DAY THREE - Tuesday, October 12

SHUT OUT

After a good nightís sleep, I head out in the dark at 6:30AM. The car temp says 20 degrees. I brush off about 3 inches of fresh snow; itís powdery on top with a layer of ice beneath. Itís still snowing lightly and the road is clear.

I am hoping for decent visibility so we can see wolves today.

But there are barricades at the gate! The road (and the Park) is still shut down.

SoÖback to the house we go.

There is so little accumulation here, the decision to remain closed really perplexes me. I remember being assured years ago by old timers that this road stays open no matter what because of the communities at either end.

I suspect that Covid has changed some long-held Park practices.

Anyway, we make the best of it. Every 15 minutes or so I call the Road Info line but keep getting the recorded message from yesterday at 5PM.

Finally, at 1PM, the road opens.

I call Rick, Mark & Carol and Iím on the road at 1:10PM. Itís 33 degrees with light snow falling.

Of course, I know Iím unlikely to see any wolves this late in the day, even if visibility is good.

I find fox prints in the road and see wispy clouds high on Baronnette. It looks like approximately 3 inches has fallen. All the trees are nicely flocked.

I have partial sun and the road is mostly clear with slushy patches in shaded spots. Visibility in Lamar is fine. The amount of snow is barely enough to cover the sage.

I meet Rick at Footbridge. We share the limited info we have and decide to continue west. Everything looks great under its new white blanket.

We meet Mark and Carol at Dorothyís but still find nothing. We continue to have good visibility through Little America. People are spread out, looking. Calvin and Lynette are at Hellroaring but even they have nothing.

I stop at Rickís pullout when I notice some running bison. What has spooked them? Wolves? No, itís two people, walking around.

We gather again at Hellroaring. We have decent visibility but only bison in view. A visitor with binoculars thinks he see a bear, but itís another bison.

I am surprised at how many first-time visitors are here. In past years, an early storm like this (not to mention a 24 hour Park-wide closure) would have chased most people out of the Park. Not this year!

Around 5PM we call it a day and head back east. As I pass the ranch I see a single coyote out in the flats.

Today I saw: bison, 1 coyote, a few elk and the spirits of Allison and Richard.

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