Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hayden Valley and the Canyon Pack

We stopped at Hayden Valley a number of times, and some of the group hiked into it one afternoon.  It is one of my favorite spots.  For scenic beauty, I think it out shines Lamar.  This photo shows the Yellowstone River meandering through it.  Canadian Geese and ducks were always swimming there.  Nathan said it is usually a good place to find bears, but we didn´t see any.

Wolves were what we wanted to see, and the viewing at Hayden was the best.   The Canyon Pack lives here, and one morning we saw a beautiful grey female and a black pup.  We heard the wolves before we saw them.  A distinctive howl floated through the still morning air.  I had been hoping to hear a howl.  When we were at Lamar, I could see that pup howling, but I couldn´t hear him because of the distance and the wind.  Finally I had heard a wolf!

The wolves were on a hillside that would be on the far right, if the picture extended that far.   We were able to watch them through the scopes, but also through the binoculars.  This pup was very healthy looking, and the adult was beautiful. 

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!    

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