Imagine a wide valley. Mountains on all the sides. Now throw some snow on top of the mountains. How about some more. Make it all white. Now keep painting the complete valley white with snow. Yes, anywhere you see, you see snow….soak in this environment for a moment. When your breath has calmed down, imagine a tiny stream flowing through this valley. Tiny enough that you can not see it from a few meters. But what you see is water vapor rising from the stream. Yes, make that water hot. Hot enough that you can not have a bath in it. But, now build a small stone enclosure near this stream and direct some hot water in this enclosure. The outside temperature is so cold that any water which stays in this enclosure becomes warm. Warm enough to have a bath. Did you imagine something like this? 🙂
Some more Panorama shots from the trip
Tufa formations near Lee Vining.