We were right; before we even turned north, we encountered the first elk of the day, this time a group that included two fawns that still had their spots:
We were also surprised by roadwork; my guess is that the winter weather coupled with the 3,000,000+ summer visitors must wreak havoc on the roads, and there is a constant need for repair. We felt fortunate - we were on the roads so early, we were some of the first to get delayed after the road reopened at 7am! As we carefully made our way through the one lane construction area, we realized this was a major project, looking like a road widening. It seemed odd to have so much heavy machinery in a park known for maintaining the natural beauty of the surroundings, but at the same time, knowing how many people are in the park every summer, there is clearly a need for wider thoroughfares.
Having explored the Old Faithful area as fully as we could manage in the one allotted day, we headed north this time to the Mammoth Hot Springs area of the park. I expected to see more fascinating thermal hot spots from the road, and trees lining most of the drive. The park surprised me once again, though, with different landscapes than we had seen the day before. We stopped at one of the many falls in the park, getting some photos as the sunrise began to blanket the mountains:
We spent much of the day driving, as the Mammoth Hot Springs area is in the north part of the park. The sights were very different than toward Old Faithful; rockier, more dramatic, several waterfalls along the way. The bluffs and boulders gave way to open meadows and rolling hills; all of it spectacular, all of it a feast for the eyes. When we got to the Mammoth Hot Springs area, it was another opportunity to see the thermal activity up close, walking the boardwalks and seeing the springs and hot spots at work.