I leave Bozeman around 8:30 and meet my friends Jackie & Phil at the Beanery in Livingston. We have a nice breakfast and a good yack.
The weather is very pleasant Ė around 50, a bit cloudy. There is no snow in Bozeman or in Livingston but a few patches remain on the hills over the pass. And the mountains are capped. But the bare land looks quite stark.
There are many elk on the river side of the road north of Gardiner, including a lot of calves.
I get through the arch around 1:00PM. Everything is quite dry. There is quite a line getting into the park Ė the first time Iíve seen this at this time of year. Once Iím in the Park I see no one at all. Where did all those cars go?
Itís 1:30 and Iíve already seen my first wolf! A few days ago the reports were filled with news that the Lamar Canyon pups had made a kill in the Lava Creek area and were seen off and on crossing the road just east of the Undine Falls pullout.
Well, when I get to Undine I see several cars pulled over and five people with big glass standing on the side of the road facing east. I carry my scope and join them. I ask quietly if they have seen any wolves and Iím told yes, they were visible earlier.
I set up my scope and immediately the gray male walks across the road about a quarter mile away. He sniffs around a bit on the south side, then disappears into the new growth. He looks healthy. I wait a while but no more wolves show up. So I head on my way.
Things are quiet but beautiful at Blacktail Ponds. There is still ice on Floating Island Lake and I see elk and bison in Tower flats.
When I get to Dorothyís I see Sian, Kirsty and Alan so we have a merry meeting. The day has turned chilly and windy. The news about 925 is on everyoneís mind and itís hard not to worry for the pups being so young and on their own in an area with lots of overlapping territory.
I am told about the morningís sightings. Some of the Lamar Canyon pack were seen briefly this morning and the Junction Butte adults were seen high on the north side of the road. They tell me Laurie has already gone back to Silver Gate
So I bid them adieu and head that way myself.
On the drive east I see lots of bison and pronghorn, a few elk, and beauty galore.
I unload my stuff and visit with my hosts a while. We talk about the Lamars. I tell Laurie that I donít understand why 926 would not ďfightĒ for her yearlings, but she reminds me that she was pregnant, and that became her driving priority, to be able to raise healthy pups. While we are talking Rick calls to see if Laurie & Dan are going out for the evening session. They are not but I tell him I will join him.
We meet at Exclosure and he shows me where the Junctions had been seen this morning. He then drives west to check signals and I keep scanning. 10 minutes later, I see a gray stand up and walk out on the snow patch. He fills my scope, and his collar is glinting. I call but Rick doesnít answer. I think something malfunctioned with my radio.
The gray disappears over the hill to the west, so I drive to where Rick is and fill him in person to person. He drives back to Exclosure with me and we look some more. Alas, they do not re-appear. From my description, though, Rick thinks I saw 911M.
I head back to Laurieís and join them for a delicious salmon dinner.
Today I saw: bison, elk, a hawk, pronghorn, 2 wolves (1 grey Lamar Canyon yearling and 911M of the Junctions) and the spirit of Allison.