Covid19 claimed my NYC company, forcing me to retire early. This is my first trip to Yellowstone since that change in my status. I spent August in NY, closing down, shredding documents, packing up. I also used the visit to “downsize” my tiny NY apartment, which held an amazing amount of stuff. I left enough furniture and appliances to make any future visit comfortable and hired Bekins to haul the rest to Bozeman.
The only silver lining in this sad, upsetting turn of events is my becoming a full-time resident of Bozeman two years early.
I got back to Bozeman and began planning my return to the Park. I sorely needed a wolf-watching break. Over the summer I was not able to manage a “Yellowstone escape” because too much was going on with the impending end of my business. I needed to remain tied to the computer. Nevertheless, I got daily reports of wolf activity from Laurie and knew that wolf watching was good. I also knew that visitation levels in the Park were sky high. My June visit taught me what it’s like to be “on guard” while watching wildlife. Worrying about Covid risk adds a layer of unpleasantness to what had always been an open-hearted experience.
So, I reasoned that it would be best to try just a four day, three-night trip. Laurie was gracious enough to allow me to stay in her Silver Gate cabin. And since I knew my friend Barb was also planning to be in the Park, I arranged, with Laurie’s blessing, for Barb to join me part of the time. I also knew that my friends Missy and Andy would be staying nearby in Cooke City in their usual cabin. So, I was indeed looking forward to sharing the Park with them.
As the day drew near, smoke from the terrible fires in California and Oregon had made its way to Montana. This is my first experience with “smoke season” and it is a bit to get used to. Reports from the Park contained complaints about diminished visibility. It was not unhealthy air, just unpleasant. So, I prepared for it.
JUNCTION WOLF UPDATE:
All 18 pups have so far survived. As expected, the pups moved from their highly visible “den area” about a week after my June trip. They chose a different rendezvous area further west which was, unfortunately, not visible from anywhere along the road. For about 4 weeks, the growing puppies stayed mostly out of sight.
Then in late July they moved again, this time into the Slough creek flats near the ”Marge Simpson” tree. Week after week, several pups were
again regularly visible while the adults would come and go, keeping them fed. This is the situation of which I was aware when I set out from Bozeman.