The Lamar Valley, in the northeastern corner of the park, is the spot most locals and rangers will send you for wildlife spotting. We were there around late afternoon/early evening and we saw buffalo, pronghorn, and people being dumb around buffalo. They tell you to stay at least 100 yards away from buffalo, especially during mating season, but these people were getting out of their cars, approaching the wildlife, taking selfies, unconcerned that what they were approaching was a wild animal. Luckily, we did not witness anyone getting run down by a buffalo.
The next big tourist attraction we hit was Mammoth Hot Springs, way up near the northern entrance of the park. These hot springs were arranged in terraces, which looked a little bit like theater balconies all stacked up. They were rounded, filled with water, and there were fewer and fewer of them as it got higher and higher. In contrast to the bright blues and greens that were in the Upper Basin Geyser area, the Mammoth Hot Springs were covered in a palette of pale yellow, burnt orange, off white, and brown. Looking at the hot springs was like experiencing a post-apocalyptic world that is inhabitable by humans. It was neat to be able to sit and watch water flow over the levels of the terraces, trickling down, creating streams of orange cyanobacteria in their wake.
Our last stop in the northern portion of the park was a swimming spot called the Boiling River. The combination of the hot water from the springs and the cold water of the river made the water feel about bath water temperatures. Although no bath I’ve ever taken has variations of cold and extremely hot water flowing over you. There were a few spots that the river was flowing slower near that bank that you could just lie and relax in the water. It was a perfect way to end a day of exploring the park and I probably could have stayed there for hours and hours, prune-y hands be damned.