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The weather was beautiful today. At 6:30 a.m. the sky was blue and 302M, 286F,
a yearling and a grizzly were at the confluence. I could only see 286F and I could barely see her
because of severe heat waves. Looking up across the road, we saw a mountain goat lying on a rocky ledge.
At Slough Creek the pups were out. They spill out of the den which looks like a great anthill.
Every now and then the adults pop up out of the sage, sometimes trying to herd the pups, and
other times just making sure they knew where they were. At one point three adults came together
wagging tails, and licking faces, greeting each other.
The coyote puppies explored the sage near the den. Little gray and red furry balls waddling about,
swatting each other. We got out of the car to set up the scope and they disappeared. They must
have dived into the den when they heard the car doors shut. Smart puppies; good parents.
We drove to Yellowstone Lake today. That part of the Park is colder with more snow on the ground,
especially between Canyon Junction and Canyon. It is a somewhat depressing part of the park to me
with lots of burnout and deadfall. We saw lots of bison in that area and not as many elk.
We passed two bison cows with calves between the road and the Yellowstone River.
One calf must have been very young, maybe even hours old, because some afterbirth was still hanging from the mother.
At Sedge Cove a young grizzly slept on the hillside, surrounded by burned trees.
"She" was lying in a daybed she dug for herself, her not-so-big body half-hidden in a hole.
She rested her head on her paws, displaying long ivory claws. Those claws are always a
sobering sight for me. Completely aware of our presence, she dozed, changing positions
and facial expressions many times and yawning once. After more than an hour, she finally
got up and walked down to the edge of the road, eating all the way. She continued undisturbed
along the road, photographers following and clicking madly, and gradually ambled up the hillside
and out of sight.
Yellowstone Lake is now a huge crust of ice with water around the edges, geese swimming near shore.
I am always taken aback by its size. From the shoreline, you can gaze across miles of ice and
water at the mountains. There were sun showers and clouds throughout the day. Backtracking to
Madison, we saw four trumpeter swans in a protected area and several geese. The bald eagle is
still in its nest along the road.
By the time we reached Little America it was raining very lightly. Tonight, a collared grizzly
was on the carcass. Not a huge bear, we followed him as he moved west over the hills and loped across the road.
I've never seen a grizzly run so fast.
Author - Christine Baleshta
Photography - Tim Springer
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