“A Steamy Friday”

The day started at 6:25 AM at Mammoth Dining for breakfast. After breakfast, we took the road less traveled to take a look at the backside of Mammoth Springs. Mammoth Springs, one of Yellowstone’s geothermal vents, is comprised of many smaller springs that produce steam, amongst them Narrow Gage, Canary Falls, Prospect Terrace, and Mound Springs. Yellowstone has the largest collection of geothermal features in the world as a result of underground volcanic activity. 

A group of people standing and looking at hot springs.
Our group was absolutely AWED by the diversity of geothermal features in Mammoth Hot Springs.

After a 2.5 mile hike around Mammoth Springs, we headed down to meet two park rangers and hear their stories from the past 30 years in the park. Ivan Kowaski works in backcountry permitting and training for visiting park goers. Bob Fuhrmann is director of Education at the park and works with the Youth Conversation Corps. 

During a short break, we had a chance to see the visitor center, a family of Great Horned Owls in the tree outside the visitor center, and had wraps for lunch. After lunch, we were joined Ranger Michael who works with teachers, students, and citizen scientists in the park. He led us on a hike to spot pikas for a citizen science project called Pikas in Peril. While spotting a pika, we also spotted a very cheeky golden-mantled ground squirrel.

Small mammal among the rocks.
Can you spot the pika hiding among the rocks? Our educators listened and watched for these small mammals today while collecting data for the citizen science project, Pikas in Peril.

After dinner at Cowboy’s Lodge and Grill in Gardiner, Montana (just North of the park), we set off for an evening nature drive. Evening animal sightings on our drive included: elk, Ruddy Duck, our first bison, our first black bear, a cinnamon colored black bear, two bachelor mule deer, a coyote, Sandhill Cranes, pronghorn, and most notably gray wolves from the Rescue Creek Pack.  

We ended day 2 with a group meeting by a herd of bison with many calfs and took the opportunity to discuss our first impressions of Yellowstone and our favorite moments so far.

We are so grateful for our first full day at Yellowstone to have been jam packed with so much awe and new knowledge!

Laura Martinez, Jessica Pichan, and Dave Williamson



  • Adam Smith

    1 month ago

    The Pika is so cute! I love that you all got to see it. That is quite the impressive animal list that you all got! What was the favorite animal that you all saw this day?

    • Melissa Dowland

      1 month ago


      Our favorite was probably the four black wolves we got to see running across a hill as light was fading for the day. We were thrilled to be able to watch them for a while as they moved through the meadows and sagebrush with almost no one else around!

  • Joseph Beamon

    1 month ago

    You saw so much today. And wolves! So happy for you all!

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