It was a beautiful bright, clear morning in the Lamar. The Slough Creek Pack had overnighted in the Lamar and there were people waiting for their re-appearance. We searched from a hill and needed help in finding one black wolf, head sticking up from the sage near the eroded area of the rendezvous site. He lowered his head and we didn't see him again.
   We then heard that a grey wolf was spotted near Soda Butte Cone traveling east. We raced to the jeep and sped down the road scanning the trees and banks of Soda Butte Creek. Our Pine Edge neighbor stopped her truck as she passed us and excitedly announced there were about "30 wolves at Round Prairie." It seemed like we couldn't get there fast enough, but we reached the meadow in time to see what looked like a huge pack of wolves, black and grey, swarmed together at the edge of the trees. The Druid Pack. I have no doubt it was every single one of them, four adults and 11 now large pups, though I never had a chance to count. They seemed very excited and trotted quickly east along the trees, wagging tails as they ran, stopping to sniff every once in a while. We followed them and watched them move into the trees at the edge of Round Prairie, going toward the place of their den site, and then they were gone.
   We drove down the road and tried to find them in the trees, but it was impossible. We stopped at Thunderer and Soda Butte Picnic area hoping we might catch one more glimpse, but our luck ran out at Round Prairie. We didn't know until later how fortunate we were. The Druids had not been seen in Lamar Valley since July. It was exciting to see all of them looking so good.
   We hiked into an area close to Blacktail Deer Plateau with no name. A few years ago when the Geode Pack was still around, it was rumored they had denned in this area. On that trip we saw a black wolf and a very light grey wolf, both uncollared, lying by the creek late one afternoon. It's a hilly area with no marked trails, only game trails, so we bushwhacked all the way across a huge golden meadow to a ridge south of that. There are signs that wolves are still using the area. We found a few tracks and found two carcasses, one which appeared to be a wolf kill from not too long ago.
   We climbed to the ridge and were taking a break sitting on a rock when it began to rain. Thunder clapped in the distance as grey clouds swarmed in from the west. We gathered our rain gear and headed back, a mostly uphill climb. We were both disappointed that our hike was aborted; we really wanted to hike along the ridge and see what was beyond.
   Since it was raining we spent the drizzly afternoon in Mammoth where a beautiful huge bull elk stood on the manicured hotel lawn guarding his harem of nervous looking cows. The cows would alternately graze and run away from him. When a car passed by too slowly, or stopped, the bull lowered his head and rammed the side of the vehicle. He strutted back and forth across the road while fascinated visitors watched through the hotel windows. When we arrived he had already punched three cars and we watched while he rammed four more. Last year, Bull No. 10 was behaving badly and had his antlers removed. This elk may be destined for the same fate.
   On our way back to Silver Gate we drove up to Antelope Creek to look for the Agate Pack. The wolves were not home, but we did see a bull moose grazing. We also stopped in Round Prairie where a grizzly and a bull elk were grazing near each other.

Author - Christine Baleshta
Photography - Tim Springer

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Yellowstone Experiences 2006