DAY FIVE -Friday, October 28

LAMAR RIVER HIKE

Our resident fox pays us a visit this morning as I am turning around. I see her again as she heads into Rickís driveway

I drive all the way to Hellroaring before there is any report of wolves. Faye has found them here, pretty much on the same spot they were on Tuesday.

I see my first wolf near the cliffs above the Yellowstone, on a diagonal slope near a distinctive left-leaning tree. Itís 907F. Yay! Iím always happy to see the old girl.

They give us a good howl but itís tricky for all of us to find a clear spot not blocked by trees.

We shuffle around a bit to get a good view. I find it hard to tell if they have a new carcass out of sight or are just scavenging on the one from Tuesday.

I see many wolves sitting, looking downslope, as if watching their pack mates down there. Still, I spend two hours here, catching glimpses of at least 12 wolves.

Kathie has planned another hike for today, to Cache Creek. I talk to Maureen and Rick and we decide to join the group, but plan a shorter version.

Once the wolves are bedded for the day I head back east. I stop at Elk Creek and find a coyote, so I get another 3 Dog Day.

We meet at Footbridge around 11 and prepare for our hike. The day has already warmed considerably Ė to 42!

We set off and notice a brand-new bridge over the Soda Butte, another change since the flood. I tell Maureen this trail was my first introduction to hiking in Yellowstone, and that Iíve camped overnight at Cache Creek twice. It seems like ages ago!

We march along the mostly flat terrain, avoiding several marshy areas before climbing the first hill. I remember how so many people used to climb up Dead Puppy Hill to see Druid pups (and later, Lamar Canyon pups) in the early summer.

There are still some hardy wildflowers to admire, and we pass a few old bison bones. We also find numerous piles of scat, one of which is definitely wolf.

We cross a little spring, then make our way up to the second level, to the beginning of the wide plateau left of DPH where we so often see wolves.

We stop in the sun, enjoying the surprising 46 degrees. At this juncture, we let the ďfitĒ group continue south while we bushwhack to the west. We want to go to the banks of the Lamar. But soon we realize that itís much further away than we thought, so we decide to go as far as the first good overlook instead.

We stop where the cottonwoods rise up from below and see a small bison herd crossing the Lamar upriver from the Confluence. From here we can clearly see how marshy it is below us. Hmm, none of us particularly want to navigate that in order to reach the banks.

We decide to avoid it and enjoy this view for a while, before turning to head back to the main trail. We find a bison trail that takes us to a small stream crossing. There are pockets of ice in this stream, and a nearby pile of rocks.

I place a few of the flattest rocks in the stream to create stepping-stones.

We get back to the cars around 2:30. My poor feet are really tired. I think we may have walked 4 miles total.

When I get back to Silver Gate, I lie down flat with my feet elevated against the railing. Itís a trick I learned long ago during my backpacking days. It works like a charm.

We stay in tonight and have a nice, cozy evening.

Today I saw: bison, a coyote, elk, a fox, 12 Junction wolves and the spirits of Allison, Richard and Jeff.

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