Thursday, November 1, 2007
   The clouds hang low in the sky almost all the way to Lamar Valley. The young cow elk is now a carcass and the unidentified gray and black wolves compete for it. The black controls the carcass while the gray inches ever so slowly around it in a very submissive posture, his tail between his legs, looking uncomfortable. The black is unusual looking. An older wolf, he actually appears a uniform dark gray, like charcoal gray. He bares teeth, spotted with blood. We heard that the other wolf has ear tags and could be from Idaho. Yellowstone wolves are not tagged. If this is true, I'm very impressed by the wolf's travels.
   At the same time the Sloughs are bedded across the road on a high ridge. They are little black heads and ears popping up out of the sage, one at a time. I count 11, but I believe the whole pack is traveling together. I know 527F must be in that group, and I know we see her, but I don't' know which one she is.
   The Druid Pack is enjoying the sun this morning at their rendezvous site when a grizzly appears in the middle of the sage. A train of wolves takes off after the poor bear and are right on his tail and back, biting. A black wolf hangs on the bear's rump. The bear runs and swats and stands up to get a better view. He is a beautiful bear, brown with glistening silver hairs. The Druids chase him into the trees and return to the sage led by 569F, the alpha female. She is very light gray with a dark gray stripe down her back and very pretty. She is followed by the elder, graying males, 480M, the alpha male with his white muzzle, and 302, white markings on his chest.
   The grizzly pops up again in the middle of the sage and the wolves take off after him, led by 569F. I feel sorry for the bear - all he was doing was foraging and suddenly he is chased by a pack of wolves. He runs and they run and he swats 569. A black wolf grabs the bear's hind quarters. The grizzly spins around, swats and dashes off tailed by wolves. The Druids run the bear into the trees once again, then lay down in the grass.
   We hike up the slopes of Little America this afternoon parallel to Specimen Ridge and find ourselves above Lamar Canyon heading toward Jasper Bench. I love walking through the meadows surrounded by mountains, cold and windy as it is. We are in the middle of meadow upon meadow bordered by mountains. We spot several elk. Why would a wolf come down from here considering food, water and habitat availability? On the way back the black wolf is still guarding the carcass and the Druids are still in their rendezvous site.
   I am thinking about the Haydens. I am having a hard time not thinking about them - the violence, what will happen to the pups? Here, in the beauty of this place a tragedy shakes my perspective and challenges my beliefs about nature.

Author - Christine Baleshta
Photography - Tim Springer

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Yellowstone Experiences 2007