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Yellowstone Up Close and Personal

02 - 04 October 2008 Trip Report

Bear and Wolf Sightings ~ Trip Report ~ by Bill Hamblin

Thursday - October 2nd

A little slow at work so took a Friday off. I didn't get out of work until after 5:00 p.m. so it got dark about Norris on the way in. I spent the night outside of Gardiner. I didn't sleep too good, and in the morning it was 55 degrees. I think it was too warm with the sleeping bag and too cold without it.

Friday - October 3rd

Only one wolf in the valley this morning, a black wolf in the Slough bottoms (I missed it). Later they had a grizzly in Crystal drainage, but after a while we decided it was a black bear. I spent the night outside of Silver Gate. It started raining about 4:00 p.m. but was still around 39 degrees.

Saturday - October 4th

I was at Coyote Overlook before daylight when Jan and Bill pulled in to tell me about a carcass at Alum Creek in Hayden Valley. It had two grizzlies and five wolves on it on Friday. I headed for Hayden. I arrived to find Anne W., John and Pauline from the Netherlands watching the tops of 2-3 grizzlies about a mile back in Alum Creek. Five wolves had left the carcass area just before daylight and crossed the road to the east. Later I found a large grizzly from Grizzly Overlook, it was heading for the road but I think it held up in the trees wishing to cross the road towards the carcass after dark. A large dark grizzly had the carcass but a much smaller collared grizzly was sharing the carcass. Twice they went at it, growling that could be heard almost back to the highway, but the smaller one held one end of the carcass. There was another small grizzly nearby, who would come over and look down into the carcass area from about 50 yards. I surmised that this could be a yearling cub of the collared grizzly, but not sure. Meanwhile another grizzly, a sow with one dark yearling cub, visited, but moved away into the tree line. They would re-appear every once in a while, coming out from the tree line, but waiting for the other grizzlies to leave. Meanwhile the Canyon Pack (formerly Hayden 2) was located across the river to the east. One photography walked out and after being spotted, got himself a $125.00 fine (he actually got about 20-25 paces from the wolves), and they moved and re-bedded twice. These wolves had been getting really comfortable around people, towards evening they moved across the river back to the west - they used the road at Artist Point and crossed the bridge there. Anne W. said the original Hayden Pack use to do the same thing. The weather was taking a down turn, predicting a little snow, so I headed for home Saturday night. Four wolves and six grizzlies for the day isn't bad for October.

Other news: Most the park is shutting down now, only four campgrounds open now: Mammoth, Madison, Lewis Lake and Slough Creek. Only the gas station and store open at Mammoth, nothing open at Tower now. Rick M. did get skunked earlier in the week, that's only happened two or three times in the last 8 years or so.

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