DAY ONE - Sunday, September 26


Five days after the Covid scare with my Cincinnati friends, I head back to the Park for more fall wolf watching. I leave Bozeman at 1PM under a slightly hazy sky and 70 warm degrees.

The color in Bozeman has become far more vibrant, with the maples especially pretty as they turn, sporting multiple colors on each tree: red, orange, yellow and while some leaves retain a bit of green.

The mountain tops in Paradise Valley are free of snow again, but the fall color overall looks richer, both on the trees and on the ground. Gold, red and rust is predominant.

Chico mountain does sport a bit of snow at the very top.

It’s much warmer, today, at 82. When I reach Gardiner it looks like there are many less people than even five days ago.

I have my visit with Allison and enjoy watching a bull elk woo a small band of cows. They seem unimpressed at the moment.

There are bison at Blacktail ponds, and I am delighted at the level and variety of fall color all through the forested sections.

A coyote emerges from the brush at the end of the 6 Mile road and a mule deer doe and fawn stand stock still on the spur to Petrified Tree.

There are many pronghorn in the flats near the Peregrine hills and I am struck by the gorgeous orange aspen at Aspen pullout.

The ground cover is vibrant through Lamar Canyon, with purple, rust, red and gold. I am just loving the fall this year!

I see the limping coyote at 21’s crossing. He seems much better!

I pull into Laurie’s and get settled and caught up. She tells me they saw Junctions in the rendezvous again this morning. But then she tells me how a young woman walked out and disturbed them. The pups freaked out and ran like crazy into the forest.

A Ranger came and gave her a citation. Maureen says people on the hill were disgusted at how often this seems to be happening now. But Laurie say Jeremy reminded everyone that it’s good the puppies ran away. That reaction might just keep them alive.

Around 6PM we go in for the evening session.

And we’re in luck. We find many Junctions bedded in view, right back in the rendezvous.

I see an uncollared gray sniffing around in the short grass in front of eastern foothill, with two blacks bedded left of him. To the right of them are two more wolves, a black and a gray, moving further east plus two more grays bedded to the right.

Later, I see the second black pup for a total of 9 wolves.

It’s a very pleasant evening but without much action, just wolves meandering here and there, kind of listless. The pups of course, are more active, bless them. I especially like the gray pup with really beautiful coloring. Some of them seem to be getting their winter coats already.

Around 7:30 we head back to Silver Gate.

Today I saw: bison, 2 coyotes, elk, pronghorn, 9 Junction wolves (3 adult grays, 1 adult black plus 5 of the 6 pups) and the spirits of Allison and Richard.

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