We had a big day today. Two tours. The first was a early morning (before sunrise) wildlife tour in Lamar Valley. Our guide said that she hoped for a three dog day – wolf, coyote and fox. We had a zero dog day. Well truthfully, we did get to see some wolves in a scope that looked like black dots they were so far away, so as far as we were concerned it was a zero dog day. We did get to see bighorn sheep, moose and lots of bison though.
In the afternoon we visited the Norris Geyser Basin, and enjoyed hours of mother nature and exercise as we acted as snow plows between thermal features. The Norris Geyser Basin is so hot and dynamic because it sits on the Norris-Mammoth and the Hebgen Lake faults. These two faults intersect with the ring fracture zone that resulted from the creation of the Yellowstone Caldera 640,000 years ago. The Basin consists of three main areas: Porcelain Basin, Back Basin, and One Hundred Springs Plain. Unlike most of other geyser basins in the park, the waters from Norris are acidic rather than alkaline. The difference in pH allows for a different class of bacterial thermophiles to live at Norris, creating different color patterns in and around the Norris Basin waters. All of that hot gas and water did not mean that it was warm to walk. It was very cold, with strong winds and snow. We were all layered up though (thanks to our shopping spree before we left) so we were warm.
We did get a treat on the way back to the hotel, we saw a wolf that was having dinner on a carcass that was near the geyser basin. (It was a treat after we calmed Leslie down about the circle of life). So, we actually had a one dog day by the end of the day. The wolf is the alpha female of the canyon pack and is 10 years old, which is quite old for a wolf in the wild.