DAY ONE - Sunday, October 22

ALMOST SHOULDER SEASON

Itís 10:45AM and Iím leaving Bozeman under an overcast sky. Itís a pleasant 49 degrees.

So far, the fall weather in my adopted town has been fairly warm but I am aware that a serious cold snap is on its way, including snow.

My drive over the Pass is easy (yay!). On Route 89 just before Emigrant I notice multiple mule deer out in a field.

Most of the color in the trees and bushes are now past peak but I note a few lovely orange cottonwoods at the eastern end of Yankee Jim Canyon.

As I near the Gardiner airport a yellow plane descends and lands.

The day has warmed to 60 degrees.

There are many bison in Gardiner as well as elk. I have my visit with Allison up on the OGR and then continue into Mammoth. I see more elk here.

I read an email from Laurie that she and Dan saw wolves in Soda Butte Valley this morning.

At S Curves I spot a single pronghorn, drawing the attention of people in two cars that stop to take photos.

There is no one scoping at Hellroaring so I keep going. Just before Elk Creek a tiny chipmunk dashes safely across the road.

Little America looks nice this time of year. As I approach Lamar Canyon I am thrilled to see that all the lights and trucks and construction equipment are finally gone. And there is now an additional pullout at Lamar Canyon West.

Good job guys!

I enter Lamar Valley and admire its golden beauty. I seem to have it all to myself. There is far less traffic than during my last visit.

I pass the Confluence and head into Soda Butte Valley. I see Dale and Faye scoping at the midpoint pullout. They donít have any wolves but are looking for goats to the southeast.

Fay says they had several Junctions in view this morning Ė some on the north side and some between Dead Puppy Hill and the Old Druid rendezvous.

Fay tells me the black pup is quite intrepid; that she travelled back to the Jasper rendezvous all by herself.

A blue car pulls into the lot. Itís Kathie and Mark with their cute dog Daisy. We visit a while, then I head east.

The re-built section of road just east of Trout Lake now has a nice, new railing, through which you can see the creek. Itís a big improvement over the Jersey barriers that were up all summer.

ďMt. PebbleĒ is in the process of being reduced. There are still many trucks in the area to complete that work.

The local fox appears just east of Ranger gate.

I unload my stuff at Laurieís and we visit for a while.

They want to go back out after dinner, so I happily join them.

We scope from the Ranch but find no wolves. Dale and Fay are scoping from Hubbard. They find some pronghorn and a single coyote, but no wolves either.

Still, itís nice to be in Lamar with my dear friends. Some weather arrives in the form of wind with pelting rain. We call it a night.

Today I saw: bison, a coyote, mule deer, elk, a fox, 3 mountain goats, pronghorn and the spirits of Allison, Richard and Jeff.


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