DAY ONE - Sunday, June 27


It’s been 10 days since I was last in the Park but since the pups are still being seen every day I’m heading back.

Laurie & Dan have invited me to stay in Silver Gate with them so why not? It’s a pleasant 75 degrees when I leave around 1PM.

I have an easy drive and a nice visit with Allison. The day is partly cloudy and after a high of 82 in Gardiner, it’s dropped back to 77.

Looks like the last 10 days have made the Park a lot more green. I also see many more wildflowers this trip, including some of my favorites, like a hillside of “Butter & Eggs” west of the High Bridge.

There is a sizeable bear jam on the west of Lower Hellroaring. While I wait for traffic to move I enjoy the wildlfowers: sticky geranium, sweet yellow clover, daisies, arrowleaf balsamroot, buttercups, some unidentified white ones, wild roses and dwarf sunflower.

Eventually we inch forward and I see who’s caused the jam: a black bear sow with a single cub. I get a quick glimpse and on I go.

I hit a second black bear jam at Yellowstone Picnic. This one has drawn 3 rangers so there are likely cubs here, too. Judging from the roadside crowd, this bear is to the south but I never see them.

Since it’s the middle of the day I decide to bypass Slough and continue east. Through Lamar Canyon I am fairly shocked to see how low the water is. Sandbars everywhere. Boulders high and dry. Oh, the poor fish!

At Soda Butte midpoint I am stopped at a very large bison jam with cows & calves crossing and re-crossing the road. A few bulls are in pre-rut mode. After about 10 minutes I see an opportunity to pass some cars so I take it, drawing a honk and a complaint of “what are you doing?” which I don’t answer. No bison were harmed or harrassed.

I get to Silver Gate and unpack all my stuff and then settle in for a catch up visit with Laurie & Dan.

Soon, we are back on the road, heading to Slough for the evening’s viewing.

At Trout Lake, the same bison herd from earlier is now headed up the hill. The timing works for me to bypass the stopped cars and the bison by simply driving through the pullout. Laurie & Dan follow me. This time I draw two horn honks and get called “Idiot!”. No bison were harmed or harrassed.

As we drive through Lamar, we hear of wolves being seen heading west. We stop at Hubbard to look. Strangely, we don’t find any. Then we learn that they were seen on the north side of the road, while we had been looking south. We get a good chuckle over this.

Dan finds the bear Bill called in: a grizzly sow with a single cub, up in “No Bear Meadow”. We watch a while, then continue to Slough, where we join Becky & Chloe, Linda & Dorothy in the usual spot.

There are tree puppies in view, plus a black babysitter, crawling around the boulders near the Crescent Rock.

This babysitter wolf has acquired a bad limp on her foreleg. She is game, though, and will likely recover in time. And it doesn’t stop her being attentive to the pups.

Other pups appear in the Spring meadow, roaming and exploring in that fascinating spot. 907 appears with another black pup, emerging from behind the “no longer flowered Flower Hill. She beds flat out while the pup explores.

A collared black wolf is spotted to the east, coming down the slope above the creek. It disappears as it crosses the water, then reappears again in the meadow. The wolf is heading towards Secret Passage. These Junction wolves are constantly on the move!

The three pups in the boulders wander east into the trees of the Diagonal forest all by themselves. Laurie says they have been doing this for a few days now. 907 is soon after them. She reappears with two of the three, leading them back to the eastern trees. Then off she goes to retrieve the third.

Soon after this we begin to lose the light so back we go to Silver Gate.

Today I saw: 2 grizzly bears (including 1 coy), 2 black bears (including 1 cub), bison, pronghorn, 7 Junction wolves (including black limper, 907F and a GPS collared black, plus 6 pups (3/3) and the spirits of Allison and Richard.

Next Chapter

Back to Main Page

Printer Friendly Index