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Yellowstone Up Close and Personal

06 - 09 August 2009 Trip Report

Trip Report ~ by Bill Hamblin

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

~ August 2009 ~

Black bear cubs by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved

Thursday - 06 August 2009

It was slow at work so took a vacation day for Friday. I left work just before 5:00 p.m. and made Hayden Valley just after 8:00 p.m. Two gray adult wolves and the black puppy were visible from the Grizzly Overlook in Hayden, the last 15-20 minutes before dark. Cool for the weekend. Lows in the high 30's and low 40's, highs only in the 60's. Spend Thursday night in Silver Gate.

Friday - 07 August 2009

I found a black wolf on the west end of Jasper about 6:15 a.m. Then I found the grizzly sow with one cub of the year (coy) in the clearing just to the east of A-Z meadow (boy those grizzlies move a lot - about 500 yards since two weekends ago). Later two separate black wolves showed up across from Fisherman's pullout, nice viewing, one came down for a drink in the Lamar River (both Druid's according to Rick, and the one I located earlier was not a Druid (unknown one). A small grizzly out briefly on Ski Slope around 8:00 a.m. At 8:30 a.m. Rick located a Cottonwood gray in the Slough Creek bottoms (later he found a few more, but I didn't see them). It appears that the Cottonwoods really like Slough Creek lately, Rick reminded me that two of the seven are old Slough Creek Pack wolves. In fact Carl saw a couple of pups from Little America earlier in the week. At 2:30 p.m. a black bear sow with two coy's crossed the road between Roosevelt and Rainy Lake, quite the bear jam. The storms moved in about 6:00 p.m. so decided to finish the day up at Washburn. Another black bear jam at Calcite, a single, on the way up the hill. The storms moved in up there too. Gayle and Brent from Utah told me of a grizzly visible on Dunraven Pass, so I headed up there. It was just above the new bathroom pullout on the Canyon side of the pass. It was 300-400 yards out there grazing, nice viewing. Returning to Antelope Creek, the weather clearing and had a collared dark grizzly crossing the lower end of Honeymoon clearing. I found a campsite at Tower Campground for Friday and Saturday night, with the cool weather, nice and quiet and great sleeping.

Saturday - 08 August 2009

It was foggy in the valley to almost 8:00 a.m. I found a small grizzly high in Salad Bowl before 8:00 a.m. in a hole in the fog. Next I spotted the grizzly sow with one coy way back in Bear Clearing, way back behind the bowl, but nice viewing from Dorothy's Knoll. I missed a grizzly crossing the road near Aspen Pullout on my way in for lunch and a nap. On the way out, the black sow with two coy's were roadside at Calcite Curve. At 2:30 p.m. the grizzly that crossed the road was still out on the bottom of Specimen Ridge. It slowly moved up to near the ski line, in fact two groups of hikers crossed like 15 yards above it, neither party noticed the bear nor did the bear notice the hikers (quite windy from the west, I guess). From 4:30 p.m. to about 8:00 p.m. had three different black wolves on Jasper Bench. All separate, all mousing. At 5:15 p.m. I found a grizzly across from the Institute in the high grass. It eventually crossed the river and was in good view on the north side of the Lamar. At 6:30 p.m. found another grizzly sow with one coy, this one high and east of the Amethyst Drainage, two clearings behind ski slope.

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

Sunday - 09 August 2009

I was at Dorothy's Knoll before daylight, but missed a grizzly in the bottoms. It was the one from last night, and between Dorothy's and Coyote Overlook and closer to the road than the river. Nice viewing and it moved east heading towards the Institute when I left. Next I spotted a small grizzly south of Picnic Area about 6:45 a.m. The black bear sow with two coy's was across from Calcite Parking lot on the way out.

Other News

The Blacktail Pack is the most consistent pack being watched now, but you have to walk up South Butte to see them (Friday they were seeing all 6 pups, and Saturday all seven adults and six pups were seen). The Canyon Group being seen from Grizzly Overlook, still with the one black pup. The adults have been far and wide lately, someone saw them way over near Obsidian Cliff one day. The Cottonwoods have been seen every day or so in Sough Creek now. The Druids, except for 2-4 visiting Jasper Bench, unseen except for the plane, and still no pups sighted (plane has only flown three times, locating the adults once, and only signals in thick cover the other two times). Still unbelievable green everywhere. Grass is higher then every. The bison rut is nearing an end now. Lots of people and everything is full every night yet.

Raven by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved

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