All photos by
Tim Springer
Christine Baleshta

    We left the cabin late, after 7:00 a.m. There was a very dense fog this morning covering our cabin and this part of the Park. By the time we reached the Lamar Valley, most of the fog was lifting and it turned out to be a gorgeous day. The sow and her two cubs were in the valley north of the river and a little west of the Institute. They spent the morning foraging, heads bent down, very intent on what they were doing. From Dorothy's pullout we could see the Druids on Jasper Bench. I counted 7, though I heard there were eight. Rick said that among them were 255F, 249, 374 and 375. They were spread out over the ridge and at times stopped and lay down, until they were all bedded down along the ridge. Bison walked among and in between them, and at times forced the wolves to get up and move, pushing them behind the ridge. Also in the area was a black wolf from another pack. He came up from the west side of the bench and traveled along the tree line cautiously. An unusual looking wolf. He was black/brown with black ears and a white saddle. He looked like someone had painted a stripe down his back. He also appeared young, maybe a year or two old. There was a kill by the river and he seemed to be traveling toward it. Each time he got close to it he would back up or run off. This afternoon we hiked the Tower Road trail, going to the Yellowstone River. Out in the Prairie we saw a coyote. He watched us carefully and lay down for a while, but when Tim approached, he backed up. We were sorry to disturb him. He seemed a little sleepy, like he just wanted to lie in the sun. There were more antelope here than last Spring, about 15-20. They ran off when we were still quite a distance away, bounding up the mountain side. Last May there were only about 5 sp they must have had several offspring. Incredibly fast animals. I am always amazed by their speed. We passed by the rocky hillsides where we saw bones strewn on the ledges. I noted a skull and another bone were still there from last spring. Also several large nests high in the evergreen trees which we thought might be pine martens' though we haven't been able to confirm that. After our hike we drove back to Antelope Creek where the Agates were spread out a little north of their morning site. A huge grizzly was ambling around in the same area, but east of the wolves and closer to the trees. He was a very dark, rich brown. Enormous. Benevolent looking through the scope. I loved the way he sat on his hind legs and lift his nose in the air. A very deceptive appearance. What an impressive bear. The Agates were relaxing - some walking around, the pups still paying together, particularly two black pups. They would play-fight, often with a gray. We could see one black on his back, his legs kicking in the air. They remind me of dogs so much sometimes. Then they started to howl, a long howl mixed with barks and growls. For several minutes. One of the best howls I've heard. I could see the wolves coming together from different directions as they howled until they were one big dog pile. After the howl they all headed north (or northeast) in a line, all eleven of them. They headed, very determined, toward some bull elk on the hill. The elk scattered and ran. The wolves kept going. The alpha female was limping, something I hate to see. The picture I hold in my mind is of the wolves, five of them spread out in formation, one in each corner of a square, and one in the center, all moving forward toward the elk.

Author - Christine Baleshta
Photography - Tim Springer

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Yellowstone Experiences 2004