Yellowstone Up Close and Personal Logo © Copyright Page Makers, LLC
Yellowstone Up Close and Personal Grizzly Logo © Copyright Page Makers, LLC

Trip Report ~ Bear & Wolf Sightings ~ by Gerry Hogston

09 - 30 May 2012

Yellowstone Wolf taken by Gerry Hogston - Spring 2012 © Copyright All Rights Reserved

~ May 2012 ~

Yellowstone Grizzly Bear taken by Gerry Hogston - Spring 2012 © Copyright All Rights Reserved

Wednesday - 09 May

My flight plan has changed, Travelocity informed me of new times, there is a connection time in London Heathrow of one hour. The schedule shown on the United site is still the original. After wondering and worrying about my flight times I phone United to check, the woman there says I don't stand much chance of making the connection at Heathrow and sorts out a better plan, so I was lucky to phone. The flight is now direct to Washington Dulles International then to O'Hare International Airport and into Bozeman, Montana an hour earlier.

We set off at 08:15 and get to the airport with no delays, after check in I have 3 hour wait and we get off on time and are on time into Washington Dulles International there is only two hours here to get through immigration but I do make it to the next flight and on to Chicago, that is on time and I get into Bozeman at 22:00 and go to get my car. This time I am lucky and get what I want, a Subaru Forester, so when I find it I am off to LaQuinta and into my room and in bed before midnight.

Thursday - 10 May

The alarm is set for 07:00 but as I expect I am up before it goes off, I get my things ready and I'm ready to go at about 09:00. I open the curtains and find snow falling, it's not sticking, I get the car loaded in wet falling snow, as I start off the window steams up and the defroster doesn't clear it very quick, the snow by now was heavy and covered the road signs, I missed the road east to I-90 so I drove on to go on the other road but at Bozeman I missed the entrance to I-90 I get to the next entrance and make a mistake I can't see the sign for snow so end up going back to Belgrade, the road is clear but the signs are covered.

I finally arrive in Gardiner at about 12:00, do my shopping and set off for the park, there is no traffic on the roads nor any animals or people. I drive on, there is no one about. I carry on to Silver Gate and get into my cabin, it looks good, one single room, one disappointment there is no microwave, I ask Doug if he can get one. I unload my stuff and unpack.

At about 17:30 I ready to go out, I have not seen Elli but as I drive out I see what I think must be her cabin with a car outside, I stop but don't like to go up to the door, it might not be her. I get to Hitching Post and not long after Elli arrives, she had seen my car but didn't know it was me. We hear that there are wolves at Crystal Creek so head over there, there are some Mollies in sight but we soon lose them, after a while of looking a single black wolf is found it seems to be aimlessly wandering and at one time chases an elk but doesn't catch it. It is now about 20:30 so I pack up and head for home, a quiet drive, no traffic. There is a microwave waiting for me. The Internet doesn't work in the cabin.

Friday - 11 May

Yellowstone Golden Eagle taken by Gerry Hogston - Spring 2012 © Copyright All Rights Reserved

I have the alarm set for 05:30 but wake up before it goes off and I'm at Foot Bridge at about 06:15, there is no one around, I drive on to Trashcan and look across the river and right away see wolves coming east along the valley, they are Mollies. Some of the Lamar Canyons are near a carcass on which a bear is feeding, they see the approaching Mollies and take off for home. I go back east and climb the hill at confluence, the Mollies come over to the carcass but the bear ignores them and they wander around smelling where the Lamars have been and then go back to the bear who still ignores them and they move off to the south and go into the trees. Later we find a black wolf not far from the bear, it gets up and goes nearer to the bear and another black wolf gets up and they both try to get bits to eat but soon move off in the direction of the main pack.

Next we find two Lamar Canyons have come back, it is 06 and a black wolf, they are bedded looking towards the bear, after a while the two Mollies head back to the carcass, they see the other two and charge at them, 06 goes one way and the other in a different direction. 06 comes towards us on the hill at full gallop with the other two in pursuit, she dives into the river at full gallop, the two Mollies stop, she is carried down stream a ways and comes out right in front of us and goes east and crosses the road.

