Yellowstone National Park 2012 Trip Reports
Trip Report ~ Wolf Sightings ~
by Gerry Hogston from Scotland
24 January - 15 February 2012
~ January 2012 ~
Tuesday - 24 January
The flight from Manchester is for 12:10 and we set off at 08:15, there is a lot of traffic but no delays, I get to the gate at about 10:00 so in plenty time we are getting boarded by 11:15 and move off on time. I am not confident about making connections as the times are so tight. Right from take off it starts to look even worse, the estimated flight time goes up to 9 hours and 40 minutes meaning there will be about .25 hour to the next flight but as the flight progresses the time comes down and we eventually land on time in Atlanta. There is a long queue at immigration, there is about 20 minutes left when I get through. I find the shuttle from terminal E to A and get to the gate, there are four people left to board. I don't think there is any chance of my luggage making it.
So off to Minneapolis - Saint Paul, the flight is on time so I will have 1.5 hour to wait. The next flight is a bit late and we get to Bozeman at 23:00. I get my car a Jeep again, then go through the formality of waiting for my luggage but surprisingly it comes round, and I am off to my car. The airport has changed, the car park is at the opposite end now and not well lit, I eventually get my car and off to the hotel and into bed 00:30.
Wednesday - 25 January
I'm up at 06:00 got breakfast and sorted out clothes for the day and at 09:30 set off for the park. At around 03:30 I was woken by wind rattling the windows, it was still windy when I set off and as I passed the last turn off for Bozeman there was a road closed sign, I thought it was for Bozeman Pass but it turned out to be after Livingston. I had to get off I-90 before the Yellowstone turn off but soon got onto Highway 89 have never seen so little snow, I got to Gardiner about 11:00 and stopped at the hotel where they didn't have my room ready. I headed into the park, there was very little traffic and hardly any snow, the roads were clear. I got into Lamar and still no people about, I saw the first ones at the Institute where Rick, Laurie, Calvin and Lynette and Mark and Carol were watching the Lamar Canyons with a young bull elk that was keeping them at bay by standing on a rocky cliff where they couldn't get behind him. We are watching from behind the barn because of the strong wind from the west. The wolves gave up and bedded. We went to Old Picnic area pullout where we could see them lying on the hillside. I left at about 16:00 and went to buy food and then to my room, some of the water worked OK but not in the bathroom, it did eventually, in everything but the toilet. Everything was ready except for the things from Laurie as she only got home at the same time as I arrived, so I will get my radio and boots tomorrow, it has not been very cold so I was OK. I get set up for tomorrow, set my alarm for 06:00.
Thursday - 26 January
I get up about 06:00 and it is about 07:00 when I get into the park, I will set the alarm for 05:30. I stop at the Nature Trail but the wind is too strong to get out and I drive on stopping at Hellroaring but can't see anything so I drive on to Lamar where the wolves have now got two bull elk in a stand off at a cliff edge visible from Mid Point to the north of the road, we watch them for hours as they give up on the two elk and they bed not far away. A mangy coyote comes along and looks at the elk but he stands no chance. I go for lunch at Hitchingpost I get a call to come back as the wolves are crossing the road and going to an old carcass near the river. They spend some time chewing on various bits and rolling on the old hide. At about 14:00 they all come together when the last one crosses the road and there was a big greeting, I guess it was 06 and they all set off south and into the trees and go out of sight, it is about 17:00 and I head back to Gardiner. Luckily I get to Blacktail in daylight because the weather is atrocious with blown snow making visibility really bad, it would have been really bad at the S curves in the dark. All my water works are OK now with a new float valve fitted to the toilet.
