All photos by
Tim Springer
Christine Baleshta

    Our last morning in Yellowstone it rained again. We hear the rain on the roof of the cabin coming down hard. It always sounds harder, more intense than it actually is. If it were snow, we would have several inches. It seems like the east end of the Park, Silvergate, gets more precipitation. By the time we packed up and headed out, the rain had slowed to a dark drizzle. No moose in the meadow this morning. Bison, elk and deer still scattered on the hillsides. . The Lamar is quiet under a cloud cover where the sky gradually brightens. It's an autumn morning - gray sky with golden hillsides. We check all the usual turnouts, glassing for wolves and bears among the bison and elk. Daylight arrives at 7:15 a.m. We visit the turnout where we last saw the Geodes and it's empty. No wolves there today. We go southeast at Tower Junction to try one last time to find Rosie and her spring cubs but the woods are empty. We head toward Hellroarin where a crowd is waiting, watching, scopes out. Emily is getting signals from two Geodes, 353F and 191, but no one sees any wolves. We watch - and wait- for a long time in continuous drizzle. Patience is wearing thin and Rick leaves. Emily, Jan and Bill stay. A student group from Western Montana University in Dillon arrive. Excited, nice kids. Jan spots a gray. Finally. REALLY far off. I don't know how she saw it. Then Emily sees three. Then a black. I have trouble seeing them in the scope because they're so far off. The final count is three gray Geodes and one black, 353F among them. I'm assuming she's the black. We hate to leave Hellroarin, but it's time to head out. At Blacktail Lake a coyote crosses the road. The coyotes are beautiful creatures this fall with an interesting blend of colors, especially on the saddle. I take in as much of the hills and valleys as I can. At Mammoth the elk are still bedded down relaxing. This trip has been evidence of the way the Park changes season to season and year to year. Not much wildlife near the road. Wolves are traveling with the movement of elk. A few bears feed in the Lamar Valley, but the absence of the black bears at Tower tells me that the Park is getting ready for winter. The weather grows colder and damper each day with promise of snow. Winter is not far away from Yellowstone. Winter is never far away from Yellowstone.

Author - Christine Baleshta
Photography - Christine Baleshta

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Yellowstone Experiences 2004