We watched the Slough Creek Pack this morning run from Boulder to Slough Creek river bottom. There were seven wolves, six black and one grey. We moved quickly to Dave's Hill where Parenthesis, the black female from the Unknown Pack, waited on the banks of the creek. There has been some friendly interaction between Parenthesis and Sharp Right, a gray female with the Slough Creek Pack. Because of that, I did not expect to see Parenthesis run away as the Sloughs approached the area. The limping black wolf ran as fast as she could, scrambling up the hill to escape. Her tongue was hanging out the side of her mouth showing very white teeth. She must be relatively young. I don't know the history of her limp, but I hope it heals quickly.
   The Sloughs raced into the area and made themselves comfortable. There was a carcass near the creek. The wolves would grab a piece and walk away to a spot by themselves where they could eat their portion without competition. One black wolf walked off, a leg dangling from its mouth. They wandered back and forth, gathering on top of a low hill where Sharp Right and four blacks howled. Parenthesis was out in the sage howling back.
   Sharp Right is a grey wolf who has a subordinate position in the Slough Creek Pack. She is above the yearlings, but below everyone else - the alphas and 526 and 527. She is named for the sharp angle of her tail. At one point Sharp Right began to walk toward the sage and south towards the road, towards Parenthesis, stopping frequently and looking back. She walked a fair distance and stopped and looked back, then walked back towards the other wolves on the hill. After that the whole pack began moving up the hillside single file towards their old den site.
   After leaving Slough Creek we hiked the Yellowstone River Trail for a while. Though we saw lots of deer and sheep sign, we saw only birds, chipmunks and squirrels. Unusual for this trail. We almost always see deer and sheep and marmots. (Marmots were hibernating already) We did see Clarks Nutcrackers, a pair of woodpeckers, a falcon, squirrels and chipmunks. A lone bull elk grazed along the banks of the river in the canyon.
   It began to rain this afternoon and never stopped, so we retreated to our cabin and spent the rest of the afternoon reading, writing and walking around Silver Gate and Cooke City.

Author - Christine Baleshta
Photography - Tim Springer

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Yellowstone Experiences 2006