Friday - 27 January
I wake with the alarm at 05:30 I don't stop as the snow is still blowing, the plough has been through I catch up with it at Phantom Lake and follow it to Lower Hellroaring where he lets me pass. It is the Institute again this morning Rick, Laurie, Mark and Carol are stopped by the road I go to the barn. I look where they are looking and hope I can find something, I am lucky and spot a wolf up to the northeast and have more luck spotting the rest of the pack on the hillside with a group of bull elk in a defensive circle but the wolves are bedded and not taking any notice of the elk, they soon get up and head west and into trees and I lose them. I walk down to the road and look from there. Laurie finds them heading west behind the barn, when they go out of sight I go to Coyote and wait for them and soon I spot them still heading west, they get a few bison running but soon stop and go back east and bed, then they go out if sight over a hill and we can't see them from any pullout. I go to Fisherman's but can't see them. Rick calls to come to him so I go back to Dorothy's. Rick, Laurie, Mark and Carol have walked back a couple of hundred yards west and can see the bedded wolves, I join them and we watch for an hour and they leave and I stay for another hour and then go to Hellroaring for lunch and a little look around, then back to watch the sleeping wolves for another two hours, some others have come up to watch. At 16:00 I give up and go back to my car and while talking to Laurie we get word that the wolves are on the move. Laurie goes to Fisherman's and I go to Coyote I don't expect to be able to see them from here but I do find them heading northeast, they are going high and will be out of sight soon, it is 17:00 and time to go.
I met a couple at Coyote who asked me what pack, they were English, I said I was from Scotland, originally Manchester, they were from Stretford, a part of Manchester, so I went into more detail and said Leigh, they used to live near there in Lowton Saint Mary's which has a boundary with Leigh, they lived in Sandy Lane which is about a mile from where I lived from age 8 to 34.
Saturday - 28 January
I was up early this morning, before the alarm and was on the road before 06:30, another clear windy day with icy patches on the roads. I stopped at the Nature Trail to watch the snow blowing, I drove on to Fishermans where Rick and the others were looking to the northeast Rick was going to Slough and suggested some go to Coyote. Doug and I go there. I don't expect to see anything and soon Rick calls to come over to Slough and with Mark and Carol I walk back along the road to look into the Bowl. We get into position just in time to see three of the Lamars go over a ridge to the north. Rick says to come back and go onto Dave's Hill, it's hard going and when we get there he says to keep back as we are too near to a kill and will disturb the wolves so I go back down and go to Canyon West in the hope of seeing some from there but I don't.
There is word of Blacktails so we drive over there and stop at the Nature Trail where Rick, Kirsty, Alan, Calvin and Lynette have three Blacktail wolves but I am just too late. The wind is still strong and the snow swirling and it is cold but I stand out in it looking for the wolves. Someone finds a lone black, I eventually find it and after some howling, which we can't hear but two others join both grey and they soon move off and I don't see them again. I go back to Little America and look from Aspen, Rick and Mark and Carol come up and look around. Mark and Carol go to look from Canyon West and Rick goes to Slough. Rick soon calls us to join him out on the campground road, we find three wolves near the carcass and watch them for nearly an hour until the last one leaves carrying a front leg. It looks like an elk. We go to Canyon West and find the wolves bedded on a rocky outcrop, people start to come out to where we are so we move off and go to Aspen where Carol manages to find the same spot. At about 16:30 the wolves start to move off and it is time to go west. I do some shopping and fill the car it is doing about 20 MPG.
Sunday - 29 January
Up before the alarm again, this morning there is about two inches of dry snow on the car, it brushes off easily and I am on my way by 06:30. There is not much snow over Blacktail except for the blown snow drifting across the road but as I passed North Butte the snow was about three inches deep and deeper by Tower and had not been ploughed. I drove to Slough and at the turn off the road east was ploughed, I continued to Fisherman's where Rick and Mark and Carol were sitting. Rick said go to Canyon West, we got set up there and started looking, we heard a faint howl to the north. Rick said come to Slough, we went down to Bob's Knob where we found the Lamar's heading west near the creek, they were investigating lots of smells and leaving their mark, they were in the area where the Mollies were last week. We watched them for about an hour until they went into a gully and we would not be able to see them from low ground so we went up onto Dave's Hill. We were up there over an hour, we found the wolves heading to the road, they crossed to the south and headed east to the Divide Ridge where they bedded for the rest of the day. At 15:45 they got up and headed east. I went to Dorothy's and looked for an hour, they were found by Mark up high and to the south, heading east but only seen for a few seconds, I left and headed home, there was a herd of bison in the Canyon that slowed me down though it only took 15 min to get through, the roads were now clear and little traffic, it was still windy on Blacktail.
