It’s a chilly 7 degrees this morning. There was no new snow overnight.
I am hoping for some Junction action today.
I stop at Round Prairie when I see Kara. She has the moose cow & calf. She also finds that someone callously left McDonalds refuse at the pullout, which she graciously removes.
Light snow begins to fall around 8AM as we are scoping from Footbridge, watching several moose south of the soda cone.
I continue west but soon learn there are no Junctions visible at Slough. I see two coyotes in the flats below the Aspen lot and spot another bedded near straightaway. I see Steve & Robin as well as Becky & Chloe.
Welcome! They all traveled in from the west and have yet to see any wolves. Hmmm.
We gather for a while at Slough, chatting, debating strategy and exchanging Christmas treats. Rick calls from Dorothy’s to say he has #1118 scavenging again.
We travel there and watch her a while, since there seem to be no other options. I move further east to Confluence, where otter tracks are found but no otter. Then suddenly a bull moose comes running out of the willows to the left. He crosses the area quite quickly. At one point he trips up to his chin in snow, recovers and then does it again. I wonder if he broke through the ice? He makes it to the other side and charges up the bank and now trots calmly through the eastern side of the R-V, aiming for the tree line.
I suspect he was startled by some people I can see walking on the rolling hills behind Hitching Post.
The sun is trying its best to peek out but has yet to succeed. I continue east, caravanning now with Kara, Becky, Chloe, Robin & Steve. We see another moose at Round Prairie as well as an American dipper.
Then we gather at Pebble where Kara shows us all where the cougars were.
I find 5 of the 6 mountain goats Kara found yesterday so we watch them a while. Behind us a father takes his daughter up a hill so she can slide back down on a plastic sled several times. I remember when I was a little kid, in addition to traditional bladed sleds, we had what we called “saucers” concave circled made of aluminum with canvas handles on either side. I loved sledding in those things!
We still have plenty of daylight so we travel back west a bit, and Steve finds a fox from Footbridge. We thank him for provided us all a three dog day. The fox delights us doing its “leap and dive” routine several times.
Becky and Chloe had driven on and soon call to say the otter is out at Confluence, so we gather there to watch his antics. I am struck by the relative shyness of this particular otter. Usually they appear boldly curious of their human onlookers. This one only peeks out from the water a few times, mostly staying submerged. Chloe finds a bighorn ram on the slope to the north behind us.
Once the otter disappears, we head back to Dorothy’s to watch 1118 feed herself. We tell her tale to countless visitors.
There are three coyotes in the flats, two trekking towards Fishermans and one bedded south of the Institute.
As the light dims I decide to head home. At Trout Lake, three moose are visible on the south side of the road, feeding in the little creek there, and pleasing all the photogs.
Today I saw: bison, coyotes, a dipper, elk, a fox, 5 mountain goats, 5 moose, an otter, 1 bighorn ram, and 1 wolf (#1118 of the Mollies) and the spirits of Allison and Richard