I head out at 4:30 again for the drive to Hayden.
In the Blacktail, at the spot I call the Blue bird tree I see a pretty fox.
As I head up Antelope I see several elk in silhouette on the horizon. At 5:30 I pass Bob L. He has his camera out so I donít stop in case that would disturb him.
There are mule deer in the meadows today. As I come down from the pass I can see that Hayden is totally fogged in.
We didnít really make a plan this morning and I havenít found Doug yet. The fog is really thick, and even though itís really cool I donít think itís the kind heíd want to photograph in.
I decide the best thing to do is go to Fishing Bridge because I know heíll stop there for coffee around 7:30. And moments after I pull in, he does too.
He and Helen drove out to Lake Butte where they saw grouse and the fog was light enough for photos.
We stop at one of the high pullouts looking east. Bob L is here and we talk a bit. He says usually itís clear by 8 but sometimes not until 10.
Bob says he had a bear in view briefly, but heís gone now. We were able to see a few elk and some bison. Doug and Helen decide to head back over Dunraven but I stay to look for Canyon wolves at Grizzly Overlook. I talk with a man named Rich who is staying at Flagg Ranch and coming up to Yellowstone every day. I tell him to try Silver Gate or Cooke City next time because that is REALLY a long drive!
There is a decent sized elk herd in view and the fog is starting to lift. I find an osprey perched in a tree close to the river. An elk cow crosses the road and swims the river, dripping like crazy when she gets out the other side.
A storm comes in, with lightning. As I drive I can see it has hailed in various sections of the Canyon area but not on me. In one section there is slushy snow on road. I run into Bob again at the Canyon gas station. He says the Canyon alphas were seen yesterday on the telephone-pole side of the road. I ask him about this morning up on Antelope. He says he was doing time lapse.
Next I head south. I am meeting my friend Jill at Lake for lunch. She came up from her llama ranch south of Jackson to attend some kind of meeting at Flagg Ranch. Martha is with her and we have a really lovely time. She says that Dave is running for county coroner and she would be fine if he stopped being a cop. We talked about the llamas and that her business is healthy again.
Before we had lunch, I got to the Lake area early so I cruised around the Lake Lodge cabins. Itís not open yet and it was fun exploring.
Now Iím headed back north. Iím staying in Silver Gate tonight.
I have snow flurries on the pass but the sky brightens shortly thereafter. It looks like better weather ahead. As I come around Mae West turn I see a huge jam.
I find a place to park and walk to a safe spot where I set up my scope. People around me are saying itís a grizzly, but it looks like a black bear to me. It is right at the base of a tree eating meat. Some people say is caught a calf. That may indeed be true but to me it looked like it was eating something old, not fresh. I didnít see any blood. But I never found out for sure.
I see scattered elk from the pullouts on my way towards Antelope.
Itís now 52 degrees and Iím leaving Roosevelt Ė just got more ice. I head towards Little America. I see pronghorn and at Aspen I watch a badger for a while.
I enjoy finally seeing the Lamar in all its glory. The river is high and the confluence looks like it has a few new configurations. As I reach Warm Springs it starts to rain.
I get to Laurieís around 6 and unload my stuff. I call her so she knows Iím there. Then I head out with a plan to scope from Dorothyís. I have mule deer near the road at the owl Meadow and more at Baronnette. Near the soda cone I see a pronghorn being buzzed by a crow! Weird!
I set up at Dorothyís and watch bison, elk, pronghorn, sandhills and geese. Betsy shows up and we catch up. She is staying at Laurieís too. We try scoping from Lamar Canyon west hoping to see the Junctions. Instead we see lots of elk there, which argues against wolves being in the area.
So now Iím wolf-less for three whole days. This is what itís like now. As Laurie says, every wolf sighting is a gift.
Today I saw: a badger, 1 black bear, bison, sandhill cranes, mule deer, elk, a fox, geese, osprey, pronghorn,