DAY SIXTEEN - Sunday, June 4


I head back to the Park as early as I can manage, at 8AM. Itís a very pleasant 55 degrees.

Chloe & Becky have not been able to visit the Park for over a year. The last time we were together before Friday was in late June, when we spent a day and a half together in Hayden Valley. Chloe has cancer and knows her days are numbered.

The sky is cloudy and I expect to have some rain. Everything is green and glorious, just like June should be!

When I get to 89 I am happy to see the Yellowstone running as high as possible without overtopping its banks.

I see several pronghorn north of the Rest Area and lots of Elk in Gardiner. Since Laurie & Dan have a flight to San Diego, weíve made a plan to meet at the Gardiner Market this morning. We have a nice, relaxed visit before parting ways for a while.

The day has turned sunny and Mt Everts looks as green as it ever gets. Nice!

As I wait at the light at the high bridge I am serenaded by meadowlarks.

I meet up with Chloe & Becky at Curve lot in Little America. They were at Slough earlier this morning and found six bedded wolves there (the pups have been moved). Those six wolves headed south around noon.

We decide to see whatís going on at Calcite.

Luck is with us as the black bear sow with her two darling cubs are in view, putting on a show. These are the same cubs we watched last year in this very spot. They are now yearlings and still very rambunctious.

When the bears bed down at the edge of the forest, we continue south, stopping at the Canyon overlook pullouts, searching for peregrines and osprey.

It takes a while, but we eventually see two falcons. However, we fail to locate their nest, assuming they have one. We also watch a single osprey soaring through the canyon.

Itís really too late to go to Hayden, so we go back to Slough even though we know the prospect of seeing wolves is slim. We drive the campground road all the way to the end, where we try to find the badger they watched here earlier. The badger eludes us, but we do see a marmot and a coyote.

On our way back we stop at Lower Bobís and enjoy the quiet of this gorgeous wetland view. We find a few elk, including a single calf, perhaps the same one Dan spotted the other day. W

e also see plenty of geese but only one gosling.

We take it slow and catch up on a lot of conversation.

Chloe and Becky want to have a burger at Helenís this evening, so we start off to the west, in no hurry at all.

We enjoy watching a line of trail riders clip clop across Yancyís hole.

At Elk Creek we get out our scopes to look for wolves but find only another beautiful landscape.

At Lower Hellroaring, though, we find a cinnamon black bear. And she has a cub, a single coy. The cub is darker than mom, and slightly reddish.

The cute little thing practices its log-walking balance while mom digs and grazes. A bear jam develops, so we continue on.

Just west of Phantom Lake we are surprised to see five bighorn ewes and a few young rams trotting down the road to the east. None of us can recall seeing sheep in this area before. Where are they going and where did they come from?

In Mammoth we find a great-horned owl chick in a very high nest. We donít see the parents nor the second chick we were told about.

Another drizzle begins but stops by the time we get to Gardiner. We find a table on the deck and have a pleasant dinner at Helens.

Finally, we wind our way up the Jardine road. We have a nice visit with Kathie & Mark and play with Daisy for a while. Then we bid each other good night and hit the sack. Thanks, Kathie, for your hospitality!

Today I saw: five black bears (including 3 cubs), bison (and calves), elk (and calves), 2 peregrine falcons, a marmot, an osprey, an owlet, pronghorn, bighorn sheep and the spirits of Allison, Richard and Jeff.

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