I say good-bye to Elli and go to the cabin for tea and try to get an Internet connection but can't. I go out again at 18:00 and stop at Foot Bridge, Rick comes up and says the Lamars are near the den, he goes west but soon returns and finds 06, 755, 754 and another grey on the hill near the den site, they are hard to see and they soon move off to the west. We go to Hitching Post but it is almost impossible to see anything because of the low sun. I go to Trashcan but they never appear but the two lone Mollies do, heading east to the carcass, the bear has gone so they are able to try to get something, it just looks like hide. At about 20:15 I head for home a clear run no traffic.

Saturday - 12 May

I'm on my way again at 06:00. I stop at Hitching Post expecting that the Lamars might have come this way but there is no sign. Mark and Carol have arrived and they are up on Confluence Hill, I can see nothing from low level and they are not seeing anything from higher up. I drive round to join them, going up the easy side of the hill, I am up there for a couple of hours but see nothing and come down and go west. I hear that Calvin has 838s group near Tower Falls so I drive out there. The visibility is bad with heat waves but I see the four wolves a long way off but soon two hikers frighten the wolves off. I go to Elk Creek to look from there but no luck.

Allan and Kirsty, Calvin and Lynnette, Sian and Mother and I go for a hike to Lost Lake where someone had heard a wolf howling a little earlier. We find Lost Lake but no howling wolf although we do find a dead Great Horned Owl. After the walk I head east to Wrecker to eat my lunch, as I'm about to leave; Sian calls that there is a bear at Junction Butte but as I get moving Calvin calls Sian that he has her lens cap and to meet at Dorothy' so I go to Dorothy's where we have 838s group of four, they come down to the river and bed. Signals for Mollies are in the area but we don't find them, it's been a long day so I go in at 17:00 too late to come out again.

Sunday - 13 May

Yellowstone Wolf taken by Gerry Hogston - Spring 2012 © Copyright All Rights Reserved

I wake just before the alarm and am out again by 06:00. I see Mark and Carol are up on the hill again, I drive round to the Geriatric side and go up, we have a single black wolf, it had been chasing an elk but missed it, when I got there it was out of sight, after a while I found it heading towards the road, I didn't see it cross but others did.

We came down and went west to look for Mollies whose signals were strong south of Dorothy's. Someone spots them near the Amethyst Drainage going south so I go to the Barn, I can't find them but Doug, who is high on a hill to the northeast can see them, we eventually do and from the direction they are going decide to go to Mid Point where Allan finds them coming down hill to the Small Alluvial Fan and right at the point they have a carcass, they must have killed it earlier as they seemed to go right to it and it was fresh. They had a good feed, all 13 of them so it must have been a fair size, probably an elk. After a couple of hours they all went up hill out of sight.

We got word that five wolves had crossed the road in Soda Butte Valley, I drove round there to Mid Point but the wolves had just gone out of sight, I looked for some time but could not find them, they were heading west so I went to Foot Bridge. Someone had already found them as they passed below the old way up to Dead Puppy Hill, I watched them go up the Cache Creek trail but they turned west going towards an old bison carcass.

I went up Confluence Hill to watch them come around, it didn't seem worthwhile five wolves going to that but they did and seemed to get something to eat when a group of about ten bison let them. I left at about 15:00 and went for tea, coming out again at about 18:00 and going to Tower Junction for fuel.

This evening at around 7:00 pm I got to Mid Point, all 14 Mollies were bedded on the small alluvial fan below the carcass they had been feeding on, they all looked full. At about 7:45 pm they all got up and had a group howl, a great sound across the valley then they all came together in a big pile with tails waving. One of the greys has an injured right hind leg and is putting very little weight on it. By 8:00 pm they were all bedded again and I left at 8:30 pm.

Monday - 14 May

Yellowstone Yellow-bellied Marmot taken by Gerry Hogston - Spring 2012 © Copyright All Rights Reserved

Another day starting off with not a cloud in the sky, below freezing but soon warming up. I get all the way to Dorothy's before I find people and wolves, Mollies, they are trying to get a bison calf out towards the Divide Ridge, there is a herd of about 15 bison and one calf, the wolves have a good try but the bison keep them at bay and the wolves give up.

