This morning we see three moose at Round Prairie, a bull and two cows. They are feeding in the meadow and walking toward Soda Butte Creek at about 6:40 a.m. The light is still low, so we return later in the morning for pictures and can't find them. They seem to feed very early and disappear into the trees as the morning goes on.
    We have exciting wolf viewing this morning, though it doesn't start out that way. The Sloughs are on top of Jasper Bench visible only from Cardiac Hill. There are a lot of people from a wolf conference in Mammoth out watching this morning. We are not up to climbing the hill this morning so we wait at Dorothy's hoping the wolves will move down. They do. Traveling a much-used trail they trot and lope in a line down the slope to Amethyst Bench toward the rendezvous site. They seem to be in hunting mode. Twice they stop and surround a bison, sniffing at its hindquarters. One bison lunges forward at the wolves and they retreat. Then they trot to the next, sniffing for signs of weakness.
    The eight wolves disappear into the trees and sage for a few minutes and then burst out chasing two large bull elk. The elk run like camels, heads up, lifting their legs high. The wolves choose one elk and run after him, nipping at his legs and surround him. Although the wolves are always at his heels, the elk manages to stay ahead and dashes into the river, leaving the wolves staring on the river bank, the elk facing the wolves, staring back. More than one person breaths a sigh of relief. It's easy to see how a small pack can be such efficient hunters.
    We hike Mt. Washburn today, a gradual climb of three miles and 2000 feet. It's sunny, but very windy and cold at first. There are awesome views from the top where you can see most of the Park. And you can go inside the fire look-out. We see deer, mountain chickadees and either a pine grosbeak or tanager. We also see a Clark's nutcracker, but no bears, not even looking out toward other alpine meadows.
    Tonight the sky is a blanket of light. A shooting star flashes across the sky and disappears. The only sound is Soda Butte Creek.

Author - Christine Baleshta
Photography - Tim Springer

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Yellowstone Experiences 2006