DAY THREE - Tuesday, October 24

A VIEW FROM A HILL

Itís 35 degrees as I head out at 6:45. My defroster takes care of a thin layer of ice on the windshield.

The rain has stopped but has left a good deal of fog.

Lamar Valley is completely socked in. Whenever this happens, I find myself with conflicting feelings; frustrated because it prevents clear viewing but delighted since itís so beautiful to see.

Oddly, the fog does not obscure the view from Dorothyís. Helena is here, so we start to scope. She finds a grizzly way to the east on the big fan. Nice! I hear a bark-howling coyote and quickly find it on the hill just below us.

We hear Calvin on the radio. He has wolves to the west, so off we go.

I think Calvin was calling from Hellroaring, but as it turns out, he is well west of there at Nature Trail. By the time I arrive, the wolves are nearly gone. With Lynetteís help, I manage to see one bedded black, then a second black moving off to the right.

But after a good five minutes in which the bedded black never moves, I discover itís not a wolf at all but a rock! I have a good laugh with Lynette over it.

We start chatting until Doug Mac, two pullouts to the west, interrupts us with the news that heís found the Rescues again. HeĎs climbed a hill southwest of the skierís bathroom lot.

I go there and realize Iíve never been up this hill before. Itís not super high but itís densely covered in sagebrush, with lots of low-lying branches notoriously easy to trip on.

Itís also a longer walk than Iíd expected, and I can only go slowly. Finally, I reach Dougís spot and find the Rescues are indeed in view, not too far away, either. First, I see a group of three bedded, then three more to the right.

Doug instructs me to pan left, where I find a large, collared black on a third knob. This is very likely 1273M, who was bean-bagged as a pup after he carried off a photographerís tripod, on a third knob.

Three pups (two grays and a black) are headed towards him. I donít doubt that 1273M is a beloved uncle (or possibly father) to them.

Another black pup wanders to the right, passing behind the other two bedded groups, bringing my count to 11.

Lots of people have hiked up the hill, including Kathie plus Larry and Linda H. This is the first time Linda has been up a hill since her surgery. Yay!

The younger wolves settle down and now they are all bedded. Itís possible the other four Rescues are bedded on the far side of the knobs, and out of my sight.

It starts to snow Ė well, not really snow. Itís more like sleet. Hoods go up and we try to wait out the squall, but then fog creeps in. Our wolves become ghostly shapes, then disappear altogether.

Down to my car I go, happy to get out of the sleet. I set off back east. As I pass Lower Hellroaring, I see a mule deer with her fawn.

At Slough I see Jim and Elizabeth scoping to the south. They tell me some visitors showed them video of a small black wolf crossing from north to south right at the Crystal lot about 15 minutes ago.

We look for a while, checking all the usual routes a wolf might take back to Jasper Bench.

When we donít find it, I drive to Lamar, and scope from Coyote for a while. The fog has lifted but I donít find any wolves.

Around 11:30 the icy rain returns, so I drive on, enjoying the fall landscape despite the rain. The willows are quite colorful and the golden hills contrast nicely with dark conifer forests and snow-dusted peaks.

At Round Prairie, I find Mt. Pebble is nearly gone. Bulldozers have re-distributed its soil all over the western side of the campground.

Once Iím back in Silver Gate Laurie tells me the Park closed the Dunraven road due to weather.

Today I saw: bison, a coyote, elk, a bald eagle, 11 Rescue Creek wolves (including at least 3 pups) and the spirits of Allison and Richard.

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