All photos by
Tim Springer
Christine Baleshta

    It's raining again. The day began with rain and ended with rain. Hard rain. I was hoping to see the stars our last night in the Park and listen to the coyotes. I guess not. We saw all 13 Geode Pack wolves today. In the early morning drizzle near Boulder in Little America we watched as the 12 grays and single black traveled across the sage going west. We lost sight of them and then picked them up again on the hillsides across from the Yellowstone picnic area. They were traveling, and I particularly enjoyed watching a gray wolf run in a circle and then be chased by another. Pups, I think. The alpha female, 106F, took up the end of the string of wolves as they passed through gullies and rocky crevices out of sight. Then there was a strong signal from the Leopold wolves at Hellroarin. We raced to the pullout to see what Tim described as a "sea of wolves." I had never seen the Leopold wolves before, now 27 in number, about half black and half grey. They passed through a herd of elk going east, acting as if they were hunting, but failing to take opportunities in front of them. We were able to watch them for quite a while before they moved out of sight. The wolves were everywhere, in every direction, on top of the high plateau. When the last gray finally drifted out of sight we drove to the Hellroarin Trailhead where we hiked out and saw them again, almost below us on the south side of the Yellowstone River. I counted 18, but can't be sure. Now they headed east. We wondered out loud if they smelled the Geodes and decided to avoid a conflict. We drove back to Hellroarin and they disappeared. We walked up to the Tower campground this afternoon where we saw both bear and wolf sign. Very quiet with no campers and the scent of pine was everywhere. I really wanted to see more black bears and cubs and again wonder if they have moved up to their dens, even though it's still early. On the other hand, the Lamar grizzly sow and her two cubs have become a fixture this week in the valley. We see them every day and sometimes twice. We stopped to look for owls at Pebble Creek again and were disappointed again. I love that campground. I love the stream and the trees and the smell. What a lovely place, even without owls. But across the road at Round Prairie Tim sited a grizzly foraging. He was a very dark brown and big, ambling around with his nose in the air. It was about 6 and we kept our scope and binoculars on the grizzly until dusk covered him. Nice way to end the day.

Author - Christine Baleshta
Photography - Tim Springer

Click for larger image

Yellowstone Experiences 2004