The wolves have a group howl and get together then start to move off in all directions, some start up the ridge and the rest follow. I move to Slough and start to look, after about 20 minutes one is spotted coming over, there are lots of bison on this side and the pack start to harass them but they get chased and split up, then after a while they start on another group of bison and get chased. We see them go uphill and out of sight. Then we see a lone bison being chased by the wolves, there only seems to be one bison and all the wolves after it and suddenly in a small space we can see between trees all the wolves are on something, just a heap of bodies and waving tails. It must be a calf because it only lasts for about 10 minutes. The wolves pull pieces off and move away, they seem to be going east over the ridge again so I go to Coyote but never find them in half an hour of looking, they may have bedded on top, it is getting very warm.

I have heard that Dunraven is open but when I get to Tower it is not. Mark and Carol are there getting ready to walk up with the dogs, I don't really want to go there's nothing else going on so I go. It was a long hot walk to the Gut Pile Road, nice walk really 'but' we get back at 14:00 and I drive back to the cabin via Cooke City.

I went out again after 18:00 and I started off with the lone baby bison near Foot Bridge and whilst watching that a woman stopped by and said there was a wolf coming west along the Soda Butte Creek, after about half an hour 754 came along and crossed the road. I left and went to Dorothy's to look for Mollies at about 20:00 they started to appear low on Jasper Bench, there were hundreds of bison and calves on the bench but the wolves just wandered around, I counted eight and they bedded. After a while a group of about eight elk came along right towards the wolves, when they saw the wolves they turned and ran to the back of the bench with the wolves in pursuit. The elk found a rock outcrop and got on top of that facing out, the wolves surrounded them but couldn't get them to break, in one attack a wolf appeared to get a kick. This lasted for about 45 minutes and the wolves lost interest and as it was getting dark the elk started to move off, I think the wolves went down the back of the bench to the south.

After I left the baby bison a wolf crossed the road and found it and started to attack it, there was one lone female bison to the north of the road, I had seen this before I left, it seemed to have no interest in the calf but when it heard the squeal of the calf it crossed the road and attacked the wolf chasing it off and was reunited with its calf, just why they were separated I have no idea.

Tuesday - 15 May

Day six, the alarm wakes me for the first time, I think I will set it for 05:00. Things seem to have happened when I get out. I get to Dorothy's before I find people, as I expected, the Mollies are bedded in front of where I left them last night, they looked like they had fed so maybe they got an elk last night. By about 10:00 they were out of sight, either moved away or bedded in the deep sage.

After watching the Mollies we heard that Lamar Canyons had crossed the road south. I went to Confluence hill the easy way aka geriatric, 832F was on the bison hide, ripping out mouthfuls of hair and finding something to chew. When she had finished and started away I expected her to go back to the den via 21s crossing but she didn't she went west. I thought she went east of Trashcan and crossed to go on the Ledge Trail. She was looking north as she went but there were people and cars, she continued west, past Picnic, past Mid Point. She continued to a spot opposite Hubbard Hill where she went into the river and started back east right to where we were watching at Mid Point, she splashed through a small pool and up onto the road and crossed 15 yards from us with no problems from people or cars. This evening I stopped at Foot Bridge, Sian told me about 832 chasing and killing an elk in Soda Butte Creek. We went round to Hitching Post and walked out to the creek at a point far enough away from the carcass that we had a good view and not disturb the wolves. Over the next two hours two grey, one with collar and one black wolf were at the carcass in the creek. In the three hours since the kill a lot of meat was gone.

Wednesday - 16 May

Yellowstone Moose taken by Gerry Hogston - Spring 2012 © Copyright All Rights Reserved

Alarm set half hour earlier this morning. I was at Hitching Post at 06:30 and so were the wolves, there were three at the carcass site but no carcass, what I expected last night came to pass, the carcass floated down stream. After 832 went to the den we started to look around and Kathi found a dark grey on the old bank but we soon lost it and while looking for it along the creek Carol found the carcass against a bank, only magpies had found it.

I went west to Little America before I found anyone; there they had Mollies with another bison calf. The wolves had gone into trees and I could only see them occasionally, they were bedded or walking between the trees. I left about 12:30 and went to Swan Lake but didn't see the bear but I did see a grizzly with two cubs on the side of Junction Butte. After shopping on the way home I saw a nice grizzly close to the road near Ice Box.

