DAY ONE - Monday, July 3

COYOTE DEN AND COTTONWOOD BIRDS

I leave Bozeman at 8:45AM. Itís a beautiful day; 63 degrees and sunny.

The landscape over the Pass is still very green.

I see little patches of snow on the tippy tops of the Absarokas but only a few animals along the way. Near Gardiner I see several elk.

I look for Becky and Chloe at the Nature trail but find it empty. I scope from here a little but see no wolves.

As I drive past Hellroaring pullout I find it chock full of boulders and gravel, no doubt a temporary storage spot for one or the other construction projects on the northern range. I sure hope thatís all gone by the fall!

Via radio contact, I find Becky & Chloe near the top of the Dunraven road. They are watching a newly-found coyote den just downslope of the Boulder lot. None are visible at the moment but people have seen five pups. I spot one of the adults, briefly, as it climbs the hill behind us, likely heading off to find food.

We have a good catch-up chat up here among the very green meadows. Chloe is having a bit of pain today, but as usual, she fights her way through it.

They have just learned that a couple from Tennessee that they are friendly with, Betty and Terry, hastily made plans to drive to Yellowstone when they heard Becky and Chloe were here. They are staying in Cooke City, so we plan to meet up with them for wolf watching in Lamar later this evening.

We head back east, through Little America and Lamar. Both areas are still very green but not quite the bright emerald color I remember from June.

I leave Becky and Chloe in Lamar to look for bears while I continue towards Silver Gate. I see a sweet little black bear on the north side of Round Prairie. Apparently, he has been regular visitor here these last few weeks.

I visit with Laurie and unload some stuff. She and Dan are going out this evening. The day has cooled down to 58. We see the Baronette Fox on our way down.

We stop at Trash Can and I climb the hill to scope the rendezvous. I do not find wolves but hear a report of a bison carcass that has been drawing wolves and bears the last few days.

I find the carcass spot, thanks to birds, but see no wolves. I do find a single coyote in the flats, heading that way.

MeanwhiIe, at the Institute, Chloe and Becky have met with Betty and Terry and they have seen four grizzlies so far.

Laurie & Dan and I look from Trash Can, and find two of the four.

I head west and meet them at Mid-point. As expected, they are very nice people and excellent spotters.

Over the radio we hear a guide report a single gray wolf on Amethyst Bench heading west. We look but none of us is able to find it. There is a strong breeze tonight and we are scoping into the sun.

I mistake a bunch of airborne cottonwood seeds for a flock of white birds. The breeze keeps them soaring this way and that, rising fairly often in the golden light. Chloe gets a kick out of it.

We watch bison, pronghorn and sandhills, and enjoy the gorgeous light.

Then it starts to rain so we pack up and head east, following slo-goes almost all the way!

There are lots of mule deer just outside Silver Gate.

Today I saw: 1 black bear, two grizzly bears, bison, two coyotes, sandhill cranes, mule deer, a bald eagle, elk, a fox, pronghorn and the spirits of Allison, Richard and Jeff.


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