Iíve had a nice ďBozeman breakĒ and a delicious Turkey Day meal with Barb. She is kind enough to load me up with leftovers, and I make several fresh turkey sandwiches for my visit.
Itís 29 degrees at 12:30 as I leave town.
I have a nice but uneventful drive over the pass and along 89.
The new road between Gardiner and Mammoth is turning out to provide excellent views of elk in various spots. I stop at my new favorite pullout to visit with Allison and watch sheep on McMinn bench. I count 7 rams and at least 10 ewes in two groups.
Itís a warmish, sunny day.
As I pass North Butte, I see the Junction Crew in the lot, along with Jeff and Kathie. They have just come down from North Butte, where they caught distant glimpses of the Rescue Creek pack out on the Painted Hills.
Taylor shows me where to look and I see one black dot, which moves. Iíll take it for my wolf of the day. But boy, thatís a long look! Theyíve had a frustrating day so far.
Jeff tells me he saw a grizzly from Hellroaring earlier today. He adds that some visitors drove their car off the road west of that lot a little while ago. That is a bit of a shock, because that is a STEEP drop off! The people are (miraculously) ok and Rangers are notified, but he says we might want to drive through there soon, before they close the road to haul out the car.
Kathie and I head east. She is staying at Laurieís for a while, so weíll have a full house. There are two Rangers at Hellroaring, one is already carrying orange cones to block the road.
The Park is busy. I guess today is a day off for most folks. I find the roads a bit icy, so I am extra careful.
I see Michael and John W at Elk Creek so I stop to say hi. They have two coyotes in view at the Rescue carcass from a few days ago. John says he helped pull one of the people up to the road with someone elseís rope. Poor woman was crawling and slipping in the snow.
There is more fresh snow in the Park than when I left, which makes the drive up to Silver Gate very pretty.
Today I saw: bison, coyotes, elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, one Junction wolf and the spirits
of Allison, Richard and Jeff