Went out this evening to go to Trout Lake with Mark and Carol, Kathi and others, there was no sign of life up there except for one osprey. Then we went to Hitching Post and there was no sign of life there. I came in at 20:00.

Thursday - 17 May

Another day, I was out at the usual time and went right to Hitching Post, the regulars were out by the river but Doug was at the corner of the lot, he said he could see the carcass from there. 755 was eating and pulling at the carcass, he was really heaving on it and pulled it more out of the water so there is now less chance of it floating away again, he was there for three-quarters of an hour and then left heading south, I watched him along the creek bank when he suddenly looked up and changed direction as if he had seen something. We found him again going east on top of the bank and followed him as far as I could. I moved to Foot Bridge and watched him coming round, he turned north to the creek and crossed and headed for the road, there were no people to worry him but just as he got on the road a car came around the curve and he passed right in front, too close.

We got word of Mollies coming east along the valley so we moved to Confluence and found them, they were near the trees and went in there and a group of elk came running out chased by the wolves soon we had elk running everywhere, chased by two or three wolves. One chase to the east by two wolves looked like the elk was going to be caught but it outran the wolves who stopped and turned back, the other elk being chased managed get away from the wolves. With the elk scattered the wolves started to go up into the trees going south.

We moved to Mid Point where there were four more Mollies, two greys and two black, they must have missed the pack moving out, two were bedded and two were moving around. They howled but we could hear no reply, they eventually moved west.

There was word of a carcass in Hayden Valley, a long way, Kathi asked me if I wanted to go with her which I did, it was a nice drive and makes a change being able to look around and not have too drive and we did get to see three Canyon wolves, at long distance and one close up as it went to the den. At 14:30 we came back to Lamar to look for Mollies or Lamars, no Mollies but we did see 754 (I think) but it started to rain and blow so I gave up and went in at 18:00.

Friday - 18 May

Yellowstone Wolf taken by Gerry Hogston - Spring 2012 © Copyright All Rights Reserved

The weather has changed, this morning when I get up it is dark and raining, I'm on the road at 05:30 but it is still not fully light. There is no one until Dorothy's, there they have a black wolf east of Jasper Bench, it goes up onto the bench and across and over the back, it was soon followed by four more, Big Blaze (838) another black and two greys, they followed the single black over the bench.

We found six Mollies in the valley to the east, I went to Confluence hill and watched them look around the bison herds, there were calves but the wolves didn't try, they got to the river and turned south too everyone's relief. We next heard that there were wolves in Little America, it was 838's group but only three now one grey pup was not there nor the black, they were near the construction site looking like they wanted to cross the road. I went to Coyote to look for Mollies but Sian called that she had 838 on the move to the road so I went to Aspen just in time to see the black walking down the road between the pullouts, all three went to the river and crossed the fast flowing water. The weather was bad, rain and wind and no wolves so I went in at 14:30.

This evening after watching Lamar Canyons crossing the road near Soda Butte Cone I went west to Dorothy's where I found a single black wolf way out on the large meadow that is bounded on the east side by Amethyst Creek, it was just sitting way out in the open after a while it got up and headed east and south, it came to another bedded black and as the light improved I found four greys as they moved, there may have been others that didn't move in the time I was there.

Sunday - 20 May

Another clear blue sky this morning, I went to Slough to look for Mollies, I drove down the campground road. After a few minutes we heard a group howl from the south, after a few minutes looking I found the wolves on the Divide Ridge they were running and playing, there were eleven they ran and chased each other and eventually went over the ridgeline. We went east, me to Dorothy's I couldn't find them, I was looking in the wrong place, I finally found one grey that soon went out of sight.

There was talk of problems with the Lamars in Soda Butte Valley so I went over there, cars were lining the road as far as the no stopping notice and the only place to park was at Foot Bridge all the spaces were full without double parking but Mark was parked so I stopped in front of him and walked down the road to where I could see the carcass in the river. The water level was down from last night, as we were looking at the carcass someone looked behind us and there was a black yearling on the hill looking at us, wondering how to get across the road, it went east and crossed managing to avoid traffic and people. Throughout the morning wolves were coming to the carcass, at about 13:30 I went to the car for my lunch, we were near enough for photos so I got my camera and went back. 06/832 came over and I got good photos of her and video, she left the carcass with a leg and went south with it. 755 came over in the afternoon but wouldn't go to the carcass because it was a bit near to the people. The crowds had thinned by about 15:30 and we left, it was a bit late to go in and come out for the evening so I went west with Sian, we looked from Dorothy's but couldn't find anything, she moved on and called from Little America to say there was grizzly near Peregrine. It was a mother and two year old, it was playing and rolling on it's back, we drove on I went to Tower to fill the car. Sian called again to say there was black bear near Petrified Tree so I went to see that and then headed for home, getting there at around 18:00.

