DAY THREE - Tuesday, June 29


I leave a tad late today but get to Slough before 5:30.

It’s a lovely morning. Susan and Reve are up on the hill but Rick is scoping from the lot so I join him.

My first wolf is the Alpha female. She has a stick in her mouth, leading pups (2 blacks and a gray) into the Spring Meadow.

She continues downhill into the Lion Meadow trail. She goes about half-way and pauses. Up above I see 907F and the limping female, on their haunches watching the parade.

The two black puppies turn and head back uphill. 907F moves into the Spring Meadow, where she greets the returning pups. The other 5 pups come running down the hill into the Spring meadow. They have a mini-rally, then 6 pups start to travel down the Lion Meadow trail. Just one black pup stays with 907 in the spring meadow.

When we look into the flats we realize other wolves are down there, too, including 1228F. Suddenly we see a pronghorn fawn racing to the east in the lower part of the Lion Meadow. 1228F and the alpha female give chase but the fawn is fast and they give up pretty quickly.

Some of the pups have already turned around but I still see four pups approaching the white cutbank. The alpha female is carrying her stick again. Rick says over the years he has often seen wolves use “the stick trick” to get pups to follow them; 42F did it, so did 472F, the 06 and 926F.

907F remains in the spring meadow, howling from time to time. An uncollared gray is with her, plus the shy black pup.

The limping female cannot resist joining in the puppie fun. She hobbles down the Lion Meadow trail. A second uncollared gray appears with 907F. They all seem to be watching the pups discovering a new place.

Laurie & Dan moved to a different lot with a better view. They report that pups are playing and romping in the high grass near the cut bank.

Eventually, the alpha female needs a break and heads off to the south, crossing the campground road. I get a glimpse of her heading up Dave’s Hill near the split rock on her way to Secret Passage.

The pups have been in the flats for over an hour but now Missy sees 1276F heading back uphill. Behind her are four pups, 2 & 2, trudging back up.

907F waits at the top. She is really showing her wisdom this year. She seems to have lots of patience and seems so calm, not anxious at all, trusting her pups will return to her.

One of the gray pups carries a stick (so cute!) just like mom did. A black pup tries several times to steal the stick from the gray but the gray successfully defends herself, choosing to veer off the trail rather than give up her stick.

However, trying to walk through sage with a horizontal stick in your mouth proves a bit too much for her, so she abandons it and continues homeward.

1228F comes up the hill and moves to the eastern trees. Then she doubles back, crossing the den hill until she is surrounded by pups near the sage den. She lowers her head and feeds them, to their great excitement.

The pups continue to roam around, some exploring the eastern trees, then one or two roam over to the western trees. One explores the logs area and then up the hill to 890’s tree.

A pair of bison appear near the Crescent Rock, heading slowly west. Suddenly two gray pups burst into view from behind the formerly Flowered Hill, spooked by the giant beasts. They dash all the way to the sage den and dive inside.

The limping black makes her way up from below and takes a nice long drink in the spring meadow before bedding for a bit. 1228F, always on the go, heads back downhill again. A black pup follows her for a little while, then thinks better of it and turns back home.

1228F reaches the flats, crosses the creek and the campground road, basically following the route the alpha took to Secret Passage.

We have a lull and it’s only 8:30!

It’s a gorgeous day, bright blue sky, no clouds, about 50 degrees and getting warmer.

With only bedded wolves to watch, I look around and find some sandhills. Up in the rocks left of the den cliff, the usual group of bighorn is grazing.

When the day gets hot I head down the hill and back east for my break.

Around 6PM, Laurie & Dan and I head back in.

There is a black bear just off the road near Thunderer.

Missy and Andy are set up on Trash Can Hill, so I join them. Laurie talks with Bill who tells her “no wolves in Lamar” at the moment. So, we all go to Slough.

Happily, a thick bank of clouds is covering the sun, so viewing is pleasant.

We set up at Bobs, thinking we might have activity in the flats. Instead, Dan finds some pups following a black adult through the rocks west of the Diagonal forest. We name some landmarks to make it easier to help each other, such as the “windswept tree”, the “V-Rock” and “the Christmas Tree”.

In the lot with us is a Dutch family, eager to see wolves. I share my scope and all the kids in the group see at least one bedded wolf, except for 10-year-old Blake. He can’t seem to get the hang of the scope. However, with lots of patience and help from his dad, he finally sees one.

The pups have travelled beyond the forest. I see them come out at the bottom, an area of high green grass and several broken-off tree stumps. I remember in years past the Junction Pack used this area as a sort of “family room”. For several days that summer, the place to find puppies playing was right here.

But this is the first time I’ve seen this year’s litter explore this spot.

The babysitters, including 1276, limping female and another black, bed down in the cool grass, letting the pups explore.

Some go further east to the Horizontal forest, then cross the little drainage to a meadow in front of the H forest. The babysitters get up and follow. 1276F starts digging. Suddenly she dashes to the right. Oh! She caught a squirrel! Well, that’s a great lesson for the pups!

Around 8:20 the pups decide on their own, to head back home.

There is howling from the den area. Awww, it’s 907F, with an uncollared gray. She’s calling the pups home.

It’s time for us to head home ourselves. On the way we see a black bear in Lamar Canyon and the Baronette fox.

Today I saw: 2 black bears, bison, sandhill cranes, a fox, pronghorn (including a fawn), bighorn sheep, 16 Junction wolves (including AF, 907F, 1228F, 1276F, limping black female, uncollared black, 2 uncollared grays plus all 8 pups) and the spirits of Allison and Richard.

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