DAY 1 Ė MONDAY, June 4

GREAT GREEN

I leave Bozeman around 1:30. My rental car is enormous: a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Itís so high I have to haul myself inside by the steering wheel. It has way too many computer-oriented features for my taste, but it handles fine.

The weather is good. Everything is very green and the water is quite high.

I reach the main entrance at 3:15 and see pronghorn right away. The Gardiner River is foaming white water and looks great. I donít think Iíve ever seen this area look so green. However, a section of grassy hillside above Chinese Gardens looks like it has slid down, in three or four jagged sections, from too much rain.

I am surprised to see the Blacktail road is not yet open. Too muddy perhaps? Phantom Lake is a real lake again and looks great.

But after my April trip, where I nearly had the park to myself, it is almost shocking to be here when itís crowded. Especially since itís Monday. Seems like weekend-level traffic.

At upper Elk Creek I have my first black bear jam. It is a light brown colored black bear and everyone is calling it a grizzly.

I stop at Roosevelt to leave a note for my Bozeman friends V & K who are staying here. Instead I find them just outside their cabin on their way out. We make our plans and go our separate ways.

Little America is full of bison, their little red calves and their two-legged admirers. I see lots of cars at Slough, but I donít join them because I know there are no pups. Waaah!

The Lamar River is cafť-au-lait frothy, roaring down the Canyon. And Lamar is green and gorgeous! Oh, man. How wonderful to see it this way.

At Round Prairie people are stopped to watch an animal on the north side. Someone says ďwolfĒ but itís a coyote. It looks extremely healthy.

Soda Butte Picnic is empty so I pull in and scope for goats. I find one. Yay! I continue east and see numerous mule deer between here and Warm Creek.

My temporary house mates, Maureen and Rick, appear to still be out in the Park when I arrive, so I unload and arrange my stuff. I relax for a while, then pack up for an evening session.

I leave around 7:15. Itís a beautiful evening, 70 degrees. I see the mulies again on my way in, and a moose on the south side, walking near the tree line just east of Baronette.

I find a place to park at Slough and walk out to Bobís Knob. In a sure sign of summer, there are a zillion people here but no wolves in view. Itís a bit buggy but not too bad.

I talk to some people who were here last night. They saw the Junctions chase elk and hoped to have a repeat tonight. Instead we see elk, bison, pronghorn and cranes. We hear howling, but itís coyotes. Iím able to find them on a hill across from us.

I also find some bighorn sheep way up on Specimen. Itís great to be back!

Today I saw: bison, 1 black bear, 3 coyotes, mule deer, elk, 1 mountain goat, a moose, pronghorn, bighorn sheep and the spirit of Allison.




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