Monday - 21 May

Yellowstone Moose taken by Gerry Hogston - Spring 2012 © Copyright All Rights Reserved

Hopefully there will be less people around today. There are and also less wolves, I stopped at Foot Bridge with Mark and Carol. the carcass was just bare bones, not even ravens were interested, we looked for about half an hour then went west to Dorothy's where Rick reckoned that there were Mollies somewhere to the south, so I went up Cardiac Hill with Mark and Carol to the second level we were up there for about three hours, you've got to make it worth the effort, even if we saw nothing. After coming down I went to Trashcan Hill to look for two Lamars that had been seen to the north. I never found them but did find a black Mollie 776F alone and going west we lost her behind Jasper Bench. At 13:30 I saw Lamar 820 from Hitching Post she was looking to cross to the south but couldn't, she moved east and I went for a drive round and came back she had got past the cone but still could not cross because of people.

I went out at 18:00 there was a grizzly on Soda Butte Creek, it was looking towards the road and headed that way, the usual traffic followed it but it didn't hesitate and ran for the road and crossed. I went as far as Dorothy's and looked for Mollies but no luck I came in at 20:00.

Tuesday - 22 May

I set the alarm for 05:15 and had a good nights sleep, the alarm woke me. After a nice sunny evening I didn't expect what I got, thick cloud and heavy rain. It had more or less stopped when I got to Foot Bridge where Mark and Carol were looking at the carcass site, I didn't expect wolves coming to bare bones but they had 754 coming towards it, he waded through various streams and picked up the spine and went off south with it, he stopped gnawed it and then headed east.

We got word that the Mollies were coming east along Lamar so I went to Hitching Post I could see hundreds of bison moving towards the east but couldn't see wolves, we got the message to go to Confluence and from up the hill we saw the Mollies, 12 of them going to groups of bison, probably looking for calves and chasing adult bison but not succeeding. They turned west looking at more bison, we went to Picnic which was as far west as they came, the rain was now getting heavy but we kept watching. The wolves turned back east, we went back to Confluence and up the hill again, it was now raining heavily and no visibility, the wolves went south and into the trees and we gave up I went to Gardiner for food.

To the west it was dry and broken cloud, I thought I had made a bad choice. I drove out on the dirt road west of the river and them back on 89 then I drove up to Jardine. By now there was heavy rain here and so it was all the way back to Silver Gate, I won't be going out tonight.

Wednesday - 23 May

Yellowstone Buffalo taken by Gerry Hogston - Spring 2012 © Copyright All Rights Reserved

The rain had stopped there was ice on the car and as I got down the road there was fog. At Dorothy's it was fairly clear Rick said there were weak signals to the south then the fog came in. I heard that 838's group were visible from Slough I went there and saw them for a minute, so back to Lamar but nothing in sight so I decided to go to Hayden but as I got to Lower Hellroaring there was hail and snow and it looked bad in the distance so I turned back and went to Soda Butte Valley but saw nothing. I went back to Hitching Post where I just missed a wolf chase an elk across the road, at 14:00 I gave up and went in, it was cold with showers coming in.

At 17:30 I went out in steadily falling snow expecting to be coming right back but in Lamar it was fine and dry with good visibility. There was nothing at Hitching Post so I went on to Dorothy's where Mark and Carol were stopped, we got a report of seven wolves chasing elk north of the road from Picnic I started to go back that way when Carol called me back the Lamars were north of Coyote, we went to Fishermans and saw them for a few seconds, so back to Dorothy's where Hans found them near Secret Passage, it was almost too dark to see them so at 20:00 I came in to find a good covering of snow.

