DAY TWO - Monday, June 28


It’s a warm 50 degrees this morning. I hear an odd bird sound, one I’ve heard before in the early morning. I record it so I can play it for Chloe later.

I have clear skies, bright moon & stars to light my way.

As expected, there are bison on the road at RP but with no other traffic, I carefully weave my way through.

I get to Slough just after 5AM and hike up to join Susan & Reve. Right away I see a black and a gray near the eastern trees. Susan can see pups but I need a bit more light.

The black has a limp so we know who she is. The growing light reveals three pups in the spring meadow; a black and 2 grays.

The limping female stays close to the pups as they wander and explore. More pups become visible in this meadow in the growing light. They play king of the hill, bounding from boulder to boulder. They move east and uphill below the Crescent Rock and then continue into the trees of the diagonal forest.

We compare notes and realize we’ve seen 7 of the 8 pups. Then there is the fifth gray, in front of the eastern trees with an uncollared gray yearling. This gives me a full count!

All the pups wander a bit over the rocks, just west of the trees of the Diagonal Forest, then most of them disappear behind the knob. I can still see two pups bedded in the gap between the trees and the formerly Flowered Hill, as if tuckered out from their explorations.

Here are sheep above the den cliff. We are always on the lookout for bears but today I only find a marmot up in the sheep rocks.

Kathie left a while ago to check out a radio call from Lamar. She radios back that she is watching 1276F and 1228F, who just caught a pronghorn fawn. She says 1276F is already on her way back to Slough. I decide to stay on the hill and await her arrival.

In just a very short time, she appears below Dave’s Hill, near the split boulder. She is careful as she approaches the campground road but crosses quickly without causing any cars to stop. She proceeds through the flats, swims the creek and continues up the lion meadow trail.

She is not noticed by the bedded wolves until she gets to the eastern trees. When she appears walking along the spine of the formerly Flowered Hill, she is besieged by all the pups and the limping female.

1276 is almost tripping over the pups as they jump and scamper beneath her legs. She disappears over the crest, then reappears just past the Crescent Rock. She gives the pups a feeding and the stalwart Limper gets some, too. Then 1276 moves back behind the Hill.

Someone spots a badger near the pond below us, which distracts me for a bit. When I look for 1276 again, she is walking slowly past the trunks of the eastern trees, trailed by the three babysitters and a few pups.

During a lull, I play the recording of the bird sound for Chloe. She figures out it’s a snipe – but more specifically, it’s the sound of its wings as it flies. Thank you, Chloe!

Linda and Kathy leave to go on a hike so, when the day gets warm, I drive Dorothy L back to her cabin in Silver Gate. We stop at Soda Butte midpoint when we see Taylor with her scope up. She has two big grizzlies up on Norris. We take a peek and then continue. It’s nice to have someone to chat with in the car for a change.

After a nice break and friendly conversation in Silver Gate, I head out for the evening. Laurie & Dan decide to take a night off.

In Lamar, I see several visitors looking south very intently, so I stop and climb Trash Can hill. I find a single wolf, an uncollared black, proceeding west. As it nears a bison herd, some of the bison take offense and charge the wolf. I lose it and can’t seem to find it again.

But Dorothy and Linda still have it so I join them on Hubbard Hill. The wolf is now heading back east. While watching the wolf, I find a badger out there, near the tree line, digging like crazy. It sure is a year for badgers!

The wolf meanders here and there, likely a Junction yearling. We lose it behind the Western Foothill.

Some visitors near us point and say the wolf is right there, very close! Actually they see a coyote on our side of the river.

On my way back east I notice there is no snow at all on any of the high peaks to the east. I barely recognize them!

Tonight I meeting the Baronette fox on the road near the Owl meadow. It seems that someone earlier hit a grouse which the fox snatches up and carries off, happy to get an easy meal.

Today I saw: 2 badgers, 2 grizzly bears, bison, a coyote, a fox, a marmot, several pronghorn, 13 bighorn rams, 13 Junction wolves including 5 adults (1276F, limping black, 2 uncollared grays and a second uncollared black yearling) plus 8 pups and the spirits of Allison and Richard.

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