All photos by
Tim Springer
Christine Baleshta

    We decided to drive to Hayden Valley today to look for bears and great grey owls and to go to the Madison River to see the otters. The Lamar was quiet and the Agates had traveled during the night from Antelope Creek to Tower Junction. No wolves visible this morning. We were a little disappointed in our excursion: no bears or owls or wolves, but our coyote viewing was excellent. At the end of Blacktail Deer Lakes we saw three coyotes feeding on a carcass. Actually, two with a third standing guard who seemed rather nervous. Near Otter Creek, Tim spotted a light animal, almost white, on a hillside through the trees. He was sure it was a wolf, but after slamming on the breaks and hiking into the area, it was a coyote. We were astonished. I have never seen a coyote so light colored. His face was almost all white and very full. He looked like a white wolf until he turned sideways. Light shadows of tan streaked through his body and pale red ears gave him away. We saw another coyote cross the creek in the same area. This one was smaller and red and tan and brown. Later, as we drove past Lake Yellowstone, we saw another coyote with very beautiful coloring, a mixture of red and tan and grey and he had a saddle of different colors. He ignored us as he hunted close to the road. Throughout our drive we noticed plenty of elk and bison. The Park is much quieter now, more peaceful, with fewer people. The Madison is still a beautiful winding blue river. The Park seems to have taken on a golden hue this time of year. I see it particularly around 5:30-6:00 p.m. when the sun starts to go down. It was colder today and somewhat overcast, drizzling in some places. When the sun goes down, it cools off quickly. Some areas of the Park are still dusted with snow. I am disappointed we have not seen any black bear cubs. I wonder if the nasty weather on Sunday sent the sows and their families toward their den sites.

Author - Christine Baleshta
Photography - Tim Springer

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Yellowstone Experiences 2004