Monday - 30 January
This morning I can hear the wind before I get outside the cabin, it is 32°F and the roads are clear until Blacktail where snow has blown across the road there is one and a half lanes so not too bad and no traffic. I get to Lamar as it comes light, I expect that the Lamar Canyon wolves might be somewhere around Amethyst, going off where we saw them last night. I stop at Dorothy's, visibility is not good but I can see along the valley at low level, there is bird activity near Hubbard Hill and a small herd of bison, someone spots a coyote with a piece of meat. We can't see the carcass from any angle, next two more coyotes come running into view chased by bison, there is no sign of wolves, there are signals but difficult to pin down. We look around north and south with no luck and then the weather changes, it starts to snow and the wind strengthens, time to get in the car, it is only about 08:00 and visibility is about 200 yards, it's going to be a long day.
I drive to confluence to see two bighorns and a golden eagle. Hellroaring Kat arrives, they had no luck to the west but she headed back that way and I went back to Trashcan and went on the hill as the visibility had improved a little and we looked for a couple of hours in the blowing snow, at about 13:00 I gave up and drove to Hitchingpost and had lunch.
The snow had stopped and back at Trashcan someone had found a grey wolf to the south, it was the alpha female 06, she headed west, stopping and howling and looking back but got no response. Visibility was now good but the wind was still strong and not much fun standing out but I came to see wolves, she went west to Hubbard Hill and then north and crossed the road and went east. She crossed back to the south and we found the rest of the pack coming out of the trees to the south. They came to the river and met up with 06 they bedded on the river near the Old Picnic Site, sheltering from the wind unlike the people watching. I left at 17:00 there was no traffic and very few bison on the road.
Tuesday - 31 January
This morning was better for weather; it was windy on Blacktail but no fresh snow. I stopped for a couple of minutes at Elk Creek, there was no wind and no sound so I drove on to Coyote where I expected to find the Lamar Canyons, Rick had no signals but I stayed with Doug we soon got word to come to Slough. We walked down the campground road following wolf tracks, the wolves seemed to be following our tracks to Bob's Knob, as we were setting up Bob found the wolves near the campground entrance. They had a bull elk trapped on the river, they soon killed it, as usual we couldn't see it, we tried from different angles Doug went up on Dave's Hill, he said the view was better from there so with Mark and Carol I went up there. We had a good view of the carcass and watched the wolves eat until about midday when we got a call from Calvin, he had four wolves on Specimen. We managed to find them, the Agates, as they headed east. We went to Dorothy's and soon found them coming down to Jasper Bench, they moved around on there and then we lost them, some time later we got word that they were near Crystal Creek, so back to Slough I got to see them going out of sight near the rocky outcrop but they soon came out to the west. One of the three crossed the road and was harassing a sick or injured bison. I left at about 17:00 and had another meeting with a sheep at the Yellowstone Bridge, a near thing as it just walked out in front of me, the wonders of ABS and an empty left lane. There was no other traffic all the way to Mammoth it looked like there would be snow on Blacktail but there was very little.
~ February 2012 ~
Wednesday - 01 February
Another clear morning, I got to Slough there was a bus parked but I got in and got ready to go up Dave's, the wolves were still at the carcass, two or three at a time others were bedded to the right. I was behind the crowd from the bus going up the hill, slowly. It was a warm sunny day, wolves came and went, a coyote got chased when it went to the carcass. I left at 16:30.
Friday - 03 February
This morning was a clear cloudless sky and -1°F. I drove on to Hellroaring, I thought the Blacktails might be in the area going off the direction they were going yesterday. It was just coming light but not enough to see anything, Kathy stopped and we heard what might have been a distant howl. Next we heard Rick had signals in Little America so we went to Slough and I went up Daves Hill to Mark and Carol but we couldn't find anything, then someone found a black wolf near nine's den site travelling on the same line that 471 took yesterday, we didn't see it for long. The Lamars were way to the north and the Blacktails were west and we couldn't find them. We went down the hill and on to Boulder but couldn't find Blacktails it was looking like it would be a one wolf day. I went to Elk Creek but found nothing and had lunch and drove to Tower at about 13:30 met up with Laurie and Rick. The plane had spotted the wolves with a carcass but they could not be seen from the road. At about 14:00 Elli arrived I had expected her on Wednesday but I got the day wrong. We went to Boulder to look and while we were there someone found the Blacktails from Petrified Tree, I went there, Elli went east to her cabin. At Petrified Tree I was just in time to see the last three wolves go out of sight behind a ridge, it looked like they would be out again in a couple of minutes but they never showed. Rick went to Hellroaring and after about half an hour he had found them, so the day ended with ten wolves. I left at 17:00 when they went out of sight going west. The road was clear with no traffic until Phantom Lake when I came to a bunch of bison, it took a few minutes to get past them.