Thursday - 24 May

Forecast for snow today and there was snow on the car when I went out, soon brushed off. I drove all the way to the Institute before I found anyone they had seen 755 and two others heading east behind the barn, I never found them. After about 3/4 hour someone came up and said they had seen three wolves low down east of the exclosure so we went to Hitching Post after passing the mayhem at Confluence. The wolves came along low down below the Ledge Trail and went out of sight to the den.

I went west to look for any more but saw nothing. I went on to Canyon East to look for the owl, this time I found the nest with two owlets. Then on to Slough and down the campground road I saw a grizzly and on coming back saw the grizzly with two cubs of the year (coy) on Specimen.

I couldn't make up my mind to go to Swan Lake so ended up going back to Hitching Post where Sian was looking out, she had not seen any wolves I stayed till 14:15 still no wolves.

I had tea and went out again at 17:15 in the snow hoping for better visibility, I stopped at Hitching Post, to the south was snow and fog, to the west it was much brighter and I could see the Ledge Trail but no sign of wolves. I was there for about an hour and light snow came in and visibility was not good, I was sitting in the car thinking of going west for a bit when I heard howling from the den area so now I knew they were there. Mark and Carol came up and the snow got worse when we heard that a black wolf was visible from Foot Bridge so we went there and saw the black yearling near the old carcass site soon moved off south. By now the snow was really heavy and at about 20:00. I was thinking it was time to go but just after the snow eased and we could see the sun 'just about'. Then someone saw another black wolf cross the road it was 755 and then 832 and two greys then 754 joined them and they went to the start of Dead Puppy Hill and into the trees. There were quite a few elk and deer in there by 21:00 it was getting too dark so I said good bye to Mark and Carol, they are leaving tomorrow, and I headed home with no snow and good visibility.

Friday - 25 May

Yellowstone Wolf taken by Gerry Hogston - Spring 2012 © Copyright All Rights Reserved

I got up just before 05:00, looking out the door just as it came light I could see it was snowing and bad visibility but there was nothing else to do but go out. We could hardly see anything from Foot Bridge and it was a cold wind blowing but the Lamars were out there. I eventually saw one black yearling going south across the creek, it was not visible for long because of the snow. Then someone found three more to the east so I went beyond the cone and found them, they moved west and south, I moved west and eventually saw two blacks high and way to the south. I moved to Hitching Post and Rick came up and asked me to go to Foot Bridge to look for 755. I was sitting in the car looking south when a man came over and said a wolf was passing right in front of us, it was 755 just on the far creek bank, even Rick hadn't seen him.

It was only about 10:30 the wolves had gone home, cold, snowing, no visibility and nothing to do. I drove to the Tower Store to look at the falls, not very exciting. I stopped at the Osprey nest and took photos. I didn't stop at any of the three bear jams, too cold. I filled up the car and drove back to Slough to the lower pullout and had lunch at 12:00 I got back to the cabin at about 13:00. I went out again at 17:00 got to Foot Bridge at about 17:30 there was nothing doing so I gave myself until 19:00. Nothing had happened by then so I left passing Rick on his way out, I thought about going back but didn't, I only got to Trout Lake when I heard that a black had crossed to the north using the footbridge. I kept on going.

Saturday - 26 May

I got out the door at about 05:30 to find three inches of snow on the car; I brushed it off and got the ice off. It looked like the snow plough had gone out from Cooke City as one lane was clear. I got to Foot Bridge, only Doug was there I stayed for over an hour and saw nothing. I headed west to Boulder where I heard that they had 838 at Buffalo Ford but not when I got there, they had gone east so back to Slough and Bobs Knob. A group of bison were near the Conifer/Aspen Forest and a grizzly was moving towards them they had calves and they took off running to the north, the calves keeping up, they ran a long way, looking like they might come up the hill to us but they turned off. We found 838 and a black female on the semi forested ridge, they bedded for a few minutes and then went to the south out of sight. We went west to Little America to Mid Point, Sian was in the lead and had them cross in front of her I just did a U-turn and went back to Long Pullout where we found them moving around at the edge of the forest, they howled a lot and moved a little to the west. Sian went to Slough and I kept looking around and found them, they had found the two greys. I called Laurie that we had a reunion, it made everyone's day that they were back together again. The black female that had been with 838 all morning went off on her own to the west and crossed the road and re-crossed and walked along it and caused chaos with people. I went in at 15:00 and came out this evening to steady rain and no wolves. This morning the snow was heavier to the west Kirsty & Allan turned back home but Sian got through.

