DAY NINE - TUESDAY, JUNE 12

HEADS UP/HEADS DOWN

There is frost on the car this morning and itís cold; 22 degrees.

On the way in I see frosty bison and frosty sagebrush. No mulies or moose, though. Maybe they are staying in a warm spot!

I join Rick at Footbridge and scope awhile. A young woman comes up to Rick and tells him she and her friends saw two of the Lamars last night at dark near the Soda Cone. She says they were chasing elk. That sounds promising so we continue looking east.

A little while after that, Doug calls Rick to say that Ray found a wolf at Slough, so off we go.

Ray and Doug are down in the lower lot but as I approach a herd of bison with many rambunctious calves is crossing the campground road. They swerve away from the lot and continue down to the watery creek bottoms. They settle down once they get to the green meadows.

I set up next to Dan and find the wolf. Itís Junction 1048M. Heís bedded in some high grass just in front of the lower end of the diagonal forest.

The story is that Ray saw him traveling from the east. He thinks he was carrying some meat in his mouth. It takes a while for me to see more than just his ear or his nose but finally he stands up to re-bed so now I am sure I saw a wolf (!)

While I watch him I listen to conversations around me and Iím surprised to learn news of the accident last night. The driver of the passenger van was Gwen, the French woman I met yesterday. I'm sorry none of us recognized her car last night. Poor Gwen.

Luckily, she was not hurt but it took some doing for her to find a place to stay overnight because she has three dogs, including a crippled one. But people helped her. No one seems to know what happened, though.

1048 raises his head every 10 minutes or so, making it a fairly un-interesting sighting. So I scope the area and find a pronghorn mom with two fawns. I also see cranes and several coyotes, howling on a nearby hill.

Laurie & Dan and I think it might make sense to gain some height, so we move up to Bobís. As it turns out, we can see more of the area from here but actually, not more of the wolf! But then we notice a couple of bison moving his way and I predict he will get up once the bulls get closer.

And he does. As the bison arrive, the wolf stands up. Then the surprise: he has a dead pronghorn fawn in his mouth! He carries the prize about 10 feet to the north and re-beds, in even deeper grass. We expect him to eat the fawn, but he doesnít, so we figure he must already be full. Perhaps he means to bring it back to the den for the puppies or for 907?

We are here for about 3 hours and in that whole time the wolf has been recognizable as such for about 10 minutes total. Dozens of people come out, eager to see a wolf but the only way we can accommodate is to call out ďheads upĒ when the wolf lifts his head so they can take a quick peek.

Around 10AM, 1048 moves once more, and this time he disappears completely into the high grass.

Robin and Steve are leaving today so we gather around to say our goodbyes. A very nice family from SC drops by; their daughter is nuts about wolves and asks many questions. We give her information and encouragement.

Robin and Steve head back home and the SC family drives east to see the famous Druid peak. Laurie and I have a task to complete; we need to read the rest of the book pages Rick left us.

So we go east, too.

We have a pleasant afternoon and a relaxing evening and I reluctantly pack up for tomorrow.

Today I saw: bison, coyotes, mule deer, elk, pronghorn (including twin fawns), 1 wolf (Junction 1048M) and the spirit of Allison.

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