Saturday - 04 February
Another cloudless sky this morning temp down to -10°F. I stopped at Hellroaring just in case the Blacktails were still around, it was too dark to see and there was no howling so I drove on to Lamar. Rick was calling for anyone coming into Lamar from the west, I was a long way off but I guessed that the wolves must be near the road. Rick called for Bob but he didn't reply, I found him stopped on the road west of Fisherman's, his battery was dead. They had Lamar Canyon on and near the road but they had moved off, so we could get to Fisherman's and see them go east. Next we went on to Coyote and then to Dorothy's and they came on by. Then it was Midpoint where we could see them high on the hill to the north, they came down and crossed the road to the south, if I had stopped at the Institute I would have got some good photos. The wolves headed south, going to Jasper Bench where they chased a bull elk it went into the river and the wolves gave up and went back up onto the bench where they bedded. They were to be collared today so I went and got my camera but when the helicopter came in they were too far away. At about 14:00 I went to see what they had at Boulder, it was the Agates, five of them. The helicopter came to collar Mollies who were up on Specimen, they got two. At about 16:00 I was going east to look for Lamars but at Slough I heard about wolves on the Peregrines so I went back west and did see them and decided to go west and home, so three packs again today. I just hope that the Mollies keep away from the other packs.
Sunday - 05 February
Clear sky again this morning temperature was -2°F going across Blacktial, it was -7°F when I stopped at Boulder. Kathy was there, I decided to go east, Bob was at Slough, there was no word from the east. While I was thinking of where to go, Kathy called that she had Mollies on Peregrine from east of Boulder so I went back to Boulder Pond where I found six wolves, they soon went out of sight and were found across the river but I couldn't see them so I went back to Slough, as I got there Bob said they were coming into view so I went up onto Dave's Hill where I found them down on the flat and near the Round Tree. Eventually all nineteen were seen, there were bison down there and the wolves were looking at them and getting too close to the bison and they chased the wolves. As the day went on the wolves moved up onto a snowy slope and bedded.
I left and went to Lamar and the Confluence where the Lamar Canyons had been seen but I was too late so it was back to Slough and up on the hill where the Mollies were still bedded. At about 15:00 they started to get up and a single bison got their attention they surrounded it but the bison carried on grazing between chasing a wolf when it got too close. When the bison got tired of the wolves it walked away. There had been a single wolf howling all day first to the east and later in the day to the west near the Horizontal Forest, it seemed like we should be able to see it and eventually Allan found it. While this was going on the rest of the Mollies got up and were seen running down hill after a group of bison but they got chased off by the bison. It was now 16:30 and I headed down hill and back home.
Monday - 06 February
I had a bad night's sleep, I woke at 04:30 and couldn't get back to sleep, the Internet did work better at that time. I was out at 06:10 to 3°F it was -10°F when I stopped at Coyote. I heard that Bob had something at Slough so I drove back and was first out at the Knob, six of the Mollies were out at the Lion Meadow. I thought that I had not locked my car and walked back to it and as I returned Elli was coming back with my scope. The wolves had moved west, she said go to Boulder but when we got there Doug said come back to Crystal, he had the Mollies on a carcass across the river, it's not known if they killed it or it died. I watched until about 12:30 when all the wolves had moved off leaving it to the birds.
When the Mollies left the carcass I went to Coyote to look for Agates on Specimen, after over an hour I went to Hitchingpost where Rick had the Lamars to the south across the river and upslope where they had their carcass, some were bedded above the carcass while some were down below eating and resting, as the afternoon wore on and the visibility got bad at about 15:00 I went back to Aspen where they still had the Mollies. When I got there only one black was visible and this soon got up and moved away to the east. On the carcass were three coyotes and lots of ravens and at one time I counted seven bald eagles. At one point another coyote came in all arched back and flashing teeth. Another grey wolf appeared and followed the black, this one came to a big rock with a bald eagle sitting on top, wolf looked up at eagle, eagle looked down, the wolf went behind the rock, next the wolf was on the rock and the eagle gone. At about 16:00 there was a group howl and wolves appeared all around the rock, they had big greeting pile and moved west to an open area where I counted ten, they bedded in a position overlooking the carcass with coyotes and birds eating, the wolves just looked for a long time. The coyotes could see the wolves and the wolves could see the coyotes. At about 16:45 the wolves got up and started to move. Suddenly the coyotes were off running, one black wolf that I had not seen coming down was chasing one of the coyotes, it escaped, the wolf returned to the pack and they moved off east behind a ridge. At 17:15 I left.