Sunday - 27 May

Yellowstone Wolf taken by Gerry Hogston - Spring 2012 © Copyright All Rights Reserved

Today turns out to be as bad as yesterday, weather wise. I go out to two inches of wet snow on the car, I brush it off and throw hot water over the windows to get the ice off and I get away at about 05:20 to Foot Bridge where Rick was. He had signals from 820 at the den nothing on 755 or 754. I looked from there for an hour, then went down the road to Hitching Post. Rick said I would be better at Foot Bridge so I went back and looked for another hour with nothing to show. Rick and Laurie had moved so I went back down the road. We heard that the road from Mammoth to Tower was closed because of snow and no one could get through so there was no crowd but then no Sian or Kirsty but it was quiet, though it didn't last, they arrived with loads of tourons. The road was not impassable but there had been accidents the day before so they were taking no chances.

It was 10:30 and still no wolves I was looking from the road just before the no stopping sign through intermittent showers of rain, hail, and snow. I looked to the east north of the road and saw five wolves one black and four grey coming down to the road, they crossed fairly easily as there was still not much traffic. They went south and up into the trees where we lost them, we found a grizzly in an open area it was grazing when it suddenly stood up and looked east and turned and ran out of sight. I guessed it was the wolves but I never saw them, the bear was found high up with one wolf nearby but I never saw where the wolf went. Someone found three greys in the open area near where the bear had been originally, they were sitting and howling, I didn't hear a reply, two of them went over to a downed log and started to pull on it, it was a big tree trunk. They eventually managed to move it and two animals ran out I don't know what they were but the wolves each caught one and had a snack. Next they chased a coyote but came back to another log and started to pull that apart but never got anything from it and then they headed for home crossing the road between lots of traffic, people stopping in the no stopping area. The weather was getting really bad making it hard to see and no fun to stand outside. Sian was at the corner and at about 15:00 and a break in the weather, she called out that the black yearling was heading for the creek, I picked it up as it was about to go into the creek, it swam across and headed for the road and more traffic chaos. As 320's signals were to the north I think all were accounted for.

Monday - 28 May

Yellowstone Wolf taken by Gerry Hogston - Spring 2012 © Copyright All Rights Reserved

The last full day, another couple of inches of snow to brush off and out to Foot Bridge with nothing in sight so I went back to the no stopping sign and looked for about two hours when someone called that the wolves had crossed the road between the pullouts. I got back to Foot Bridge to see eight wolves on the flat heading to the bench they went up at the wide trail and headed south and over a hill and I lost them. I tried again from Trashcan but didn't find them, Sian was up the hill, I had looked at the trail but didn't like the look of it wet and slippy.

At 14:00 I went in to sort out my things and get them in the case ready to leave tomorrow. At 17:00 I went out again and saw one grey just west of the cone and at 20:00 I came back. The weather has been a little better today but with one or two heavy showers of hail, this evening was a bit warmer and dry.

Tuesday - 29 May

Nearly the end, all cases packed and in the car by 05:30. I'm at Foot Bridge by 06:00 they have the Lamars to the south from Confluence Hill, Laurie has driven in behind me, they go on to Geriatric so I follow and climb up the hill for the last time, from there we can see the wolves a long way off, I think there are eight, they are not in sight for long and it is still only about 07:00. Today there is a change in the weather, clear sky and sunshine.

Laurie is going west so I go that way, stopping off for some photos to pass the time, I have some scenic shots of the mist and some bison and then I moved on only finding Laurie when I reached Boulder, they had 838s group on top of Junction Butte, they were bedded, we watched for about 45 minutes. A Big Horn sheep was not far away from them but they didn't seem to bother with it, heads moved occasionally and then suddenly one of the greys darted to the right and the others followed and were out of sight, a group of sheep were watching to the southwest. Sian went west, Laurie and Dan went east I drove west and asked Sian where she was "Rick's Pullout" so I went there, she was on the hill with Hans, they had a worried looking elk on Junction Butte, it may have lost it's calf but we never saw wolves.

