DAY SIX - Wednesday, July 18


I'm on the road at 5AM. It's 44 degrees in Silver Gate and I must admit, I am sleepy today!

I start my day where I left off last night, at the Confluence. There are numerous people here already but there are no wolves in sight. The carcass is no longer visible - either it has been consumed or the river has moved it again.

Jeff suggests we head back to Footbridge, so I follow him. We set up and find some sheep up on Norris, as well as four bull elk on the saddle east of Druid Peak. We also see bison, pronghorn & sandhill cranes.

A call from Kathie prompts us to return to the Confluence and I get there in time to see 820F. As she approaches the carcass she stops and quickly moves downstream. She picks somehting up in her jaws, and carries it back across the stream into the willows to eat it. I think she has found an organ of some type that might have floated downstream.

Tom & Chris arrive and we climb up to our spot via Geriatric, followed by Donna. We watch 820 a while and then follow her as she heads back toward the road. She gets across just fine, like her mother.

It's a glorious morning but we have no wolves to watch, and few other animals are stirring, so I suggest we head to Roosevelt for a late breakfast. It's one of my favorite indoor things to do in summer, and my new friends enjoy it, too. After our meal we hang out in the porch in the rockers for a while.

I head back east to watch the old bison carcass. There is nothing but birds on it at the moment but I do see two grizzly bears in the vicinity. One is crossing Chalcedony fan to the east and another has just crossed the road near Picnic. I bet they were both feeding on the carcass while we were at breakfast!

Next stop is Hitching Post, a good spot to notice any Lamar wolves if they are heading to the confluence carcass. I run into Cathy M again. She updates me on our hike plans for Friday

Then once again, Chris & Tom and I head back up Confluence Hill. I make a point of staying in the shade today which helps my sunburn. We stay up here all day, enjoying the view and each others company, talking about the history of Yellowstone and the wolf restoration, as well as our own lives "back home".

We see a group of hikers, a research team, going out the Lamar River trail, carrying some very odd contraption. And we notice a pronghorn mom with twins and follow them a while.

And on the river we see a common merganser with 10 baby chicks. We call her an Un-common merganser because she is quite beautiful and a very attentive mother. I am struck by how her babies ZIP across the water with such speed. I remember seeing this distinctive behavior before, at Oxbow Bend in Teton a year or so ago. They are really cool little ducks, zipping here and their as if yanked on a string. Mom has a reddish neck and head, with a distinctive crest and a mottled gray-brown/white body.

We also see a hawk, several sandhills and a bald eagle. We watch bison bulls rubbing tree trunks and pronghorn males posture-fighting.

And we notice that the Soda Butte is now clear, but the Lamar remains muddy.

But if there are wolves out there, we missed them. We call it a night around 9:15.

TODAY I SAW: 2 grizzly bears, bison, sandhill cranes, a bald eagle, elk, a hawk, an un-common merganser and her 10 chicks, pronghorn (including one doe with two fawns), bighorn sheep, 1 wolf (820 of the Lamar Canyon Pack) and the spirit of Allison.

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