Tuesday - 07 February
There was a little cloud cover this morning and it was 7°F but was down to 0°F on Blacktail and -7°F in Little America. There were no people, so I drove on to Lamar and that was empty, I got to Footbridge where they had the Lamars bedded near where they were yesterday. I drove west to Coyote to look for Agates, then I heard that there was howling from the Peregrines so I went to Slough but couldn't see the wolves, they could be seen from Little America. I went to 9s den pullout and could see a black wolf, then two greys' they soon went out of sight. I went to Boulder and right away found a black on the Semi Forested Ridge, then I found a grey and others were bedded on a rocky outcrop, we watched them as more came in and bedded around the rock. The Mollies are all big wolves all with good coats, at about 14:00 they were all sleeping so I headed for Footbridge to look for Lamar's again, there was no one around and I couldn't find any so I decided to go back west. Rick was stopped at confluence and he was going up the hill, I didn't feel like going up there so carried on. But as I got to Trashcan, Rick told Laurie that he had wolves to the south so I went back to confluence where we could see 754 with a grey, they moved east and met up with another grey and we lost them, later we found them up near their carcass. At 16:00 I went back to look for Mollies, they were still on the rocks where I left them. I left at 16:30.
Wednesday - 08 February
Got to park entrance at 6:30 had to show pass, never seen pay booth open so early before. 7°F this morning but -7°F in Little America. I stopped at Crystal where Doug Dance was seeing wolves to the north and south, they were howling back and forth and a lone howl from the northeast, he had the ones to the south in sight, the were the Mollies about where I expected them to be. It seemed the pack was split, Doug found the ones to the south on Peregrine and coming down towards us, there were five, they were soon out of sight but they came back and bedded on a snowy slope. I was watching them, there were five - two black and three grey, when I suddenly realized that one was near white, it was 471 they were the Agates. I called Rick and soon the pullout was packed with cars, the Agates moved down hill and were out of sight. It looked like they were going to Slough. I next found them going uphill again where they bedded again, they kept howling and the Mollies to the south replied. The Mollies moved south up and over Specimen, the Agates were bedded for over an hour, then they got up and went downhill again looking again like they were going to Slough. This time they were out of sight longer and I found them heading up to the Mollies carcass where they sniffed around and marked the area. They headed north, this time I was certain that they were heading to Slough so I went there and onto Dave's Hill where I found them again, they came north. All morning there had been a single howler in the Slough area, it was now a distant howl but we never found it. The Agates next turned to the west and went uphill and out of sight. I went back down hill, when I got back to the car Calvin called that he had them near Mom's Ridge but I never found them. I went to the Institute where Laurie and Elli had the Lamars. It was now 16:00, they were bedded, I found out that they had collared 06 (thought to have been by mistake?). I don't really think that they should have but then other famous wolves have had collars. I watched them bedded for about half an hour and then headed home.
Thursday - 09 February
This morning it was cloudy as I came out the door, I only realised that it was snowing when I put the lights on, it was very fine temp. was 17°F. When I got to Blacktail there was a light covering and about one inch from Hellroaring onwards but it had stopped when I got to Slough. Rick had signals to the south but it started to snow and we couldn't see to the river. After about 15 minutes, visibility was good enough to search for them. After a couple more snow showers we found them near the rocky outcrop, they went east. We went to Crystal to look from there when someone found the Mollies high up on Specimen and they started down. Then we heard a howl from where the Lamars had gone, the Mollies replied and started to run down hill. I went back to Slough just in time to see them meet, then there were wolves running everywhere it looked like the Lamars were going to be killed by the bigger Mollies, they were on one wolf and when they left I thought it was dead but I couldn't find it a few minutes later, others saw it get up and move off. There were wolves howling and running all around, it looked like the Lamars were going to lose many animals but as the day wore on we found ten Lamars in the Lamar near Secret Passage. I then spent the rest of the day trying to find both packs.