I needed to see Laurie to give my stuff but I would have to drive all the way back to Foot Bridge or I could give it to Sian to pass on, she was going to Blacktail. I decided on Foot Bridge and met up with Laurie and said my goodbyes to them and Rick. It was now about 11:30 and time to go, I had a quiet drive through the valley, I got to Elk Creek and Sian passed going east, I didn't know if she was going to stop, I did and did a U-turn and as I was about to start back she came around the bend so I turned again and we said our goodbyes, she is leaving tomorrow. It is warm now and no need for a coat for the first time for a few days. I get to Gardiner at 13:00 and put a gallon of petrol in to make sure I get to the airport and I get a tin of soup for dinner. I go through showers on the way to Belgrade I get a room at LaQuinta and am in at 15:00 and get checked in for my flight.

Wednesday - 30 May

One more day and I will be home, I get to the airport at 08:30 the fuel gauge warning light has come on so it wasn't a bad guess. I send my case on it's way and I get through security, there is a delay on the flight but it is only half an hour late and makes up the time to Denver and all flights to Manchester go well apart from some passengers who can't shut up or keep to their own seat.

I'm in Manchester on time and meet up with Marg and Ron. It is now May 31 and we are on our way in rain, heavy at times and in heavy traffic.

Yellowstone Wolves taken by Gerry Hogston - Spring 2012 © Copyright All Rights Reserved
Yellowstone Ravens taken by Gerry Hogston - Spring 2012 © Copyright All Rights Reserved Yellowstone Ravens taken by Gerry Hogston - Spring 2012 © Copyright All Rights Reserved

Click this link to view some Videos from Gerry's Trip

Yellowstone National Park
Sightings and Trip Report are from the North and Northeast Area of Yellowstone

Lamar Valley Map - Yellowstone National Park

Lamar Valley Map - Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park by Page Makers, LLC © Copyright All Rights Reserved
I n d e x
Accessibility Earthquakes Maps Video Page
Address Email Newspaper Visitor Centers
Adult Programs Entrances Old Faithful Live WebCam Visitor Stats
Amphibians Entrance Fees Pets Volcano Observatory
Animals Fall Closure Phone Numbers Waterfalls
Backcountry Fish Picnic Areas Weather
Bear Management Fishing Fees Ranger Led Activities WebCams
Bear Sightings Fishing Regulations Reptiles Wildflowers
Biking Getting Here Reunions Winter Closing
Boating Hiking Rivers, Creeks & Streams Winter Opening
Books History Roads Winter Weather Reports
Butterflies Junior Ranger Program Schedule Wolf Project
Camping Lakes Search Page Wolf Sightings
Campground Maps Location Spring Opening Wolverine Help
Challenges Lodging Star Talks Yellowstone ~ the Name
Chat Page Lynx Help Trip Planner pdf Young Scientist
Clinics / Medical Mammal List Trip Reports Youth Conservation Corps

Yellowstone National Park WebCams
Old Faithful Live All Old Faithful Old Faithful Static Old Faithful VC North Entrance Mt Washburn Mammoth YVO WebCam

Entrance Cities and Gateway Towns
Gardiner, Montana Silver Gate, Montana West Yellowstone, Montana Cooke City, Montana
Livingston, Montana Cody, Wyoming Jackson Hole, Wyoming Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park Videos

Bighorn Rams Grizzly Bear at Old Faithful
Bison / Buffalo at Old Faithful Grizzly Bear near Roaring Mountain
Black Bear Grizzly Sow Nursing Cubs
Black Wolf Otters at Trout Lake
Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel Otter at Yellowstone Lake
Grizzly Bear at Blacktail Ponds  

Geysers and Thermals
Beehive Geyser Eruption Old Faithful with Bison
Beehive Geyser Eruption Two Pocket Basin
Fan and Mortar Roaring Mountain
Grand Geyser Rocket and Grotto
Old Faithful One West Thumb

Cave Falls Mesa Falls Undine Falls
Gibbon Falls Rustic Falls Upper Falls
Lower Falls Tower Fall Wraith Falls

Not all who wander are lost by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien © Page Makers, LLC

The Great Outdoors Net Great Outdoor Recreational Places
Gardiner, Montana World Humanity

Contact Us

by John William Uhler

Back to: Yellowstone Up Close and Personal

Copyright © 1995 - 2015 Page Makers, LLC and Yellowstone Media ~ All Rights Reserved