DAY FIVE - Monday, July 4


Laurie and I head down the hill in the dark. Again we do not stop in Lamar until we get to Dorothy's.

I learn that two wolves have been seen on the carcass from yesterday but they are gone now. I hear howling to the north, and it's answered by at least two voices to the south. The light is still too dim for me to see anything but anticipation is high.

Finally I see #754 on the north side, heading downhill. More howling and more scanning through the fog. Finally we see the 06 heading up Secret Passage. There are four wolves behind her, 754 last in line. Most wolf-watchers pack up and head to Slough. I walk out to Bob's Knob and several other cars head down to the first lot.

Once we are set up someone spots a bear way to the west, near the treeline below The Cut. We scan the closer hillsides for wolves. Then I hear Doug whisper "close - right on this hill". I turn and see with my naked eye a gray yearling wolf just opposite me on a hill right above the road. Everyone gets quiet and very serious.

Then I see a streak of gray below the yearling and realize the 06 has already moved across the road and is now circling the knob right below us to the west. I lose her, then find her again in the rolling hills between the road and the river.

I turn back to see the yearling on the hillside sitting on his haunches, watching his mother. The 06 doubles back and I see her again, then lose her in the high grass and willows. But the yearling is now up, heading away from us to the northeast.

Howling erupts higher on the hillside to the east, on the hill above Dave's. Laurie finds the rest of the pack in a little hollow. I see one black and one gray in that area. They continue to howl.

Now I see the 06 circle just below the 1st pullout (above the oxbow). She crosses the campground road and stops, looking up in the direction the others are. She howls and they answer. Then she lopes easily up the hill.

A little while later we see a wolf-reunion between her and the remaining four, all wagging tails and licking muzzles. It's always so heart-warming to see this behavior - it's as if she has been away from them for weeks, instead of minutes!

Once that ritual is complete, Miss Wolf In Charge turns and leads the group in a northeasterly direction, fairly low on the slope. A man driving the campground road stops when he sees them. He abandons his car and runs after them with his camera. Yeah. But his effort is wasted as they easily outpace him. The wolves disappear into the sage.

I look around at the beauty and smile. What a great sighing!

It's still quite early so I suggest to Laurie and Kathie and Dorothy that we head to Roosevelt for breakfast. A little while later I am sipping coffee and eating a Hiker Special.

After this interlude I head up to Dunraven for a look around, but first get stopped in two bear jams, both for black bears. One is a sow with two yearling cubs near Rainy Lake and the other is a lone bear, just above the Tower store.

I drive on to the top and park in my favorite pullout. I find a large group of elk bedded and grazing near the marshy area. And they have calves! I count 8 but there could be more. Some of them are nursing (awww!) and one largish calf is leading an expedition over deadfall into a next-door meadow. He is very bold. Once they bed again I head back down and explore the Calcite Springs boardwalks, seeing osprey and falcons.

I am feeling the need of a nap so I head back to Silver Gate. I stop at Barronette to glass for goats and find one billy and two nannies, both with kids. I watch a while as rain clouds blow in.

I head on to Silver Gate and reach Laurie's just as rain begins to fall. I have a nice nap and then have a lovely chat with Laurie. It's still raining so I decide to stay in and skip the evening session.

Today I saw: five black bears (including two yearling cubs), bison, a sandhill crane, elk (including 8 calves) a peregrine falcon, two osprey, five mountain goats, five Lamar Canyon wolves, (including The 06, 755, 754, the dark gray male and one other yearling) and the spirit of Allison.

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