Happy Earth Day!
I find a very thin, wet dusting of snow overnight. Itís still cloudy and the prediction is for snow all day.
I am aiming to stop at the Ranch, so when I see Billís car there, I radio him. He has a single collared gray bedded at the carcass, gnawing on a morsel.
I believe I am seeing 1341F, but then the skinny gray yearling emerges from the gully. She goes to 1341 and greets her, then trots off with purpose to the east. She breaks into a lope with her tail wagging Ė an indication that another wolf is nearby.
But I donít see any additional wolf. She stops and sniffs a certain spot, just west of the big fan. Soon she turns uphill and disappears near the tree line.
Bill has moved east to Trash Can and reports a grizzly to the south. I decide to join him, partly to see the bear and partly to see what skinny gray might be up to.
From Trash Can hill I find the grizzly on the east side of Chalcedony fan. It seems to be eating something. There is a single coyote interested in the same item, but the bear keeps the canid at bay.
I watch a while, then return to the Ranch. 1341F is still in view at the carcass, chewing on a few remaining morsels. She gets up and visits the gully, coming back out with another morsel to feed on.
When she finishes, she moves east but turns towards the river for a drink. After this I guess she feels she is still hungry Ė she returns to the gully for a third morsel, which she brings up to the snowbank to chew on.
Now she heads east, with the same kind of purposeful trot as skinny took, taking basically the same route.
I lose her behind the cottonwoods and move to Hubbard. The promised snow has begun to fall, lightly so far, but enough to diminish visibility at this distance.
I hear (and find) a pair of sandhills strutting in the flats in front of the gully area. Peter (Swiss photographer) tells me he saw a black on Jasper heading west earlier today. I hear a woodpecker knocking somewhere in a tree to the north.
I decide to head to Slough. It seems there are many less people in the Park this morning Ė perhaps due to the predicted snow.
At Slough I find very poor visibility and the snow has turned to rain.
A thick line of fog shrouds the mountains, changing the look of the whole valley. The quiet majesty of the close-looming mountains is missing today.
Rick was at Slough this morning before the snow/rain started and saw two wolves at the den. He tells me of a man he met who is interested in adapting his books for the screen. So, Zach and his company may soon have competition. I counsel Rick to go slow.
I drive around, through the snow and rain, looking for good enough visibility in which to scope, but I think I have already played my luckís worth today.
Around 11AM I head east, enjoying one little peek of sun before the clouds close in again.
Today I saw: 1 grizzly bear, bison, a coyote, sandhill cranes, elk, 2 Junction wolves (1341 and
skinny gray yearling) and the spirits of Allison and Richard.