Day 18, May 28
I immediately transitioned to playing tour guide for family on Thursday. So I forced them to wake up at 5 and hit the road much earlier than they’d prefer, just as my dad did to me during our first Yellowstone trip back in ’88.
Unfortunately, it was extremely wet and foggy in the morning. We drove around exploring the NE corner, going as far as Floating Island, but didn’t have any luck aside from a young moose that was grazing in Rosie’s meadow below the Calcite lot. So we returned to the cabin early (which allowed me to catch up on much-needed sleep). After a nap, I tackled some work, peeking over my shoulder occasionally at the moose that had returned to bed down across from our deck again. She eventually rose and went to the creek for a drink before tucking in on some tasty willows. As we went about our business indoors, the cow walked right up to our picnic area, walked past the window, sniffed the car in the driveway and moved out to the meadow.
The afternoon finally looked a bit drier and less dreary. Before we even got to the park gate, we spotted a black bear not far from the road. In the eastern Lamar, the few wolf enthusiasts that were still out braving the elements were active. It sure seemed like the wolves were nearby once again.
Sure enough, at Hitching Post a lone black wolf could be seen entering the river bed. It was 926F, the alpha female, and she was about to cross through the No Stopping Zone. She passed before a herd of bison before crossing the road and running uphill.
My family was delighted, especially since they had just told me that it was “difficult to view wolves even through binoculars.” This was a good show even with the naked eye.
Further down the road, approaching the Yellowstone Picnic Area, a black bear was walking along a high ridge on Junction Butte. He looked a bit odd, with areas of brown mixed with the black fur. As he descended, it became apparent that these were balding patches rather than just brown fur.
The bear made it down to the flats and worked its way west. We drove ahead, hoping to get it coming to the pond, but the bear wanted to cross the road. It had stopped back in a grove of trees, but the crowd of onlookers prevented it from crossing. Rangers finally arrived on the scene and cleared things out.
Up the Tower Road, there was no sign of bears, but a marmot stood at attention past Calcite Springs.
The peregrine falcon sat in its customary spot across the canyon. Someone said they saw a chick yesterday. Back down toward Rainy Lake, we arrived just late enough to catch the fox trotting off up into the trees, its mouth full of tasty treats.
It was nice to have a busy afternoon following the sludgy morning. One more day before my real work starts up again!