DAY ONE - Tuesday, September 19

ONE BLACK WOLF

Itís a very pleasant 72 degrees at 3PM as I leave Bozeman.

Itís only been a week since my last trip but Laurie & Dan are now in Silver Gate hosting our friends Maureen and Rick. I want to visit with them before I head to NYC to see my sisters later this month.

Fall is late arriving in Bozeman but it has begun further east. Itís a perfect, blue-sky day. Paradise Valley is simply gorgeous!

Iím inside the Park entrance just after 4:30. My car smells like the ribs dinner I just picked up, hah! Further in back, I am also transporting some extra cans of deck paint for Laurie & Dan.

Just before I reach Hellroaring I have to brake suddenly for a grouse in the road. Luckily there is no one behind me but Iím on a curve so I honk at the grouse. It scurries across to the north and I go on my way.

I see very other little wildlife on this drive, except bison of course. At Junction Butte a few pronghorn wander by.

The Yellowstone Picnic area is all torn up for the new Bridge construction. Itís now being used as a parking lot for various trucks.

Little America looks pretty. And I have plenty of time to admire it due to several ďSlo-GoesĒ. 20 mph drivers who donít use pullouts used to be a summer phenomenon, but itís now normal in all seasons.

At Dorothyís I see Gary. He tells me there are sleeping wolves in the Old Druid Rendezvous, in view from Exclosure. He says he thinks Celia is up there. This is good news. Celia and I had a blast together on my last trip.

I continue east to that spot and climb the hill but donít find Celia (I learn later that she was much higher up). I do find one wolf, though. A black, walking between the western and middle foothills.

I see some elk up on Norris. I donít stay very long. I can see a storm brewing in the west and I hope to beat it to Silver Gate.

I find out later that I missed seeing a bear and several other wolves in the Rendezvous.

But I do beat the storm, just in time.

I unload my stuff, including the ribs and the deck paint, and we have a lovely reunion. As the rain falls, we are cozy inside around the fire.

Today I saw: bison, elk, a grouse, pronghorn, one black Junction wolf and the spirits of Allison, Richard and Jeff.

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