DAY EIGHT - Thursday, May 26


It’s 34 degrees today at 5AM. Great chorus of birdies today. The day seems brighter so perhaps it’s going to be clear instead of cloudy.

I see two moose in meadow just west of Thunderer pullout.

My first stop is Crystal again, and I have wolves in view right away; 3 adults and 10 pups. Rick and Maureen join me and excitedly report that 1228F crossed the road in front of them in the dark this morning, going north to south near the Soda Cone.

Although I’m sorry I missed seeing her, it always makes me happy to know she is around and healthy.

There are no clouds today and the rising sun makes viewing hard, so I decide to head over to the north.

Laurie & Dan come over, too. We see the alpha pair bedded below the Western Trees and two black pups on the natal den porch.

A little later, the alpha male moves over to the center boulder and the female beds closer to 890’s tree. Unfortunately, the vegetation here is high and thick so we can’t see her very well.

About a half hour later, New Mom emerges from the natal den, and sure enough, she has a small black pup in her mouth. She moves down the bracken slope, ending up at the bottom, near the alphas.

We can see two black wolves together but it’s hard to tell what’s going on. Chloe thinks that the alpha female is objecting to New Mom taking this pup. We see enough movement that we i nterpret to be the two females having a gentle tug of “tug o’ war” over the pup.

Eeek! I would not have wanted to be that pup!

The alpha female wins the argument, because we soon see her carrying the pup back up the hill. She reaches the porch and puts the pup down. The poor little thing scrambles inside quickly.

We also see two grizzlies to the south near Crystal Rock – it was actually a sow with two yearling cubs but I only saw one of the cubs.

Boy, it’s gotten very warm today! We decide to head back over to Crystal, now that the sun is higher and won’t be in our eyes.

We arrive in time to talk with Rick. He’s just counted 15 pups here at the south den this morning.

We watch 1276F leave the den area and begin to travel west. She has done this numerous times before but today she continues going west. We hear reports of people seeing her as far west as Boulder – well, south of there.

Back at the den area, a gray comes in from the right, and gets swarmed by adults and pups. Someone finds sheep way up on Specimen.

There seem to me many more visitors today – which makes sense of course, as Memorial Day Weekend is just around the corner.

And it’s quite warm – already 64 degrees at 11:30!

On my way back east, I stop at Dorothy’s to count the bison grazing the flats. There are at least 500!

I smile at how pretty Rose Creek looks, winding its way through the dandelion-dotted green meadow. The sun really makes the water sparkle, and the yellow flowers seem to glow.

I see Bill at Footbridge – he shows me a grizzly up on #2 finger of Mt. Norris.

And near Pebble, I see a cinnamon black bear that everyone else in the pullout calls a grizzly. I keep my mouth shut…for once!

After a nap and a shower in Silver Gate, we head back in for the evening session. The temp is 72 at 6PM!

We have another pleasant evening at Crystal, and remind ourselves how lucky we are.

We have the usual collection of adult wolves, 907, 1048, 1229, and 1339 plus several yearlings. The pups are getting more and more adventurous – several of them roam quite a ways upslope, then come romping back down. A few make a journey over to the Thumb rock, then play ring around the rock. So cute!

My high count of pups this evening is 12. Laurie got 14. We enjoy seeing the pups play, and it’s even more fun when the adults join in. The wolves treat us to a great howling session, with the puppies joining in. So sweet!

We leave around 8:30 with the temp still warm at 68! When we get back to Silver Gate, the moose mom is in the meadow across from Laurie’s.

Today I saw: 5 grizzly bears, bison, sandhill cranes, elk, 3 moose, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, 23 Junction wolves including AF, AM, 907, 1048, 1229, 1339, New Mom, an uncollared black and an uncollared gray, 16 puppies (3N/13S) and the spirits of Allison and Richard

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