Another chilly morning, about 35 degrees, but also another sunny, clear day.
We start earlier today, about 6:30 a.m. and head for the Park.
There are three moose in "Moose Meadow," a cow with her two offspring,
one from last year and another from the year before.
The youngest is cute, but it looks almost too big to be this year's calf.
Six wolves from the Agate Pack are bedded down in Little America.
They get up every now and then, walk around and lick each others
faces and wag their tails. There are four gray and two blacks.
All the wolves are losing their winter coats, so they appear lighter.
The alpha female, 472, is very light with more gray around her face.
She is the daughter of 21M and 103F, so she is a Druid, and looks like her parents.
Two coyotes sit in front of a boulder not far from the Agates, singing and yipping away.
We hear them long before we see them. Chances are the coyote den is nearby and they don't want the wolves around.
The Agate wolves are very mobile and frequently cross the road from the South to the North side and back.
They go up to Specimen Ridge and somehow cross the river to return to their Elk Creek territory,
where the pups are waiting for them. This morning we see one cross the road and disappear into the
sage on the south side of the road. Everyone is watching the road, confusing people driving by,
but few are lucky enough to see any of the wolves cross.
We check and recheck the Oxbow Pack. Once today we see the alpha female tucked in under the aspens.
We don't see the Druids or the Sloughs. The wolves stay close to their den sites this time of year
and can be difficult to catch. I would be disappointed, but we had good viewing of the Agates.
We walk up the Tower Road today to look for Rosie and her cubs, but have no luck. We hike past
Calcite and she is almost always nearby. A sage grouse follows another couple climbing the road.
The grouchy bird nips at the man's heels, protecting his territory. He has chased the man away
and is not afraid of me as I follow him and snap photos.
We climb the slope on the north side of the road through the grass and deadfall to find a large
grassy meadow filled with sage and trees. A wonderful place for bears.
The sow and cubs probably stay near the road to protect themselves from boars and other predators.
When we return to the road the grouse is gone.
Later in the afternoon, we drive to Norris Basin, which Tim has never seen, and walk around.
Norris Basin is a huge thermal area and very interesting, especially Steamboat Geyser, which
can shoot up over 100 feet in the air and can go off at any time. The basin connects with
Porcelain Basin and spreads out over a huge area of a few miles. The geysers vary in size
from very large to small spouting fountains. Some are quite beautiful with clear blue-green pools of steaming water.
Author - Christine Baleshta
Photography - Tim Springer
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