On our last night, at Chico Hot Springs Resort, we had a prívate dinner in the Wine Cellar. While we dined on gourmet meals, we talked about the future of wolves in Yellowstone.
We have spent a week together and become good friends and traveling companions. Tomorrow we will return to our normal lives. Already I miss the wolves and the fun I have had on this trip.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
We were scheduled to go to West Yellowstone on Sunday and to Old Faithful, but we couldn´t get there with the road closures. We ended up staying the night in Gardiner, but no one minded. The hotel was very nice. It overlooked a stream, and dinner was great.
The next day we were able to get to Lake Yellowstone, pictured above. The fire was clearly visible from there. As we got closer to the hotel, we could see the sprinklers wetting down the trees in an attempt to keep the hotel safe. It was an eerie sight.
Because of the forest fire, we didn´t make it to see Old Faithful. However, Yellowstone has many lesser-known geysers, vents, mud pots, and other interesting features.
The Norris Geyser Basin had plenty of steamy sites. They were very colorful, and the aroma of sulpher added its own ambiance.
Kent in front of Emerald Spring.
The Dragon Mouth Spring was in a different location, closer to Hayden Valley. It was very noisy and steamy--a great Dragon!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
What can I say? Watching the wildlife graze made us hungry.
Whenever we stopped to watch, Linda brought out hot coffee and goodies. We not only came back with great memories--we came back a few pounds heavier.
Coffee, boysenberry yogurt, and wolves will always go together in my mind.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
When the days warmed up, as they tended to do the week we were there, the animals went back into the woods or their dens or anywhere cool. So our group used that time to sightsee.
One day we stopped at the Apollinaris Spring. In the early days of wagon trains and horses, travels could find good drinking water here.
Yellowstone is known for its geological features.
Due to the forest fire, we weren´t able to get to Old Faithful. Instead, we went to Dragon´s Mouth and the Norris Geyser Basin areas. We saw lots of mud pots, geysers, and other steamy, smelly things. They were unique and interesting, but they weren´t wolves.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
The pup sniffed at everything and played for a while before it went over a hill and disappeared. The female wolf, however, stayed for a much longer time. At one point it looked like she was watching for the other members of the pack. Sage grew here, too, and she rested in that for a while. Then she began working her way to the right. It looked like she might be checking out brush for small game, but if so, she didn´t find any. We were able to watch her for quite a long time before she trotted out of sight.
She was beautiful, and the wolf that I was able to see the best. I will always remember her.
The Yellowstone River cuts through the Park, reaches Yellowstone Lake, and continues down to the southeast boundary. We went as far as Yellowstone Lake, staying a night at Lake Yellowstone Hotel.
A very early morning picture of the river.
The Canyon Pack would be the last wolves we would see. We saw other animals, including Big Horn Sheep, a Jack Rabbit that dashed across the road in front of the Adventure bus, a small herd of female elk, a couple of coyotes, and maybe a few mountain goats. I never could see the goats, but some of our group might have. We went looking for a badger that had been spotted by another group, but we never found him. But Yellowstone is so beautiful, that just being there was enough (after seeing the wolves, of course).
We had been scheduled to go into West Yellowstone and to Old Faithful. The fire, however, continues to grow. Nathan and Linda are keeping tabs on road closures and hoping that we won´t have to be evacuated. Camping out in the Adventure bus might be more adventure than any of us want!
Saturday, October 10, 2009
A coyote came through, too, but he didn´t stay long.
Normally the elk would be here, but they haven´t come down from the high country yet. The weather has been unusually warm. The Equinox storm, which usually hits around September 22, is late. You can´t tell it by the temps in the morning--it is very cold--but it warms up quickly. By 11 a.m. we are all removing layers of coats and sweat shirts.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Linda explains the wolf/prey relationship using some of the old bones.
One theory is that wolves are always hunting, always checking on the condition of the other animals to see which ones may be weak, sick, or old. One interesting side-effect of the reduction of the elk and deer population is the increase in some native plants. It´s all about balance.
Another interesting stop that we made today was to the studio of Dan and Cindy Hartman. They are wildlife photographers who live in Cooke City, just outside of Yellowstone. While we had a great lunch, Dan showed us slides and told about some of the adventures he has had photographing the animals. Fantastic!
Check out his website to see some great pix of the wolves and other wildlife.
We had a chance to buy souvenir photographs, of course. (Yes, I had to have one of the Druid pack.) Dan is a lot of fun, and his studio is a great place to visit.
Tomorrow morning we are going back to Lamar Valley. One viewing is not enough! We hope to see the pup again, along with more of its pack.
We know there are great wolves out there, and we are determined to see them.
On Sunday, we are scheduled to go farther west and south, over to West Yellowstone and Old Faithful. A new event, however, may cause us to change plans. A fire that has been a small, non-event, has grown larger today. The weather has been unusually warm and the wind picked up this afternoon. The combination has allowed the fire to grow, causing the Park to close some roads. So Nathan and Linda will keep an eye on things. In the meantime, we are going back to the cabins tonight and have dinner at the Mammoth Lake Lodge.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Climbing up a hill, we set up scopes, prepared cameras, and scanned the Valley.
All of us had seen Lamar in nature films, but only one of the group had been here before. Linda and Nathan, of course, are experts at spotting wolves. In that expanse of sage and grass, they know exactly where to look and what to look for. Trees line the back edge, and the road creates the front boundary. In between are sections of sage and grasses. A stream meanders through it, near the road. I was amazed at its size, and I think many of the others were equally surprised.