DAY SEVEN - Friday, April 23

A LITTLE MORE SNOW

Itís still snowing when I go out this morning but itís just a dusting. In fact, the temperature is quite warm: 32!

At Hitching Post there is considerable fog. Itís quite beautiful but of course, it messes with visibility.

When I reach Slough the den area is shrouded in white. Hmm.

However, Frank is already up on Daveís Hill and noticed a single black near the south carcass for a minute or two. I decide to continue west, hoping to find where last nightís hunting party ended up.

At Junction Butte I see a pair of sandhill cranes. By the time I get to the big ski lot, the weather has vastly improved. So I decide to head back to Slough. By 7:30 I finally see my wolves in the den area, two blacks and two grays.

Bill finds a grizzly way up near skyline, digging away.

A gray wolf (not 907) trots down from the natal den and roams around near the sage den. Two wolves are bedded near the eastern trees. Suddenly they both jump up and run to the west, past the small diagonal forest. It certainly looks like a food delivery is imminent, but they stall out in the rocks. Another black joins them and they all wander around among the boulders. I never figure out what caused them to run there, but maybe they saw a coyote?

John W is scoping to the south. He finds a collared black, which turns out to be 1109, leaving the carcass area, heading up divide ridge. Looks like she got her turn after all!

While watching 1109, I spot a second black near her, eating something. 1109 approaches this uncollared black (probably a Junction yearling) with tucked tail. She wants to join this wolf but is very hesitant. She changes her mind and goes back up the hill and beds.

Later, we watch her heading up to skyline. The yearling follows her and they both top out.

We are all sympathetic to the plight of 1109. She is such an industrious, capable wolf. She just wants a family, and they all shun her. We latch on to hope that this black yearling might stick with her a while.

I hear belatedly that Jeremy saw the Junction main group heading south to Cache this morning during the snow.

Hmm, well we might not see them for a while.

Itís time for a nap. On my drive east this afternoon I see a pronghorn on Cardiac Hill, the furthest east yet this spring. And my log has moved! Itís stuck again on gravel but itís now turned 180 degrees and lodged about 100 feet further downriver.

I see Rick at Footbridge so I stop to chat with him about some developments with his books. I try to give him good advice.

At Warm Creek I see a young moose, walking in the water on the south side. Itís drawn quite a crowd!

We go back in around 6PM and meet the Baronette fox on the road.

The snow has been replaced by wind, which really gives me a chill.

Nevertheless, I set up as usual at Slough. I see wolves right away: the alpha female, a dark-faced, cocoa black and an uncollared gray. They move here and there, nothing dramatic. Then the alpha female and the dark faced black set off together, in a rather determined way past the Crescent Rock into the Diagonal Forest. Hmm, I wonder what draws them in that direction?

They are not gone long, though; we see them coming back within a half hour.

The gray (not 907) goes up the hill and into the natal den. Then a black is seen up there, near the porch. We find no wolves to the south this evening.

Laurie notices that the alpha female is bedded just above the sage den at an angle so she can look directly at the natal den. It looks as if she is determined to keep a controlling eye on 907. I wish I understood better why she is driven to be this way.

The wind makes scoping less pleasant, so we retire a bit earlier than usual. Again I see a fox on the road near Baronette, but this is a different one. The 6PM fox was a beautiful red and this one is gray-ish. Perhaps they are a couple?

Today I saw: 1 grizzly bear, bison, a pair of sandhill cranes, a golden eagle, elk, 2 fox, a moose, pronghorn, 7 wolves (6 Junctions including AF and others, plus 1109F) and the spirits of Allison and Richard.

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