DAY NINE - Wednesday, December 6

FEAST

Itís warm again this morning at 34. There is a fat crescent moon above me and several dozen stars.

I see Jeff at Soda Butte mid-point. He says someone saw the Shrimps cross the road from north to south last night, just after dark.

We hope-scope a bit from here, enjoying the colorful sunrise. But by 7;45 we have nothing, so I head further west.

The Junctions have just been found at Hellroaring, so I head there. Cameron was our champion spotter today and we all thank him.

The Pack is traveling west, from the basalt cliff towards the Tornado drainage. 1386 is in the lead again today. She seems quite restless, howling a lot and looking to the west quite intently.

I see a total of 10 this morning (5 and 5). 1385F is back with the group again. (And probably was with them yesterday, too)

1386 walks back to her bedded packmates. She goes straight to 907, who gets to her feet. 1386 wants her help in getting the Pack to follow her west, but 907 just beds down again.

1386 finally gives up and beds down herself. But she continues to howl off and on.

Around 9 Laurie tells me the Rescue crew has their wolves in view again, so we drive to Nature Trail in an attempt to have a two-pack day.

The Rescues are on the south side again, very near their bull elk carcass. Jeff says my timing has returned because, while the wolves had been bedded a long time, when I arrived, they got to their feet!

Iíll take it!

At first I see only three wolves traveling to the southeast. But soon I have six, then ten, then all fifteen!

Woo hoo! This is the first time Iíve seen the whole Rescue pack in a very long time. Itís a particularly satisfying sighting, too, because for once, the wolves remain easy to see for quite a while, traveling across open snow.

This pack has such robust and healthy-looking wolves. Somehow the Junctions seem skinny in comparison.

They go into a thick forest, and when they come out on the left side, I recognize they are crossing the two open meadows we call Mickey Mouse ears. Soon they enter their own rendezvous area, the ďplayroomĒ used by the pups this past summer.

I enjoy seeing them slow down and explore it a bit, but donít linger here as long as I expected they would.

The wolves continue apace to the east, getting further and further away, but still in view a good long time. They seem to be taking advantage of the ease of travel with so little snow.

Itís now past 10:30. Laurie and Dan need to get back to Silver Gate to meet the technician who is supposed to fix their wi fi access.

I drive east myself. Iím surprised to see no-one at Hellroaring, but then I find the crew at Lower. They still have the Junctions in view near the Tornado drainage.

I watch them a while, but they remain bedded, with only minimal activity (head up-head down). So soon I continue east, meeting the local fox near Baronette.

The wi-fi upgrade takes longer than anyone expected, so we end up staying in this evening.

Today I saw: bison, coyotes, elk, a fox, 25 wolves, including 10 Junctions (alphas, pup, 1385 and 1386) and 15 Rescues (the full pack) and the spirits of Allison, Richard and Jeff.

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