INTRODUCTION AND WOLF UPDATE
Visits to Yellowstone are always memorable but I had no idea when I made my flight arrangements for this trip that it would be memorable in quite the ways it was. First, the weather. The winter of 2010/2011 will go down in history as a return to the "normal" winters of past decades - meaning fierce and full of snow, rather than the low-snow winters that have been the norm in the Park for the last 10 years. This winter started in October with storm after storm and never let up.
So, when I arrived, the Park looked like it does at Christmastime or in January. As long as one is prepared for it, such weather can be taken in stride. But when I look back on other April visits, it was a VERY different experience.
The second memorable aspect of this trip was the threat of a government shut down. This topic dominated the conversation from the very first day I arrived in Bozeman until it was finally resolved at the 11th hour on Friday night.
As for the wolf update - the main thing I suppose is the lower wolf numbers all over the northern range. This makes sense as there are many fewer elk, too. The Lamar Canyon pack continues to inhabit former Druid territory, and the individual wolves are becomming legends in their own time, just as members of the Druid Peak pack did before them.
This year's mating season had little of the upheaval that marked the last two years. Alphas mated with alphas and there were few lone suitors or new pack formations. We all had hopes that 692F or the Blacktails would find a mate worthy of her, but so far none has appeared.
I spent most of my time on this trip with my good friends from Missoula, Becky & Chloe which partly made up for the fact that I missed our usual rendezvous at Christmastime. Thanks go to to them, and to Laurie and Rick and, as always, to John Uhler and Doug Dance.
P.S. I am not a wolf or wildlife expert, but an enthusiast, and if you find anything in this report to be wrong or or misleading, feel free to bring it to my attention by e-mailing me at email@example.com