INTRODUCTION and WOLF UPDATE
A LOSS LESSENED
Human hearts are funny some times. I don't think I realized until I got back to New York after this trip, that I had spent the whole summer depressed. I think I know why, though. I lost my cat.
My dear Fredricka, who lived with me for 20 long years, drew her last breath just before Memorial Day and it's clear to me now, that I was grieving her loss all summer.
I was distracted for a while in June by the wonderful visit from my sisters, and the subsequent few days I spent in the Park after they left, and I was distracted by work and the normal demands of life. But I didn't realize until later, how little joy I had felt all summer long. How little I had felt "like myself".
Anyway, I know I got my mojo back somehow on this trip, so it will always be a special one for me. The switch happened in Bozeman, the day I visited Hyalite Canyon. I don't know what made that the trigger, but all I can tell you is, I started singing out loud as I drove that day, and realized I had not done so for three months.
But now, on to WOLF NEWS:
First I want to recommend a new website to anyone who wants to follow the goings on in Yellowstone. It's called "Yellowstone Reports" and it is a membership site - membership costs $20.00 per year - the money goes to defray costs of maintaining the site and the leftover goes to charity. The main writers are Laurie Lyman (daily wolf reports), Nathan Varley (hiking and some science reports) and Dan Hartman (reports on Life in the Mountains and various wildlife) and Dave Honold (science and Yellowstone policy articles). It's just a terrific site with lots of variety. www.yellowstonereports.com
All summer in Yellowstone the wolf viewing had been pretty thin - the Silver Pack had just fallen apart: yearling 753 died first, then alpha male 147; the white alpha female was seen alone in the Hellroaring area and no pups had been seen for months. The Agates, Mollies and Blacktails were rarely seen; the only packs showing up with some regularity were the Lamar Canyon Pack in the Slough area, and the Canyon Pack in Hayden Valley.
Since I got back, we got the sad news that the long-time alpha female of the Agates, 472, had been killed by other wolves in Little America. Most strangely, the likely culprits were the Blacktails, even though all the females in that pack are her daughters. If so, it seems the wolf-rules need additional re-writing.
In addition, one of the Blacktail females, 692, has been ousted from her pack and has been tracked travelling here and there, presumably alone. Here's hoping she will find a mate this breeding season.
It has taken me more than three months to get this report online and I am aware of how lucky I was to see wolves every day during my short visit, given how few animals are available for viewing each day. I hope you enjoy reading about it.
Thanks especially this trip to Laurie, and to Ballpark Frank and Jake Young for making it extra memorable.