Love your photos of all those hot springs! Fascinating!

  3. Wonderful blog, again! Love the photos...especially the ones with the very dark stormy skies! Such a nice contrast! And your watercolor painting.
    Remember the poncho! And bear bell! And bear spray!
    Love, mom

  4. Someone give that girl a s'more! She's got marshmallows on the brain!
    Aunt Molly :-)

  5. These pictures are unbelievable!!!!!!