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Yellowstone Up Close and Personal

13 - 16 August 2009 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 - 13 August 2009

I left work about 4:30 p.m. and despite a half hour wait at the Madison/Norris road construction, I got to Antelope Creek around 8:00 p.m. No bears, but ran into Luke and Mayleea from Utah and Gayle and his boy Brent also from Utah. I spent the night in Silver Gate.

Friday - 14 August 2009

Around 7:00 a.m. I found a grizzly sow with one cub of the year (coy) behind Salad Bowl viewed from Coyote Overlook. Since that clearing is best viewed from the Slough Creek bathroom I headed there. Couldn't find them, so back to Coyote (yep, still there). Back to Slough with a stop at Narrows West, could see them there and then finally from Slough Creek. Rick hadn't any Druid's in Lamar going thru in the morning. At 8:30 a.m. four blacks and a collared gray 691F were straight south of Dorothy's Knoll and this side of the river. Towards evening I found a grizzly high in Salad Bowl. I found a campsite in Tower earlier in the day. Nights cool 30's to low 40's except Sunday a.m. 28 out in the valley. The highs were 70's on Friday and 60's Saturday and Sunday, with cloud cover - great weather for animal watching.

Saturday - 15 August 2009

At 6:35 a.m. I spotted a grizzly just behind ski slope. At 7:00 a.m. I found four black pups and a collared gray wolf viewed from the first pullout down Slough Creek. The Cottonwood pack has moved their rendezvous area to what we call Junction Pass. From the first pullout down Slough its way across the bottoms and above and up hill from the large island of aspens and conifers. The nice thing is that area can be viewed from Boulder Pullout all the way to Narrows West (about 3 miles). Looking south about 7:30 a.m. I caught a black bear sow with two coy's crossing the high middle meadow in Crystal Drainage (a large clearing and they were moving). At 8:20 a.m. Doug (not Doug M) called about a grizzly high above Norris Mountain. It was in the clearing two over from Penny Lane. I watched for a while and left, then they called again saying now two bears in the clearing. The light at that time is quite bad, but I did watch them again in the evening in the same clearing. It was a grizzly sow with one very independent yearling cub. Boy he was getting a long ways away from mom. Heading in for a nap and lunch, a bear jam just up hill from Roosevelt, the black sow with two coy's crossing the road. At 3:00 p.m. joined a bear jam, young grizzly just below Mae West, had been out for over an hour, and around dark was still creating a jam down by T-58.

Old Faithful Eruption and Buffalo by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved
At 4:35 p.m. I found the lone gray mangy wolf south of Mid Point. Now it's got a big time limp, but looked in good shape except for the mange. At 5:45 p.m. while watching the grizzly sow with yearling from Footbridge Pullout, some one noticed a badger and a buck pronghorn antelope just across the river. I thought they were going to go at it. The buck tried to gore the badger, and the badger threw up a lot of dirt in the standoff. At 6:30 p.m. I found a large dark grizzly high in Salad Bowl. On the way back to Tower Campground I had the fox cross the road at Rainy Lake, so got my THREE DOG DAY in.

Sunday - 16 August 2009

At 6:30 a.m. the Druids (10 of 14) were back in Lamar. Moving west from the Picnic Area were in view for over an hour. At 8:00 a.m. I found only one black pup of Cottonwood at Junction Pass. And at 8:45 a.m. the grizzly at Antelope Creek had the Ranger stopping traffic, it was on the road just uphill from the Rock Pullout.

Other News

Still green almost everywhere. Actually looks like mid June, except the grass is higher. The Druid pups still haven't been seen since July 5th or 6th, but the wolf people still think everything is ok, and they are up high yet. Time should tell, they usually return to the Lamar in late August. Still watching wolves from the Grizzly Overlook in Hayden (once in a while) and from South Butte if you walk up there for the Blacktail pups and adults. The road closed Monday August 17th between Madison and Norris for the year to replace the bridge. I hear that next year will be construction in the same area, but no season closures. This weekend was really crowded, with free entrance and the President visiting Old Faithful on Saturday.

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