DAY FIVE - Saturday, June 27


WOLFLESS BUT NOT FRIENDLESS

Itís 43 degrees this morning. Iím a tad late Ė heading in at 5:00AM.

I learned from Laurie that I missed nothing in Lamar yesterday while I was having such a great time with 755. I am hoping that means they will be around today.

By 7:15 though, we have nothing in Lamar nor in Little America. I decide to head to Blacktail today. I join up with Doug & Jeremy. We scope from the Childrenís Fire trail but see nothing.

So we move on to Swan Lake flats. Here we see lots of sandhills Ė they like this area for nesting Ė and some gorgeous avocets on the lake. We also see red-winged blackbirds and yellow-headed blackbirds.

I head back west around 8:30, having promised Bill that I would attend the memorial for Bud, his partner who died earlier this year.

On my way I stop briefly for two bear jams; one at Elk Creek for a sow plus one, and another at the Yellowstone Bridge for the sow with two cinnamons. But between the bear jams I stop at Tower Junction when I see a mule deer doe with two fawns. She is dutifully grooming them. The fawns bound over logs and bushes, very cute. Then come back to mom to nurse for a bit.

I join the crowd at Aspen pullout. Bill is having Budís ashes scattered in the trees below. Apparently this was Bubís favorite spot. The memorial is very nice with a bit of music and poetry.

Carol and Charles and Johnna are here, along with Budís family.

From here I head south to fulfill a promise I made to Jake. He is working in the Camera shot at Old Faithful and I told him Iíd stop by to see him when I got back to the Park. But boy, to make a trip to Old Faithful in summer shows just how highly I regard Jake. Even after the huge crowd in Hayden yesterday to see 755, dropping in to the throngs drawn to Old Faithful in summer is a shocking experience.

Itís downright nutty over here. Entirely TOO MANY PEOPLE! I circle the parking lot three times, before copying another carís desperate behavior by parking half-way on top of a cement island. I justify it because I know Iím not staying long.

I find the Haynes photo shop; Jake is on his lunch break Ė due back in a half hour. I sit outside and get lucky again Ė find a shady spot to sit on a log and watch an eruption of Old Faithful. First time Iíve seen it in years. Still a lovely sight.

I go back into the shop and visit with my old hiking bud. He tells me he saw a white/gray wolf in the upper geyser basin in November, and got a photo of it. Later he emails it to me and I show it to Laurie. She says itís the Canyon Alpha Female.

Jake tells me he has already given up his Livingston apartment and that he and Diane will likely move to Oregon where she is seeking teaching work. When I give him a sad face, he says I shouldnít worry, that he canít stay away from Yellowstone very long. 8~).

He also tells me he found a new geyser and calls it The Little Prince.

I head back to the northeast for some peace & quiet but have to stop for a nap. Itís hard to find a shady place but I do, in one of the fisherman pullouts along the Firehole. I position my car just right under the tree shadows, lower my seat and conk out.

Before I head back, I stop at Nez Perce Creek where I soak my feet a while and then wet my neckerchief. I soak my hair and tie the wet neckerchief around my neck which gives me relief. The car has A/C but I donít like to turn it on in the Park because the air smells so good.

I get back to Lauries around 4:30. We have a lovely dinner and chat about everything under the sun. I decide to stay in and we all go to bed early.

TODAY I SAW: avocets, 5 black bears (including 3 cubs), bison, sandhill cranes, mule deer (including 2 fawns), elk, pronghorn and the spirit of Allison.




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