Last night I had a relaxing evening with Kara, my housemate for the next several days. And I manage to get to bed early, too.
My day starts at 6:30; itís 19 cold degrees and I walk out to a few new inches of snow on the car.
The snow continues on my drive in. Usually it will stop around Round Prairie but not today. By 9AM we still we have terrible visibility; snow fog as well as actual snow.
I scope at HP, Confluence East and Confluence but itís impossible to see more than a few feet away. I asked Kara last night about the small dead thing near 21ís crossing. She says itís a dead coyote, and I see several magpies on it this morning.
I hear a report of a moose sometimes visible in the snow-fog south of Mid-point, so I head there for lack of anything else.
Lots of wolf watcher friends are here: Coleen, Robin & Steeve, Mike and Mary from the UK. We all try to find the moose, or something! But the falling snow wonít oblige. I wonder if the Junctions are out there, playing hide and seek with us?
There is a report of a single black seen in the Crystal drainage from Slough but visibility is bad there, now, too. It looks like you can see above the fog to the west so I end up driving to Dorothyís to scope from there. Itís gorgeous and snowy but I only see bison.
Eventually most of us end up back at Hitching Post. We know the Lamars are in the area and we are determined to find if they have a carcass back in there, somewhere. While I am setting up, a lone coyote traverses the hill directly opposite the lot. He perches on top for a while, giving photogs a thrill, then moves east and disappears.
A car goes off the road on the north side and everyone pitches in to help get them out. In the end, a pick-up with a tow line does the job.
Itís gorgeous and still snowing. Some people have trudged out to the rolling hills and are now reporting bird activity, leading us to believe the wolves DO have a carcass.
The snow is so deep out there, I am reluctant to chance it and stay in the lot. It takes a while but with the help of many other people, I finally find the birds being seen from the rolling hills. A bald eagle perched on a branch helps me pinpoint the area. Then, hallelujah! I see wolves!
There is a little ďVĒ clearing near the spot and I see my first Lamar right there. Itís Small Dot. Then I see a second wolf moving behind the trunks and branches. Itís 926!
I help other people see them, too, just as others helped me. And now the snow finally stops altogether (2PM), which improves things considerably. The two wolves climb up the hill and...aha! There is the third wolf, coming up from below. Little T!
Small Dot sits on his haunches for a while, and then I get all three in a vertical line on the steep hill. They look full!
Iím very happy to have even brief glimpses of the Lamars on their steep hill, below the ledge trail, for the next hour or so. Three wolves can get several very good meals from an elk and itís good to know they are still hunting well and healthy.
While the wolves are out of view we find bighorns on the cliff.
After a while, the wolves go out of sight and we start to think about getting warm again. Kara and I head east.
We see the bull moose in Lower Baronette again tonight.
When we get to Silver Gate several bison have taken up residence in the front yard marsh! And the snow is so thick, we are skeptical about leaving our cars here for fear of having to spend all morning shoveling out. Karaís idea is to park up the road in the large plowed lot, so we do that.
We sneak past the bison but they are busy eating and do not bother us. We haul our stuff inside, have dinner and hit the hay!
Today I saw: bison, coyotes, elk, 1 moose, bighorn sheep, 3 wolves (the Lamar Pack 926, Little T and Small Dot) and the spirits of Allison and Richard