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Yellowstone Up Close and Personal

05 - 07 June 2009 Trip Report

Trip Report ~ by Bill Hamblin

Wolves near Canyon by John William Uhler © Copyright All Rights Reserved

~ June 2009 ~

Mount Haynes by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved

Friday - 05 June 2009

I got out of work at noon and made good time to Yellowstone. I checked out Hayden Valley but no wolves or bears. On to Lamar where a black wolf was running for its life south of Footbridge chased by two coyotes. Ralph found a courting pair of grizzlies on Coffee Ridge (south and behind Norris Mountain/Cache Creek). Ran into Wayne and Mary Ann at the Institute and had the grizzly sow with one cub of the year (coy) in "bear meadow", way south of the institute. Another grizzly came out of the tree line around midpoint and headed to the east about 7:30 PM. Camping in Tower Campground site # 16 for the weekend. The guy in #15 told Ralph that a small colorful grizzly walked just behind Ralph's tent about 7:00 PM. That's only the second time I have heard of a grizzly in the Tower Campground. The whole weekend was suppose to be rainy. Friday and Saturday were cloud covered, with good spotting light, and Sunday was white (snow, about 1 inch off road, but the roads were clear until Swan Lake Flats to Madison that were slushy).

Saturday - 06 June 2009

It was briefly clear before daylight but then clouded up for the rest of the day. Warm, about 40 in the morning and high about 55. About 6:00 AM I missed the small blond grizzly on Penny Lane but found a small grizzly on Norris Mountain (might be the two small grizzlies we had around last year in that area). Strange year, no sightings at all on K Meadow and the fingers of Norris (always a good place for family groups in the spring). Ralph found the grizzly with a cub in the "bear meadow", but it turned out to be the grizzly sow with the yearling (apparently the grizzly with the coy and the grizzly with the yearling changed places during the night - the grizzly with the coy showed up in the middle divide clearing south of Crystal later this morning). Around 8:20 AM I found a grizzly on a carcass at Junction Pass - high and west of Slough Creek above the big conifer/quakie island west of Slough Creek.

Old Faithful Eruption and Buffalo by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved

There was an adult elk carcass, and soon one black wolf and then another and a gray showed up after the grizzly left (Cottonwood Pack according to Rick). I spotted a grizzly high above the Tower Ranger Station from Slough, brief and long sighting. At 10:45 AM I found a black bear in Crystal. At 11:00 AM Mike from Bozeman showed me a grizzly sow with one coy above the Slough Campground (Ralph thinks this was the grizzly with two coy's earlier in the year from Hellroaring Overlook. At 3:00 PM I spotted the regular black bear at Rainy Lake. A side note, "Rosie" or 'Sarah", the red ear tagged black bear around Tower hasn't been seen all year? At 4:00 PM I watched a black bear in Crystal and then noticed she had a cinnamon coy (Ralph and I swear we have seen this bear for a few weeks, never noticed the coy). At 4:15 PM a nice cinnamon black bear east of Crystal Drainage. At 6:15 PM I found a black wolf south of the confluence. Ended the evening early as the storms moved in and visible dropped. The nice 55 degrees was down to 41 in Lamar by 8:00 PM and they closed Dunraven Pass about that time (I heard on the scanner that it was snowing pretty good up there).

Sunday - 07 June 2009

The snow sticking in some ground areas in the campsite, but the roads were bare, around 31 this AM. Only had a black wolf in the road and then walking down the road between Midpoint and the old Lamar Picnic area this morning. There has been a courting pair of grizzlies in Elk Creek most of the weekend (about 800 yards out), well this morning they were across from the Tower Ranger Station. I did have a fox on Rainy Lake, plus the wolf and a coyote at Blacktail Ponds, so made it a Three Dog Day.

Other News

They put new gas pumbs in the Tower Gas Station and it has card access now - can fill up 24 hours a day with a credit card (Mammoth has done the same earlier in the year). The osprey at Lamar Canyon West has rebuilt a nest in another tree, but I fear it might be too late in the year. The lambs at Calcite are getting bigger already. The sandhill crane on nest at Floating Island Lake. The bald eagles are on the nest south of Coyote Overlook. And bald eagles are on the nest between Madison and West Yellowstone. High in Yellowstone today was expected to be in the low 40's. Three of the four Agates were spotted at Antelope Creek Saturday by Calvin and Lynette.

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