There is a beautiful sunrise this morning.
Today the land looks very fall-ish. There is a dusting of snow on the highest mountains but none on the forested slopes. Very beautiful.
I join Rick and Kathie at Lamar Canyon West, looking towards Slough. I see two wolves, a black and a gray – most likely Junction Buttes. Seems as though they moved further east overnight from the rocks where they were yesterday.
We decide to head down to the Slough lot and climb up Dave’s Hill for a closer look.
Once I'm up here, I can see several more of them in the flats, a total of seven. First I see 890 bedded, and I watch the pups come in to greet him. I see 890 snap and pin one of the pups. Then the un-collared gray yearling comes in (the same male I watched this summer on the bison carcass in the company of 911M and the black female). All five pups rush to greet their uncle. He regurgitates for them and they reward us with lots of tail wagging.
The yearling dutifully greets 890 and then wanders around the flats a bit. While he’s out there, he bunches a herd of bison all by himself. Kinda cool to see that.
I don’t see alpha female 870 but she is likely there, somewhere.
It’s mighty cold up here and I get chilled, so once the wolves are bedded I head down. I get about half way down when Dusty calls to say they are moving south. I figure they are going to cross the road so I drive to Aspen but that turns out to be the wrong move.
The wolves had not headed out at all, they just went out of sight for about 20 minutes, then came back into view in the same area. They probably were visiting an old carcass behind the southern Round tree.
I drive back up to Lamar Canyon west and join Mark and Carol. We watch the wolves climb up the far side of the Southern Round Tree. I see 8 now, including 870F. They mill around the base of the tree and then bed down.
Around 10:30, Kathie and Laurie and I decide to carpool and drive west. It's fun to have someone other than myself to talk to!
We end up going over Dunraven into Hayden. There is some significant snow on Dunraven. I find Hayden to be nowhere near as pretty as Lamar.
We don’t find wolves but instead try to familiarize ourselves with the area where people have been finding the Canyon wolves, and sometimes 755.
On the western side of the road (opposite the “point” that you can see from Grizzly Overlook) is a fairly open area with a line of telephone poles. This is the area where wolves have been spotted over the months.
Next, we pay a short visit to Lower Falls from Artist Point.
We decide we have enough time to head over to Norris and then back to Mammoth via Swan Lake Flats. I so rarely drive this area in the fall and the roads are due to close very soon, so it’s a good thing to do. There is some construction on a new road from Norris to Indian Creek. We have delays but they are completely tolerable. It’s so nice to have time for actual conversations, rather than interrupted chats in a pullout.
We see swans on Swan Lake and a few elk. And we see two goats on Bunsen from Golden Gate. A first for me at that spot!
On our way back east we stop at Frog Rock. Marlene and a few friends are scoping on a hill looking south. We join them and see a single black wolf bedded on a hill. The wolf is looking intently to the east. There seem to be two grays bedded close to the black on the same hill, but they never move, even when the black walks right by them.
Laurie & I think they are rocks. Anyway, at first we thought we were looking at 763M, but when this wolf stood and moved, we saw a GPS box, no limp and no graying areas. His overall appearance was of a young wolf. Laurie now thinks we are seeing 910M, a disperser from 8 mile, who might want to join the Prospect wolves - or maybe he’s looking for an available female.
We all agree he is a very handsome wolf. He eventually trots down the hill and eventually we lose him.
So one we go back east.
When we get to Lamar Canyon West we learn the Junctions are still visible right where we left them. I notice two people in the pullout who look familiar- It's Jan & Bill! I hop out to give them hugs.
I drop off Laurie & Kathie at their cars and then head back to hang out with Jan & Bill for a while. We catch up and watch wolves together again like old times.
Now I’m driving back to Laurie’s.
I stop by Rick’s to get the DVD’s he mentioned and we talk about Nate’s book a bit. He tells me he wrote a piece for “Wolves We Have Known”, a compilation book by international wolf scientists. I will have to add that book to my collection.
Then I head on to Laurie’s for a great meal and another playoff game.
Today I saw: bison, elk, mountain goats, swans, 9 wolves (8 Junction Buttes plus 910M) and the spirit of Allison