Itís warm again this morning, 50 degrees, and quite overcast.
I stop at Footbridge to look for Small Dot, but he does not appear. I continue west and decide to join Bill at Dorothyís. On my way up Hubbard Hill I see a large triangular piece of metal in the road, as if part of someoneís bumper came off. Later I find out it was left-over damage from a car/bison collision last night. I don't see any evidence of a carcass so perhaps it was hauled away. Too bad; it would have made for some great viewing if they'd left it in the area.
As I reach the Institute I hear Laurieís voice. She has just seen Small Dot to the north from Footbridge pullout, so I pull in and turn around.
By the time I join Laurie, Small Dot has already gone out of sight. So I figure Iíll try from Hitching Post while Laurie & Dan go to Confluence east to look back.
Doug is also here at HP and he draws our attention to some bird activity to the south. One cottonwood tree growing out of the river bottoms is chock full of birds.
Hmm, looks like I could use some height to see that area better. Geriatric might do the trick. Rick is already up there, so Dan & Laurie and I haul up our scopes and join him. It has become quite windy today, and despite the sun, it is quite chilly.
I see the bird-filled tree and notice a second area a little to the south-east which also has bird activity. Hmm. That might be the carcass that Small Dot is trying to get to. It looks like itís across the creek behind the rolling hills.
But without wolves to see, the chill chases us back to our cars. We try to figure out what might offer the best angle. We end up at Hitching Post but I am nervous about going out on the rolling hills when a carcass is that close. We might draw the attention of dozens of visitors, and some of them they might be tempted to cross the creek.
So we scope from the lot. Then someone finds a grizzly, way up on Norris, so we watch that. But nothing comes of any of our efforts.
We decide to go to Slough for a while and end up on Bobís. We do not find any wolves but I find a pair of black bears roaming the grassy slopes low on Specimen.
Laurie & Dan need to catch up on sleep so they head back to Silver Gate while I drive west again. I pass a coyote just beyond the Yellowstone Bridge. I scope for a while from Elk Creek, scanning Junction Lake in case any of the Junctions are passing through. I go on to Childrenís Fire Trail and scope from there but itís just too windy so I donít stay long.
On my way back I hear a radio report of two blacks and a gray being seen north of YES, but by the time I get there, Iím too late.
I go back to Silver Gate for a while and find Laurie & Dan just waking up from a well-needed nap. We have turkey-vegetable soup and then get a call from Rick. He and I decide to carpool for an evening session but L & D decide to stay in.
We stop and look from Footbridge, Hitching Post & Confluence. We see lots of beauty but no wolves. After a while I suggest we go back to Hitching Post. As we approach that lot, Rick notices two cars stopped on the road just east of the pullout. I glance up the hill and see Small Dot standing there, big as life. I canít tell you how often I have driven by this hill, wanting so badly to see a wolf there, just as I see one now. Itís been a fantasy sighting of mine for 18 years, since the time I saw 21 up there.
I know cannot stop here, so I drive on to Footbridge and swing the car around so we can face that hilltop. Rick sees Small Dot again, moving northwest. We watch from here a while longer but do not see him again.
So we drive to Confluence East and look from there. I see him for a split second up high but he disappears behind a tree. We stay here a while, but the light is going so I suggest we head on in.
This time, as we pass Hitching Post, we see cars stopped just east of there AGAIN. Rick says ďthereís a wolf in the roadĒ. Just then John Kerr drives up and turns on his flashers. He passes me (without knowing itís me or that Rick is in my car) and the car ahead of me, deliberately blocking traffic to protect the wolf.
The wolf is, of course, none other than 926. She is carrying something and puts it down in the road for a moment to get a better grip. Itís the head and spinal column, complete with ribs, of a deer.
She carries it across the road and uphill to the north. I see a lot of pink on the bones, so there is some nutrition left.
Rick and I both comment, if Small Dot cannot get across the road to the carcass, then 926 will bring it to him!
We stop at Footbridge to see if we can spot her going back to the north but she gives us the slip. Still, itís a really nice ending to the day.
Today I saw: 2 black bears, 1 grizzly bear, bison, coyotes, mule deer, elk, pronghorn, 2 wolves (Lamar Small Dot and 926F) and the spirits of Allison and Richard.