This morning I get up a tad early because I want to go straight to Lamar.
Itís snowing again. I meet Laurie & Dan at the Institute. They are looking for 755 and 889 to the north and Iím glad to know they are still together. I hope 755 is finding her something to eat.
Laurie tells me that the Lamars got another elk this morning. Itís close to the road again but this time they fed for a while before they were spooked away.
I join others Trash Can: Jeremy, Doug, Jeff and unpleasant newcomer DD. I set up on a snow berm south of the pullout and find Big Gray bedded to the north, looking longingly at his carcass. The carcass itself is a furlong east of the pullout, just a few feet south of the road, next to a ranger car with swirling lights. Another carcass that needs to be moved.
We all watch the Rangers move the carcass. Rick allows Jeremy to help this time. Once they drag it away, Jeremy says it takes 7 minutes for a magpie to make contact. Seconds later there are 13 magpies. First Raven after 13 minutes.
I then go back to the Institute to try to help find 755. No luck.
I go further west to Hellroaring. Rick asks us to look for Junctions from here while he goes to Nature Trail. Marlene and Amy and I look for an hour and a half seeing nothing, then Laurie & Dan arrive and as soon as Laurieís scope is up she finds a wolf!
Itís 869M and his brother, 906M (a black). They are very high on the open slope, romping and playing together. Such a wonderful sight to see this amazing young wolf who managed to survive the worst case of mange I ever saw. Last year at this time we were telling visitors he would not last the winter. Not only did he survive, he has become the favorite uncle of the new pups. And he seems to know heís lucky Ė he plays and cavorts, living life to the fullest. The last time I see him he is romping downhill, kicking up snow as he goes.
A little later we join Rick at the Nature trail. C & L have found the 8 miles chasing 778 about a half hour ago but they are now all out of sight. Hmm, this indicates that 778 is on his own and that 693 has apparently passed. He will be looking for a mate come February, and might find one with the 8 Miles.
I stay for a bit then when I leave I am called back!
Thank you! Because of that call I get to see four of the 8 Mile wolves, two grays and two blacks, walking around the high fingers way out there. Then I hear that 755 and 889 are heading to the Trash Can carcass so I leave this sighting and go east.
I donít think I can possibly get there in time but I do. I park at Picnic. Once Iím set up I see 755 and 889 directly south of me, heading east. They are not yet at the carcass. She limps so badly, itís heartbreaking. He is gorgeous. She takes a very circuitous route to the carcass, needing to be especially wary. She even walks east a ways to check that out. Then she heads to the carcass and feeds for a good 10 minutes. Her belly is quite full when she leaves. 755 beds and, strangely, does not eat. I donít know why but itís so sweet for him to accompany her.
They head south into the treeline. I watch 755 moving in the forest, trotting behind tree trunks, my favorite way to see a wolf.
I leave around 4:15 to make the long drive back west.
Today I saw: bison, coyotes, elk, 9 wolves from four packs! (Big Gray of the Lamars, 869 and 906 of the Junction Buttes, four pups from the 8 Miles as well as 755 and 889 Ė loners travelling together at the moment) and the spirit of Allison