DAY TWO - Wednesday, November 29


I’m up and out at 6:45 in a chilly 5 degrees. Brrr!

The local fox appears in the road just east of the gate.

My first stop this morning is right where I was last night, on Geriatric. The Junctions are bedded in basically the same spot.

I see 9 of them this morning, which means two more than I saw last night. My count includes the alpha pair, 1385F and six others. One of those six is a welcome sight to me, 1386F, AKA New Mom, who impressed me (and others) in 2022 when she carried a series of 6-week-old pups from Slough to Crystal.

The female pup is again not with the alphas, but some other watchers saw her up on Jasper.

Besides Laurie & Dan and the crew, today’s group of watchers includes Kathie L, Jeff A, plus Scott and Beth W.

We hear lots of howling from the wolves today. Perhaps 907 is calling the pup? For the first hour the wolves remain bedded. Then a black leaves the group to go visit the carcass.

Around 9AM they have a rally and move west towards the eroded area, where they bed down again.

After a while the Junctions move again so we move to Picnic. We find them bedded once more near the middle foothill. Rick and I both notice the “new landslide”, an area on the lower slope of the K Meadow, behind the Old Druid Rendezvous that has a dusting of snow upon it.

It looks like something we’ve not seen before and wonder if it is a result of the 2022 flood?

The landscape around us is quite beautiful, still full of frost from the cold temps. Everything is glistening and beautiful.

Around 11:30 I follow Laurie and Dan back Silver Gate for a break. But whenever we have wolves in Lamar, we like to go back out for a double helping.

We drive back west around 3PM. The day has warmed to 24.

We climb up Trash Can Hill and I find the wolves right where we last saw them, just east of the double foothill.

I hear a coyote howling close by, and find the animal (the limper) bedded on a low hill just west of the big willow bush.

I think he knows the wolves are out there and is telling them to leave him alone.

Around 4PM a gray gets up, moving towards a lone bull bison that has been grazing the area. The gray sneaks up on the bovine and finally gets its attention – which manifests in the form of a raised tail. The animals stare at each other a while until the bison finally charges the wolf. The wolf gets the message and wanders off to the west.

It’s been a very long time since I spent an evening with just Laurie & Dan watching wolves in Lamar without other visitors. One or two cars drive by but do not stop.

After the gray gets charged by the bison, the rest of the Junctions begin to stir. They get up and stretch, beginning to move slowly from rendezvous to the Big Fan. 1386F leads the group, with 1385F and the bison-hunting gray trotting briskly behind her.

The slow parade offers an opportunity to watch behavior, which Laurie and I both enjoy. We compare what we note about individual wolves’ attitudes and coloring.

1386F seems to revel in her newfound status. Although 907 is still alpha, she does not seem interested in pinning other females. Instead she shows her status by simply standing over them. She’s an old, experienced wolf and has been pinned by plenty of females in her past. I like to think she understands that more peaceful methods can still do the trick.

I discover that 1386 has “bunny slippers” (white feet) like the alpha male. As the wolves travel, the uncollared black finds a bone on the ground and picks it up. It looks like a scapula. She starts a game of keep away with two grays.

It’s charming.

The wolves arrive at the big gully that winds down from the tree line in the center of the big fan. At the edge of it, 907 sits down like she doesn’t want to go any further. The alpha male notices this. He turns and starts up hill along the edge of the gully, as if looking for a particular crossing spot.

Others follow him. He finally finds a place to his liking, crosses and then beds right at the edge of the trees. The other wolves pass him and walk into the forest. 907 finally gets up and follows, then beds next to him.

As darkness descends, I can still see the two of them bedded together while shadowy stragglers pass them and enter the trees.

Today I saw: bison, a coyote, elk, a fox, 9 Junction wolves (including the alpha pair, 1385, 1386 and five others) and the spirits of Allison, Richard and Jeff.

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