DAY 1 Ė Friday, June 24


JUNCTION PUP

I have been in Bozeman for a week. Itís been bright and sunny and wonderfully green. The trees are in full leaf; the grass is high; the smell in the air is just heavenly. There is a bit of snow left on the high Gallatin & Madison ranges but none on the Bridgers. My car is a white Jeep Patriot with an unusually high seat and no temperature gauge. Not my favorite car but itís fine

I leave around 5PM. A light rain has just ended and the sun is trying to poke its way out. Itís warmish, probably 60ís. The daily wolf reports have been full of puppy sightings and I am eager to see them for myself!

The green on the way to Livingston and beyond is just gorgeous. There is very little snow on the Absarokas. It seems to me that in Junes past there had still been substantial snow up high, but Iím probably remembering early June. Anyway, itís cool to see more of the bare rock mountain terrain which is usually covered by snow.

The cottonwoods and willows are lush and beautiful.

Strangely, for summertime, there is still very little traffic. I arrive at the Arch at 6:30PM which is probably my fastest time ever. I didnít stop at all, so I guess thatís why. There is a single pronghorn in the field south of the entrance gate.

I visit with Allison and then head east. My first stop is at Blacktail Ponds. I watch geese with goslings, sandpipers, a pair of sand hill cranes. I hear ground squirrels peeping and the wonderful whining of yellow-headed blackbirds.

There is a bit of a breeze here and itís much cooler. The grass here looks a tad dry but itís still green. At Upper Elk Creek I join people watching a single black bear. He looks very healthy, grazing and eating flowers. Heís easy to see through binocs and the large crowd is very respectful even without any rangers to guide them.

I have another pronghorn at Curve lot to the north.

There is very little water in the Little America ponds but it still looks great under the golden light of evening. Druid Peak looks magnificent. There is still a bit of snow on the notched mountains to the east. I stop at Slough and set up in the first lot. There are many people here, but none I recognize right off. It has become VERY windy. I see one gray pup at the sage den, which is where they hang out now. It is little hard to scope tonight, because the setting sun is right in my eyes but I got my wolf!

I decide to make it a short glimpse and head on to the east. As expected, there are bison all over Lamar valley proper, in the flats and on the road.

Lamar Valley is its usual gorgeous self. Ahh, spring in Yellowstone! I arrive in Silver Gate with plenty of light to spare, so I unpack, have a quick dinner and hit the sack.

Today I saw: 1 black bear, yellow headed blackbirds, sand hill cranes, geese and goslings, killdeer, 1 pronghorn, 1 wolf pup (Junction Butte) and the spirit of Allison.



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