DAY ONE - Friday, July 10
A BEAUTIFUL EVENING
Once I was back in Bozeman after my disappointing wolf-watching trip in June, I was reluctant to return, especially because it had been so hot and buggy. But my friends Kevin and Tracey will be arriving today and once I learned that the weather had taken a cooler turn, I decided to head back for a quick weekend.
It’s about 3:30 when I leave Bozeman. The sky looks like its fixing to storm but nothing is falling yet. I get gas and ice and off I go.
My plan is to be at Grizzly Overlook in Canyon by 7:30. I always manage to forget something each time I go – this time it is the electric cord for my laptop. But it’s a non-issue because I never get a chance to use my laptop anyway!
The rain starts by the time I reach Livingston and falls all the way to Yankee Jim Canyon. It’s a beautiful 56 degrees in Paradise Valley. A gorgeous fox crosses the road ahead of me. He stops in the meadow and looks back at me when I pass.
The countryside looks so beautiful under a good rain. It falls in short, heavy downpours. And keeps the temps far cooler than when I was here last.
Once inside the Park I see how muddy the Gardiner River is – it looks like café au lait. And of course it means it has been raining up river, too.
There are pronghorn and fawns right at the entrance, and a few more at Chinese Gardens, drawing quite a few happy photogs. It has stopped raining. I have my visit with Allison and ask her to please keep it cool for me.
I arrive at Canyon Junction about 7:15 and stop at Alum Creek to watch a grizzly grazing. Then I pull in to Grizzly Overlook and learn I have missed 755! It appears my timing is off. Around 6PM he showed up trotting from the south, crossed the slope south of the sandboxes and disappeared into the trees. I also learn that the Alpha female was seen earlier in the day, around 3PM, with the pups!
Well, sorry I missed that, but it’s good news that they are still active.
Larry and Linda are here. There are some other visitors who insist that the alpha female is still bedded in sage “above” the “lollypop tree” and that she is hard to see unless she moves. I look and look but never see her.
Then Tracey and Kevin arrive and we have a nice visit. I see photos of their baby boy. There are no bugs and the temps are perfect, around 50. I stay until about 9:20 when I can’t see anymore. Dorothy is here, too, as well as Natalie, Susan and George. Good friends, nice chats, gorgeous scenery.
I stay at Canyon tonight, in my car. Slept great with the window a little bit down. Perfect!
Today I saw: 1 grizzly bear, bison, sandhill cranes (including colts), elk, a fox, pronghorn (including fawns), and the spirit of Allison.