Friday - 10 February
This morning there were one or two fine flakes of snow. On the way out of Mammoth the road was just dusted and at Little America it was covered but none were falling. I went to Canyon West, I couldn't find anything but heard howls from the west and a single howl from Slough. I go down to Slough and looking south from the road see two black wolves going east. I assume that they are Mollies but it turns out that they were Agates / Blacktails, they turn south and go up Specimen. It has started to snow and as they are near the top of the ridge they are almost impossible to see there is no visibility for most of the day.
The Lamar wolves are way out east, actually in Silver Gate, Elli had tracks outside her cabin. In the afternoon the injured black Lamar wolf is found at the Shale Forest it has bedded under a tree and when it tries to move we can see how difficult it is. It moves a short distance and bedded again.
I drove to Silver Gate to see if I could find the Lamar wolves; it is the first time that I have been past Soda Butte Cone. At Warm Springs I see Elli stopped. I am just in time to see two grey wolves, she saw nine. I don't see them again and so at 17:00 I head for home.
Saturday - 11 February
Woke up early after problems with computer last night. There was two inches of snow on the car, the road had been ploughed on the way out from Mammoth, the temperature was 17°F. As usual the road was not ploughed from Tower Junction. I stopped at Crystal for a few minutes, I should have stayed. I went on to Hitchingpost there was nothing the Lamars were still to the east. I went back to Coyote to look for the pup I had been there for a few minutes when I heard that the Mollies were at Crystal, I got to the bridge where traffic was stopped, I could see the wolves to the south, we drove on to Crystal and saw them for a few minutes and then had to go back to Slough, they were low down near the bottom of the Crystal Drainage they were in good view, bedded and wandering around. There were lots of noisy people around. The wolves started to go east and eventually went out of sight, I thought that they would be visible from Coyote but they never came out. We heard of a wolf at Confluence and went down there just in time to see it go out of sight, heading for the Ledge Trail. I went to Trashcan where it had come out near the fence it was a really nice wolf probably the one seen last week at Slough it went out of sight. Rick asked me to go to Crystal to watch the Mollies and to meet Laurie to find out where they were. I was there for over two hours watching sleeping wolves on the Divide Ridge at about 15:45 they got up and moved east but I never found them again. I left at 17:00.
Sunday - 12 February
This morning there was two inches of snow on the car but just beyond Mammoth it was only just covering the road and was like that all the way to Crystal. While I was looking for Mollies it started to snow, restricting visibility, there were very few people about. They must have been at Mammoth hoping wolves would come back to the carcass at the Chinese Garden, it was dark when I came through. I got a call to go to Coyote and look for Mollies on Jasper Bench. I found out that there was a dead bison by the road at Round Prairie, a front loader was on its way to move it to the Pebble Creek parking lot which was to be closed off. After about two hours of looking for Mollies the tractor went by and I decided to see if the Lamars would come to the carcass all I saw were ravens. The bison was picked up and dropped on the campground road and all cars moved out. I went back to Dorothy's to look for the Mollies. I still couldn't find them, there was a single howl on the bench followed by a faint group howl to the south. A single grey was found on the bench but it soon was out of sight. Half an hour later I found it chasing a coyote to the east on the river flat. People looking from the Institute could see two black wolves, so I went there, they soon went out of sight, so back to Dorothy's just in time to see a herd of bison running in single file up a regular trail in the snow going up a snow covered hillside, they were being chased by nine wolves, the last bison was being attacked by the wolves other bison came in to help and one wolf was tossed away but seemed not to be injured others were lucky not to be trampled. The bison got away, other people up on the hill behind Dorothy's could see more of the area and the rest of the pack had caught another bison and killed it, the nine went back downhill and out of sight and to feed.
I went back to Pebble Creek, not expecting to see anything and I was not disappointed, you had to park a long way from the entrance and walk, I didn't bother and drove back west. It looked like being an early exit, I stopped at Dorothy's with no luck. I was driving through Little America, at Boulder there were people on the hill, they seemed to be admiring the view as I drove past. I was thinking maybe I should have stopped; it's only 15:45 so I turned round and went back. They had Blacktail wolves and Agates, some of the Blacktails have been with the Agates, Big Blaze and two others but today Agate female 471 and one black were alone and the others were back with the Blacktails. After about an hour they started to howl at each other then the chase was on. The two Agates got away to the south heading for Specimen, they were all out of sight when I left at 17:15.
