DAY ONE - Wednesday, August 10

ANOTHER EXPLORATORY VISIT

Itís a warm August day, 82 degrees, as I set off for Yellowstone at 1PM. The day gets even hotter, up to 94 at Big Sky, so Iím glad to have A/C.

Itís mostly an uneventful drive but still has magnificent views.

In a shady pullout along the Madison I stop to have my visit with Allison. I learned the hard way that she can make or break my wolf luck!

By the time I get to Canyon, skies are partly cloudy, and a nice breeze has arrived. There is less traffic here than in July, which is a bit of a surprise.

I check into the campground and head to Hayden. I check the eagle nest and find one fledgling still visible. From Alum I see no wolves but hear geese and snap-hoppers.

I continue south to Grizzly Overlook, expecting to see loads of bison, but there are only a few? This seems strange to me since this is prime rutting season.

Finally, I find a sizeable herd at 3 Panels but I still donít see much rutting behavior. A few bulls are following cows as they do, but most are grazing quietly. There is a single orange calf, evidence of a late birth!

I enjoy the timeless scene for a while, green grass, blue water and dozens of softly grunting buffalo.

Around 5PM I head back and stop at Alum North. I focus my scope on the sloping sage hill with the bison wallow on the side. Oh! Well, how about that Ė Iíve just found a bedded black wolf!

Thank you, Allison!

The wolf is bedded all by itself. I call it in over the radio but get no response. I have the sighting all to myself for a while. I always enjoy a private viewing but I also enjoy sharing it with visitors.

A bit later, two more wolves appear downslope of the first one. To my delight, these turn out to be pups. The adult gets up and moves down to the pups and they all start to play, romping in and out of the deep sage at the bottom of the hill.

Sometimes I can only see ears or tails. They seem to be having a great deal of fun. This sighting goes on for about an hour, and finally people pull in to ask what Iím seeing.

Needless to say, they are happy to see bouncing wolf pups through my scope. Eventually the three move up a hill to the west and disappear into the skyline forest.

I wait a while, hoping theyíll come back into view but they donít. So I try from Grizzly Overlook, which is such a pretty setting. Tonight, I find elk and bison and enjoy the sunset.

Around 9:15 I go back to Canyon. I slide back the cover of my moon roof enjoy seeing the stars. Nighty night!

Today I saw: bison, sandhill cranes, a bald eagle fledgling, elk (including calves), geese, pelicans, 3 Wapiti wolves (including 2 pups) and the spirits of Allison, Richard and Jeff.


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