DAY FIVE - Thursday, October 14

TOO LOW AND TOO LATE

I find a light dusting of snow on the car this morning. Maybe today will be the day I finally see wolves!

I see Mark and Carol on Trash Can hill this morning. They donít have anything, though, so I go on to Dorothyís. The day brightens and it looks like the clouds are thinning out.

Rick tells me Doug S and Lisa D are visiting the Park today. He hopes he can find wolves for them. Since Jeremy is leaving for Africa later today he doesnít know if he will be out this morning or not.

There is a very pretty sunrise today. Laurie & Dan go west to Boulder. Still nothing anywhere.

I scope from Slough a while. The flats are clear but clouds still cling to the higher slopes.

I move to Elk Creek to look up on Specimen, since the sun is shrouded in cloud. Visibility is good but I find nothing.

Then we hear wolves are in view south of Geode. Itís Rescue Creek. Laurie & Dan get there first but find no parking. Itís a mess there, cars everywhere and people have climbed a really high hill to the south in order to see them.

Rick encourages us to try from a different location which requires hiking.

Faye & Dale, Kathie and I give it a try, but once we get in place we realize we are still too low to see them.

Some people climb higher but find they are blocked by trees. Itís very frustrating. Then Kathie loses a leather phone pouch. We try to help but canít find it.

Susan radios that the wolves have gone out of sight, so back to the car I go. I drive up to Geode. There is plenty of parking now, since the wolves are gone!

While Iím here, though, I get the good news that Dale found Kathieís pouch. So we do have something to celebrate!

I drive further west and find Calvin & Lynette, Mark & Carol across the road from the North Butte pullout. They have nothing in sight but did have a brief glimpse about a half hour ago.

In hindsight, I wish I had come to this location earlier because at least it offers a view in the right direction. I didnít know where the wolves were being seen when I climbed the hill, but now that I understand the lay of the land better, I will remember this for the future.

Some of us gather at Nature Trail but luck continues to avoid me. However, Melba was one of the lucky ones this morning so she shows me video she took. Does that count as my wolf of the day?

I chat with Larry & Linda a while, and we vent our frustration to each other. Around 10AM I head back east.

I pull in at the big ski lot when I see several cars here. Visitors tell me there is a black bear in a den visible here (!) and someone has just spotted a moose to the south. But before I get set up, the radio crackles about wolves in Lamar.

Oh, I hope so!!!!

Apparently someone told Rick they had seen several wolves south of the Ranch.

A bunch of us head east, convinced that the Junctions have returned. But wishful thinking gets the better of us all. When I arrive in Lamar I see no evidence of any active sighting.

I join Larry & Linda at Picnic and we try to figure out whatís going on. Frank finally clears it up for us. He has been in Lamar for several hours, looking for bears. He says there were some coyotes tooling around in the flats south of the Ranch for a while.

Aaauggh! Not wolves. Just some visitors making a common mistake.

We have a sad laugh and try to make the best of it. I find a badger in the rendezvous, probably the same one Dan found one evening during my last trip.

On my way back east I see Laurie & Dan at Footbridge. We commiserate about the false alarm awhile. Faye and Dale join us, sharing stories.

The day has turned gorgeous so we do enjoy that. Faye finds a small herd of elk moving from the middle flats towards the rendezvous. We look but find nothing behind them. Itís nice to see elk in Lamar Valley!

Then someone finds a grizzly (probably the one from Ice Box canyon) crossing a slope to the north.

After my break, I head back in around 4:30, determined to do my part to find the Junctions. Maybe they will return tonight?

I set up on Trash Can Hill where Iím joined by two friendly young women from Florida. One of them worked this summer as a guide in Teton. She has a friend visiting who really wants to see a wolf.

I scope all the usual places but nothing emerges. I remember what Stacy said yesterday, that the Junctions need to do a territory check of Lamar and Little America, so they are bound to return soon.

We watch a bison herd pass behind us, hoping that none of the bulls gets any ornery ideas.

I look around and realize that for once, there are very, very few people in Lamar.

Around 6:15 the wind picks up and snow starts falling again. We abandon our hill and go back to our cars.

The setting sun breaks through the clouds above Specimen making some nice atmospherics. Even without wolves, I am never sorry to be in Lamar Valley.

And for a nice ending to the day, I see a lone moose in the meadow at Soda Butte Picnic.

Today I saw: a badger, a grizzly bear, bison, elk, a moose, and the spirits of Allison and Richard.

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