The elk are back. Somewhere after Baronette Peak a bull elk with his cows graze alongside the road, and a little farther down the road, another bull elk, smaller with a smaller rack gazes at us. This is a good sign to me. The weather has gotten cloudier and cooler. There are no shorts today, though it's not exactly cold.
   It is not a "wolfless" day either. A single black wolf travels across the valley to Amethyst Bench. It has a blaze on its chest and white on its muzzle. It may have been "Light Bar" or "Dull Bar" from the Druid Pack. There is no other wolf activity until later tonight when five or six wolves are bedded at the Druids' rendezvous site.
   We drive down to Canyon and Hayden Valley again looking for the Mollies, the Canyon Group and bears. There are no wolves or bears. A coyote crosses the road on our way to Lake Yellowstone and another pops out of the grass near the trailhead to Cascade Lake.
   We drive the right roads and look at all the traditional sites, yet we miss the Mollies and Canyon Group. It must be still be too warm. Big horn sheep and lambs graze along the Tower road and jump over logs not far from the store while a black bear forages in the hills of Little America across from the Slough Creek parking lots.
   We discovered a new place today. Virginia Cascade Road is a road I assumed was a service road, but is actually a 2-1/2 mile road off the Canyon to Norris road traveling along a not so steep canyon and rushing stream, opening into a marshy meadow. The Canyon Group frequently uses this road to get from Norris to Cascade Meadows and Hayden Valley. In our minds we see them trotting down the middle of the road, passing the small waterfall that gushes into the stream, and loping into the meadow.
   We hiked the Cascade Creek Trail today which starts from the Canyon-Norris Road near Dunraven Road and goes to Cascade Lake. This trail is not difficult and goes through a wooded area, passing a large meadow before reaching the small lake surrounded by forest. There are bear tracks and wolf sign on the trail which extends to Observation Point and Grebe Lake. It is a very nice five-mile hike even if we didn't see a wolf or bear. The weather turns cloudy as we sit by the lake. The wind comes up and the temperature drops. It begins to rain, but we make it to the car without it storming.
   But the sky is clear and filled with stars this evening, as we walk around the cabins. Mule deer graze in the shadows , the silence broken by the call of an owl in a nearby tree.

Author - Christine Baleshta
Photography - Tim Springer

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Yellowstone Experiences 2008