DAY SEVEN - Thursday, December 1

GAUZY WOLVES

The snow is really thick in Laurieís driveway this morning. Looks like another 6 inches.

We may have visibility issues today, too.

Once I get on the road I find that the plow has cleared only the east-bound lane. My lane is still full of thick powder. Itís hard to know where the edge is. My right tires are in deep snow while my left tires are on hard-pack.

Itís a bit tricky but doable. Luckily, I donít meet any oncoming traffic.

As the light begins to grow, I see how pretty the valley is.

By the time I get to the Confluence, Iím in white out again. At least itís not crazy cold, though. My temp gauge reads 26.

Visibility in Little America is bad, too. Ugh.

I stop behind Laurie & Dan at Elk Creek with Rick and the crew. Rescue Creek wolves got a yearling moose just north of Floating Island overnight. They spooked when the crew arrived. Rick briefly saw a few wolf shapes running away.

Alas, there are none in sight now, but I tell Dan the snow is so thick, if those wolves were 10 feet away, we would not see them!

We scope anyway of course, but to no avail.

We go on to Hellroaring where we find Jeff and the Junction crew. The Junction Pack is still here, still near their hard-won bison carcass, but they are hidden by the snow.

I hear a lovely howl which goes on a long time, with brief interruptions of silence. The Rescue Pack is relatively close and we wonder if they are talking back and forth? Itís lovely but spooky-sounding through the thick curtain of snow.

Taylor had a brief early sighting of three wolves on the carcass but poor visibility has prevented anyone from seeing them since.

Jeff and I scope earnestly for a long while but itís just impossible to see anything but snow. I know exactly where the carcass is, and I canít even see that!

Around 10, Laurie & Dan are ready to go. I suggest we try from Lower. We do, but itís actually worse from Lower!

So we drive east. Around Tower, Jeff calls us back.

ďItís lifted a bitĒ he tells us, and Junctions are again in view.

I figure the snow will close in again before we get back there, but we finally get some luck. We arrive to hear howling once more, and itís coming from two places. One group howls from the left (in the general carcass area) while another group (more voices) howls from straight out, somewhere on the open slope.

We all set up and after a bit, Taylor sees one, then two. Jeff sees three. Finally, I see them, too. Shadow-shapes, but definitely wolves.

There are two shapes bedded above a rocky knob. Two more are walking left above the bedded pair. Another group of three blacks and a gray are below the knob, playing and running up the slope to the east. Their outlines are gauzy, like I forgot to put on my glasses.

I have them in view for maybe three minutes before the snow thickens again and blots them out.

Still, those fuzzy shapes count as wolves for the day!

Around noon we head back east for good. The flakes seem even bigger on the drive back.

We see a coyote at the Confluence and three bull moose in Round Prairie.

Itís gotten downright warm, 32! And all the pullouts are freshly plowed.

Today I saw: bison, 1 coyote, 3 moose, 8 Junction wolves and the spirits of Allison, Richard and Jeff.

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