Monday - 13 February
Bad night's sleep got up 04:45 posted a report on Chat Page. Got out at the usual time, my first stop was at Crystal, there was one car there, he said that he had seen four wolves from the west but we couldn't see them from here, there was a loud group howl. We went back to the next pullout on the south of the road where we could see them, they were the Blacktails and they started to head south up towards Specimen. I went to Long Pullout and found them heading up hill. After having to move for the snow plough I got to see them go to the top and head south until I lost them. I went to Boulder and found them again and followed them out of sight.
I drove to Dorothy's, there was nothing to see without going up the hill, so I drove west to look for Blacktails on Specimen, at Elk Creek, I couldn't find them but I saw Rick at the next pullout. He moved to Floating Island so I went there, he had the Blacktails way out on Specimen, they were mouse size. Rick put on his snowshoes and went up onto the higher ground through the snow. Laurie came up and I showed them where to look, they had been watching the other half of the Blacktail Pack from Hellroaring, they had a carcass down in Hellroaring Creek. After watching the wolf dots for an hour I left Laurie and Pauline and went to Hellroaring, they gave me directions and I found four sleeping greys but they were a reasonable size. I had not been there long when a heavy snow shower came in and I couldn't see anything. I went to Tower and had lunch, it had stopped snowing there but it was still all around. I had to decide if it was worth going east, I went back to Hellroaring. The four were out of sight but I found a black going to the carcass where it met up with the grey with the rat tail. After about an hour more snow came in, so I gave up, it was only 15:45 but it was snowing heavier in Mammoth so I got home early. I should have gone back east, the Mollies chased the Blacktails down off Specimen.
Tuesday - 14 February
The last full day and a better night's sleep, I was out at 06:15 and for the first time I had to scrape ice, There was nothing on the road all the way to Little America, it was snowing and visibility was bad. Bob was stopped at 9s den pullout, he had his camera set, he came over to tell me what was going on before he could say anything a loud howl came from nearby to the south and I could see Big Blaze alone on a knoll howling pitifully, my first thought was the Mollies had attacked the Blacktails in the night. Bob moved his car so I could get in the pullout. There was a grey wolf also to the south, after about half an hour there was a loud group howl from the south and we saw the Mollies coming north, heading towards Big Blaze, since the howl he had become quieter, he and the grey came together and headed west and were seen crossing Buffalo Ford. The Mollies were hard to see with the snow, they stopped due to the busy road and went back southeast. I went to Long Pullout and could see them bedded under trees, we watched them all day and at about 15:00 they started to move west again and were strung out along the valley. One of them came towards us and crossed the road east of us, no other wolf followed, they sat and howled, later the wanderer returned and the rest of the pack returned to the place they were they had originally bedded, had a rally and moved off. Next we found them up near the Petrified trees going up onto Specimen.
Rick had all the Blacktails at Hellroaring so they had escaped the Mollies. At 17:30 I went to Hellroaring and got to see Big Blaze and the rest of the pack.
Wednesday - 15 February
The last drive into the park, all my things are packed and ready for me to pick up at about 13:00. The sky is clear this morning and it is colder at 7°F. I get to Boulder where Bob has a grey not far away but it soon goes out of sight. Someone comes up and says that they had seen a black cross the road to the north, we find two greys heading for the road, they cross to the south and we lose them. After a couple of hours and some howling they come back to the north side of the road. Next we find 471 and the black female heading north and they go behind the rolling hills soon after I hear barking and snarling and a squeal, then all goes quiet. Some time later the two are spotted just east of Junction Butte heading for the road. Number 471 is on the road and then the female is trotting down the road towards Boulder, traffic is not too bad and there is not much problem, the black comes right up to the Boulder pullout, so a photo opportunity. They bed not far away and are looking north where we find Big Blaze bedded, looking towards them. Other Blacktails have crossed the river and are bedded on Mom's Ridge. 471 moves east and goes to a favourite Bedding spot, a large flat rock near the exclosure fence and soon the black female joins her. It is now 13:00 and time to leave, I say goodbye to Laurie, Pauline, Kirsty, Alan and Rick and head for Gardiner where I clear the cabin and return the key and make reservations for next year.
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