Itís 28 degrees this morning at 7:07.
We have some fog as we drive up the canyon. Itís a little overcast, making it seem much darker than yesterday at this same time. We stop at the High Bridge where Steve is listening and looking for Canyons, but to no avail.
We stop and get out at the S Curves because MacNeil has found the 8 Mile wolves.
We think they have a carcass and keep disappearing into a gully. MacNeil heads up to the Nature Trail and soon calls to us that he has one and likely more.
We join him and settle in for a nice, long sighting, interrupted by several snow squalls. I see mostly bedded wolves but one very nice greeting involving the "old male". A lot of people stopped and we showed them, but they are pretty far away and not doing much so most people didnít stay long.
I also find two coyotes; one to the south and another to the west.
Des and Mike hike up South Butte. From there they could see the carcass area and a total of 16 wolves. They say there is very little left.
We also see lots of elk, mostly bulls and many bison.
I am delighted when Jeremy shows up, here for a Christmas visit with his family. He tries to get me to hike up South Butte with him but I decline. It's hard enough in the summer!
My total for wolves is 7: 5 blacks, 2 grays.
I hear from others that the Lamars were seen this morning. A thick snow squall came through then cleared up, then came in thick again. Larry & Linda gave us all gifts, a tube of lip gloss fastened to a cloth holder that you put around your neck. Very thoughtful and handy!
When our sighting is over, Rick comes by and gets no signals. Oh well.
Itís now 23 degrees and I am heading east.
I see Kara scoping from Boulder so I stop to join her. She says there are a variety of signals in the area but no sightings. 755 is somewhere on Specimen near the cut. 778 in the Junction Butte area. Rick is not sure where 889 is but sheís not with 755.
Rick needs to go to Soda Cone to help move the newest elk carcass.
Several folk stop at Peregrine to look for 755 but no luck.
Kara tells me about her Lamar sighting this AM. The pair (Black female and Big Gray) chased a bull elk along the road and caught it - in the creek right by the Soda Cone. Kara stopped to watch through binocs but other cars parked close, spooking them off. This left a carcass is too close to the road for their safety. She says they are gonna move it soon, so letís go to Footbridge and watch.
We do and she tells me more of the story. Apparently, it was not yet dead when cars spooked the wolves from it. Rangers were called and would have put it out of its misery but it died before they could do so.
There was blood on the road east of the cone, suggesting some sort of contact was made there.
The Lamars moved south and bedded on the hillside, unwilling to come back to their meal so close to the road.
Rick, 2 Rangers and Storyís dad do the job. First the dead elk is placed on a blue plastic sled and four men are "hitched" to the sled by ropes. They tug it across the snow and sage. Rick arranges for it to be in an area easily viewed from Footbridge.
Once they have it far enough from the road, they inspect it and take photos. Then they hike back out with the empty sled. It takes 25 minutes for the first bird to make contact. A magpie. Soon dozens of magpies are there, the ravens take longer.
I know the Lamars will not come down until dark, but at least they will finally get a good meal.
I head back west. Stop at Straightaway. Calvin & Lynette are here along with numerous others, looking for 755 or 889. Everyone is yakking and NOT looking for wolves. I suggest we all go to the Nature trail to see if the 8 Miles are still there.
We find them, but it's not easy viewing.
Now back to Gardiner for dinner.
Today I saw: bison, coyote, elk, magpies and ravens, 7 wolves from the 8-Mile pack and the spirit of Allison