Osprey Falls

Osprey Falls

During my first season in Yellowstone, I worked as a wrangler at the Mammoth Hot Springs horse corrals. I chose Mammoth because of its proximity to both Electric Peak and to North Yellowstone Stables, where I boarded Jitterbug. I wanted to be able to ride across Swan Lake Flats toward Electric Peak and explore the region as often as possible.

The principal obstacle between Mammoth and Swan Lake Flats is Terrace Mountain, a travertine terrace like those at Mammoth that was formed by hot springs about 63,000 years ago. Below Terrace Mountain is an area known as the Hoodoos which was formed by fragments of the mountain as it crumbled away during the area's many earthquakes. It is a strange and mysterious place where one is consumed by the spirit of the American Indian. There is something inexplicably spiritual about being among those giant fragments of rock, almost as if one were standing in a primordial graveyard. I am always overwhelmed by a complete sense of insignificance when I am there.

On my way from Mammoth to Swan Lake Flats, I usually took the old Howard Eaton trail. As the trail passes out of the Hoodoos, the path narrows. To the left is a sheer drop off straight down for hundreds of feet to Goldengate Canyon, where cars look like ants scampering along the highway. The trail again widens at the summit. The first time that Jitter and I reached this point, I turned around to see where we had been, and I couldn't breathe. To look out over the Hoodoos at Goldengate Canyon, Mount Everts and Bunsen Peak is to know God. I could never hope to capture the feeling in music, but hopefully I have given the listener a small impression of a horseback ride up through the Hoodoos to the top of creation.

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Yellowstone for Violin and Orchestra

Written by Yellowstone outfitter Jett Hitt and recorded by the Slovak Radio Symphony.

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