I wake at 5 and I'm out by 6. I have mule deer in the road just beyond the Park entrance. As I near Pebble Creek, I notice an interesting cloud formation - pinkish clouds create an identical outline above the mountain tops over which they rise. At Round Prairrie I stop again and see a coyote at the far end, disappearing into the trees.
Rick had given me a radio last night so I listen for activity. Nothing has been seen yet and most folk are headed to Antelope to see Agates. I stop at Dorothy's anyway because I like it so much. The grizzly is out again. I always like to start my day with a grizzly!
As it's my last day and I am loathe to climb Cardiac again, I head to Antelope myself. I have to stop in Little America for a crossing bison herd. Two juvenile males stand in the road and one attempts to mount the other. Gay bison? Well, not really. Just young and eager.
On my way up I see a black bear near the road, just below Calcite - as is usual. I watch him for just a little while, long enough to see one tourist chase him away by trying to get too close. But honestly, I'm always glad when the bear runs. It teaches the tourist a lesson and keeps the bear safe.
Once I get up to Antelope, I do see Agates, in pretty much the same spot as yesterday. Again I see 12 total although other folks saw more than that. I see a lot of the same behavior - an adult would come in from the left and the younger wolves would mob it, asking for food. Anne is up here and I always enjoy talking to her.
I find various elk in high spots and search in vain for a grizzly. Then it's time for me to head back. I see a hawk in a tree at Floating Island Lake and watch the waterfowl at Black Tail ponds.
The rest of the drive is gorgeous as always, but also melancholy, because leaving is still something I wish I didn't have to do. But I have an easy time of it and get back to Bozeman with plenty of time to tidy up and pack for my flight back.
Today I saw: antelope, a black bear, a grizzly bear, bison, 2 coyotes, mule deer, elk, a hawk, 12 wolves (Agates) and the spirit of Allison.
Back in New York on Monday, I see my GP who recommends a specialist. I see the specialist on Wednesday, 9/12, exactly a week after I fell. He tells me I broke my elbow, or more specifically, I crushed the radial head bone. I am shocked. I would have expected a break to hurt a lot more. Anyway he says no cast, no sling, just be careful and it will eventually heal.
So, despite my crowing about my successful gym training, Fairyland took a toll on me after all. He says the trick is to eventually restore as much range of movement as possible. The bruise and tenderness lasts another week. After three weeks I start physical therapy.
I have never broken anything before so it is very weird to have this happen at the age of 54. But I am grateful that it was not more serious, that it did not curtail our hike or my group's enjoyment of our adventure. I am confident it will heal and I will do my best to retain the range of motion I am used to.
Because, after all, I MADE IT TO FAIRYLAND!