I find a bit of moisture on the car this morning at 5AM. It’s a normal 39 degrees with the birdies singing like crazy.
I see mule deer in the usual spots on my way in, and a few elk in the flats near the old Druid rendezvous.
I stop at Coyote, thinking I will have to pack up and climb the hill. But I don’t need to because the Junctions appear. I first see a black travelling up the A-Z meadow right along the tree line.
Then more wolves are seen near the split rock. I count 8 adults, four of each. It’s too far away for me to ID any of them. But then I see small things moving at their feet! Puppies! I count five but I’m sure there were more – 3 black and 2 gray. Yippee!
Just as Laurie & Dan arrive, Calvin and Lynette radio from Slough with great news. The black pup is back at the sage den!
So we head there.
We gather at the first lower lot. I see the alpha female heading across the den meadow toward the western trees. She stops, then moves east to her favorite spot near 890’s tree.
Soon after, I see 1341F emerge from the natal den. Aha! I bet SHE is the one who got the black puppy back across! She moves downslope towards the alpha female in a crouch.
Once she has paid proper respect, she continues down to the sage den and goes inside. She’s not in there long before she comes out, shaking dust everywhere. She stands at the sage den and then here comes the lone black pup! Yay!
1341 goes back inside the den and the pup sits there in the sun.
Suddenly a cinnamon black bear appears behind the western trees. It’s a pretty big bear! But like a super hero, the alpha male charges the bear – I suppose he had been bedded out of sight this whole time.
The pup goes back inside the sage den while the alpha male bites the rear end of the bear. He must have gotten a good bite, because the bear wheels and swats at him in response. Of course, the agile wolf avoids any harm.
Now the alpha female joins him and together they make it clear to the bear that he is NOT welcome. They force him to the north, behind the Crystal Rock.
Once the bear is gone the alphas come back and settle down near the western trees.
Shortly after this, 1341 comes out from the sage den again. She looks around, and you can almost hear her say “my work here is done. What’s next?”. She sets off on her next journey down the Lion Meadow to the flats. I lose her near the pyramid rock but someone on Bob’s Knob sees her swim the creek. She’s heading south.
We all assume (correctly) she is going back to the Jasper den.
Someone finds a pronghorn in the flats with a new fawn.
Laurie and I talk about the fight between 907 and the alpha female. We wonder if the fight changed the status of the alpha female and whether this means that 907 is back in charge? Will the pack split into factions? We both know it’s way too early to tell.
We are somewhat perplexed, though as to why it was so hard for the alphas to get that one pup back to the sage den. I theorize that maybe the alpha’s mouth was injured by 907 to the extent that she just couldn’t lift it?
Laurie’s thinks that’s possible but since 1341 came into the story today, and since she has the ability and the motivation, she probably managed it herself. Which does make sense.
We decide to move over to Crystal to try to find 1341 after she crosses, but she eludes us. People with a horse trailer pull in and start to unload three horses, including a gorgeous palomino. They are taking a trail ride up Specimen. I didn’t know you could take horses up that trail!
Laurie wants to go back to Coyote, maybe climb the hill, but I decide to take a drive up to the Tower Store, hoping to see black bears. It’s not my lucky day, though, so I head back to Lamar, and end up stuck in a series of bison jams. Tis the season!
I run into Calvin & Lynette who want to find the “new carcass” which is supposed to be somewhere near Round Prairie. It starts to rain hard before we get there. We don’t find any carcass but we do see two bull moose at the treeline.
It rains harder so I head to Silver Gate. I find one black bear near Thunderer, the Baronette fox and my usual mule deer.
After a break, we go out for the evening, despite the likelihood of rain. When get to Coyote, though, the rain lets up, and we manage a few fleeting glimpses of some Junctions: 2 gray adults, a black adult and one gray pup.
The gray pup disappears behind the split rock while the other wolves are near a different boulder I name the “raven rock” because of the birds perched upon it.
The rain returns and we head back home, where we enjoy a nice fire.
Today I saw: 2 black bears, bison, mule deer, elk, a fox, 2 moose, pronghorn (including a fawn),
21 Junction wolves (including AF, AM, 1341 and 12 other adults plus 6 pups) and the spirits of
Allison, Richard and Jeff.