DAY FOUR - Monday, July 8

TWO PACK DAY

The birdies are singing happily again as I pack up and head out. Looks like it rained a bit overnight, and itís still a bit overcast.

My first stop is at Hubbard to check on the grizzly. I can see the bison horns but the bear is long gone.

I join Rick and Jeremy at Dorothyís. Jeremy says 1048 is out there somewhere.

Someone finds a grizzly, low on Amethyst. It could be the same bear that was feeding on the bison last night. Then Rick finds 1048. We move east to Mid-Point to watch him.

1048 is on the bench above the grizzly and a bit to the west. Heís climbing the higher part of Amethyst bench. He disappears in the drainage forest, then comes out again above it. This is one of the routes to 1109ís den and her pups. He keeps climbing all the way up to skyline and over the top. I comment to Rick that he has been a very reliable provider to her lately and he agrees.

Once I lose the wolf, I turn my scope back to the grizzly. I see him lift his nose, sniffing. Then he suddenly bolts up the hill. We look around but have no idea what made him do that.

Laurie & Dan and I decide to head west but soon get stuck in a bison jam in the straight stretch just west of the Institute. The south side of the road here drops precipitously so there is no room to maneuver past the stopped cars.

But the bison eventually move so on we go. Near the big ski lot west of Tower, we see a black bear near the road, and then another at Floating Island lake. And there are two mule deer posing at the entrance to the Blacktail Deer drive.

We finally pull into the Frog Rock side of the Fire Trail lot and get out our scopes. And we are in luck! Almost right away we see two adults, a black and a gray, come in from the south-east. They stop in a meadow and all five pups come streaking out to them. The adults lower their heads and the pups surround them.

They gobble down the food then roam around, noses down, searching for any tidbits they missed. Then they all split up and the gray adult beds. One of the pups does something wrong and gets pinned by the black adult. I wonder what he did to deserve that!

Next I see one of the pups walking along the fallen log. All the pups begin to explore, each in their own area. The black adult eventually beds near the trees and becomes almost impossible to see.

The overcast sky keeps thing cooler today, which I appreciate.

After the wolves head into the forest, we go back east.

We have another bear jam between Rickís pullout and Tower. I stop again at Dorothyís and find bison, pronghorn, a bald eagle and some red tails. There are also some researches doing some kind of water quality test in a channel of Rose Creek.

Big John stops by and tells us a sad story. The cub of the Rainy Lake sow was hit by a car last evening. John says it bolted right in front the car; that the driver was not at fault.

But he said the poor sow was going crazy with all the cars stopped. John found a way to keep the people back to let the sow alone to mourn her cub. Most people didnít know a cub had been killed, they just saw the sow near the road and wanted photos. I know he did his best, and Iím glad he was on hand for such a sad situation. I think John is uniquely qualified for this type of thing; equally empathetic to wildlife and visitors.

I continue east and again see a black bear just east of Pebble. I call out a warning to him ďstay away from the road!Ē

Missy and Andy join us for dinner tonight, so we donít go out for the evening. Instead we drink some wine and have a lovely visit.

Today I saw: 4 black bears, 1 grizzly bear, bison, mule deer, a bald eagle, elk, a grouse, red-tailed hawks, pronghorn, 8 wolves from 2 packs, including 1 Junction (1048M) plus seven 8 Mile wolves including two adults and all 5 pups, and the spirits of Allison & Richard.

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