Yellowstone Up Close and Personal
30 December 2009 Trip Report
~ December 2009 ~
Wednesday - 30 December 2009
We started at Elk Creek again today but this time we did not find wolves.
So, we moved on to Little America where Bob had spotted the three Agates bedded up high on Specimen Ridge. We watched them from Boulder. They were lovely and we got several good looks at 472F, daughter of 21M & 42F, and a favorite of ours. Alpha male Big Blaze reminds us of his handsome uncle 302M. When gray 715F stood up to re-bed at one point we could see her shortened tail.
We knew there were signals for the Lava Creeks AND Druids in the neighborhood so we looked and looked. Just when we were beginning to talk about moving elsewhere, we heard a report of wolves on the low slope of Junction Butte - the Druids were heading to the carcass!
We moved to the big lot (Specimen Ridge trailhead) and watched from there. Most people stayed in the lot but a few could not resist the urge to "get closer". This contributed to the wolves nervousness so close to the road, and they did not stay long. In fact, some did not go to the carcass at all.
We had seven Druids in all, 6 black and one gray. (New Black, White Line, Thin Female, 690, Female Yearling and Dull Bar, as well as gray 691.
They then trekked up the hill and stood picturesquely at the skyline for a while, before bedding on the southern end of the Butte. By this time someone had found the Lava Creek pack - who were bedded on the far northern side of the same Butte! We heard that they had eaten last night at their kill.
It was never clear whether either pack was aware of the other.
Around 1:00 PM the Druids began to head downhill for another bite to eat. Most of them grabbed chunks of meat, moved half-way up the hill and ate behind some big boulders. 691 had a particularly large piece, perhaps a leg, and she flashed her teeth at two of her pack mates who got presumptuous.
Eventually they headed back up the hill and bedded - this time under the big trees at the top. Many people got to see wolves today because of this close sighting. Around 4:00 PM a black came back down for another helping, then at about 4:30 PM a third (this wolf had some feathery fur and a tuft on her tail). Then about 4:40 PM four more blacks came down. I never saw 691 but the light was dim and she would have been very hard to see.
The full moon rose in the east and lit up the snow for my drive home. It was nice to see the Druid get a good meal.
Tomorrow is my last full day.... Waaaaaaa!
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by John William Uhler
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