DAY ONE - Thursday, February 16


It’s a bright sunny day in Bozeman as I head to the park. It’s 12:50 pm, cloudless but cold at 19 degrees. Laurie and Dan stayed over last night and are about a half hour ahead of me.

The drive over the Pass is easy. There is a bit of slush in Livingston but the further south I go the road gets drier and drier. At Tom Miner basin I see elk, then bighorn and bison well before Gardiner.

It looks to me that the snow level is heavier than usual. I stop at the Market to buy ribs for dinner.

I head up the old/new road and have my visit with Allison, enjoying the view she has. As I wind down the last curve above Mammoth, I see many cars parked at the Everts Overlook. I find a spot and immediately recognize Calvin & Lynette manning their scopes.

We have a happy greeting. They have the Lupine pack bedded on one of the long fingers of Mt. Everts. With their help I manage to see three of them, 2 blacks and a gray, all bedded. Lynette says the other three are in the area but almost impossible to see right now.

We chat a bit more, then I continue east, seeing small groups of elk and bison along the way. The sun is blazing and makes the Park look great.

Lynette gave me a tip for where to look for Rescues from S Curves. “Left of the shed rock” she said, which I know is a very large boulder with a collection of elk antlers on top. This marker has been here for years. I think Frank told me years ago that someone gathered them but got busted before they could haul them out.

East of the ponds I begin to see evidence of drifting from recent snowstorms in the form of very high berms. They surround the S Curve pullout, too. Wow.

When I pull in, there are already two trucks here. I ask the closest guy “are you seeing wolves?” He smiles and says he just heard howling. So then one of my wolf-fantasies comes true. I point my scope towards the shed rock, pan a little bit east and…I’ve got a wolf!

Actually, at first, I see low boulders on a wind-swept knoll, but one of those rocks stands up, becoming a collared black. Then more and more rocks get up. I have a total of seven, including a collared gray. I suspect this is the newly collared gray female pup. I show the guy next to me, then alert the other couple in the second truck.

I suspect that the rest of the pack is here, too, likely bedded just out of sight over the hill.

The standing wolves gather for a greeting and a rally. All too soon they are moving southeast, out of sight. My timing is perfect, but it doesn’t last. Oh, how I wish it could always be this easy!

I continue east and have a mule deer cross to the south between Upper & Lower Hellroaring.

The snow level in Little America looks high, which is normal for this time of year. Lamar Valley looks even better. As I come down the hill from Dorothy’s the expanse of snow to the south is utterly pure white and unbroken. It looks gorgeous!

The Limping coyote greets me as I pass Picnic, poor thing.

I get to Laurie’s well before 5 and we settle down to a meal of ribs.

Today I saw: bison, coyote, mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep, 10 wolves, including 3 Lupines (including 2 blacks and a gray) and 7 Rescue Creek wolves (including one collared black and one collared gray and five others) and the spirits of Allison, Richard and Jeff.

Next Chapter

Back to Main Page

Printer Friendly Index