Itís another warm-ish morning, with another inch of fresh snow.
I see fox tracks going across Laurieís driveway.
When I get to Pebble the snow gets thicker instead of thinner. Suddenly I am enveloped in fog, hiding the trees as well as the mountains.
The fog persists all through Lamar. I canít see the ranch buildings at all! At Dorothyís I stop but canít see the carcass, even as close as it is. I laugh to myself, thinking there could be a whole pack of wolves on it, plus bears and a cougar and I wouldnít know!
Quite often when there is fog in Lamar, Little America is clear. But not today! The fog is even thicker at Slough.
Hmm, I start to consider that this could turn out to be a very difficult day for seeing wolves, and it sadly turns out to be correct.
I find the crew at Boulder and learn that 1048M is still in the trough. I suggest that he might have an injury that makes him reluctant to travel. Jeremy says, yeah, or they might have a carcass or two. He finally admits itís a little unusual for 1048M to not be with the alphas.
We set up on Boulder hill, convinced that the fog will lift eventually. Around 8:45 we get a tiny bit of a break, allowing me to see the Ford and the lowest part of Momís Ridge.
But clouds still cling to everything above that, all the way to the top.
Doug M has set up at Long Pullout. He radios that heís found a grizzly to the south. Whoa! Jeff and I turn our scopes that way, eager to see the bear but reluctant to leave our perch.
We canít quite see all the areas Doug can see, though, and we never find the bear. We have eyes at Slough and Elk Creek, both of which have limited visibility. The crew drives into Lamar all the way to Trout Lake in hopes of spotting the alpha group we saw yesterday. Visibility there is decent now, but they still come up empty.
Nobody finds any wolves. The only good news is that 1228Fís signal is now back in the trough area. Jeremy suspects the alphas were on a territory check, not a hunt, and most likely returned to the Trough last night.
Around 9:30, I am still hope-scoping on Boulder Hill. I turn southeast to try to find the bear again and end up seeing what I think are two wolves, way over near Crystal Rock. I call it in, but when younger eyes try to confirm my sighting they find two mule deer instead.
Oh, itís very embarrassing for me, and I feel awful about it. Luckily, I am forgiven.
The fog continues to wax and wane for another hour before it finally clears around 10:30. Jeff and I remain all this time on Boulder hill. The courting pair of bighorn sheep serve as our entertainment this morning. We also find elk and bison, as usual.
Finally, around 11AM I redeem my earlier mistake when I find a single black wolf, trotting through a yellow-grass meadow, just west of Little Momís Ridge.
This time both Jeff and Cameron confirm my sighting before I call it out over the radio. Soon the crew arrives, with Laurie & Dan. Rick and Michael are scoping from the Ski Lot and they find it, too.
Thankfully, the wolf stays in view long enough for many people to see it. When I lose it in some thick trees, I start to scan east of there, expecting it to reappear on a high route to Slough.
But instead, the wolf continues uphill. Jeremy is one of the few who follows it up and over skyline.
Ah well, at least we are no longer wolfless!
The day remains overcast with substantial wisps of fog continuing to persist here and there.
At noon I bid adieu to Jeff and the crew and follow Laurie & Dan back east.
I stop again at Dorothyís to check the played-out bison carcass. There are no wolves here, but I do find a pair of coyotes out by the river. I suspect they left the carcass just minutes ago. The pretty pair remains in view for a while, paralleling the river east, allowing me to show them to several happy visitors.
After a break in Silver Gate, I drive back in around 3PM. This is my last evening for a while, and I want to take advantage of the crewís presence.
Corn snow starts to fall around Hitching Post, and I notice that all of Specimen Ridge is shrouded once again.
The limping coyote is looking for scraps on Trash Can hill.
The crew is still at Boulder, as is Jeff. No wolves since the single black this morning, but we do find elk and bison, along with the love-sick bighorn ram and his still-indifferent ewe.
I learn that yet another wolf has been killed in the hunt, in the Montana unit just outside the Park. There are no details yet as to which pack it may have been from.
A beautiful sunset begins, lighting up Druid peak and all the northern hills with rose-gold hues.
Itís a pleasant evening, full of laughter and comradery.
Around 4:30 I head back to Silver Gate.
Today I saw: bison, 3 coyotes, elk, 2 bighorn sheep, 1 Junction wolf and the spirits of Allison and Richard.