DAY ONE - Tuesday, October 17th

READY TO RELAX

I leave Bozeman around 9AM. Although I could certainly have left earlier, I try to avoid driving at dawn and dusk when animals are more likely to be near the road.

Itís a brisk 27 degrees with a lot of fresh snow on the ground. The sun is out and the sky is blue. I am meeting Jackie in Livingston and since Iím early I decide to explore the road to Bear Creek Canyon.

I exit the highway but somehow I miss the left turn to the Canyon. By the time I realize it I decide to just keep going. Itís mostly open farm country. Old Bozeman. When I get to a spot where I can see Deaconess on the hill in the distance I turn around.

I leave the highway a second time and take the Frontage road. There is no traffic and I can go slow. There is a Lewis & Clark display about the Bozeman trail Iíve never seen before so I study it. I donít think I realized just how close to Yellowstone they came.

After a great breakfast at Gils with Jackie, I am now heading to the Park.

Itís become a little overcast and itís warmed up to 57 degrees. Oh, I am so glad to be here. I feel relaxed already.

Iím through the Arch at 1:20. The mountains have a nice dusting of snow on them. I see golden grasses & pretty cottonwoods, orange & yellow. The river is low but thatís normal this time of year.

I stop to have my visit with Alison. The weather is perfect. Cool air & warm sun. Then I hear from Laurie that wolves are in sight from Calcite so I head east.

The Park is so empty! And of course, I love it this way. The Blacktail is golden, full of subtle western fall colors. It does my heart good. You lighten my heart, Yellowstone!

At Calcite I see everybodyís car but no people. I radio Laurie and learn they are at the top of a steep hill on the south side of the road. Hmmm, my knee is well enough for such a climb but I still have to be careful. By the time I get packed up and started up the slope, I see the rest of them coming down! The wolves are no longer in view but I have a nice reunion with everyone instead. Calvin & Lynette, Laurie & Pauline, Rick and Kathie, and Bill Hamblin, too.

Calvin found them bedded but just before I arrived, they got up and went out of sight. Oh well. Laurie tells me the Eight Mile pack was seen from Hellroaring early this AM but they are no longer in view either.

So I put my scope back in the car and head east with the caravan. There are many bison in Yanceyís Hole & lots more in Lamar. I stop at Dorothyís & Trash Can to enjoy the beauty.

The Lamar River looks spectacular. There seems to be less snow on the eastern mountains than in Paradise Valley, which seems a bit odd. Maybe the sun is stronger here in Lamar?

I arrive in Silver Gate before dark, unload my stuff and have a great evening with Laurie & Pauline. Just like old times!

Today I saw: bison, elk, mule deer, pronghorn and the spirit of Alison




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