Really cold this morning – all temperatures are quoted in Fahrenheit here, so 10 degrees doesn’t sound too bad, until you realise that freezing point is 32! Luckily, we do know what to expect in cold climates and have all the right layers and clothes.
A really interesting day, even though the wolves proved elusive. Our national park guide, Carolyn, is really knowledgeable and progressively told us all about the park, it’s wildlife and management as we drove along in our little 14 seater national park bus.
Because the prime purpose of the day was to look for wolves, we did a fair bit of backtracking and catching up with a couple of other groups on the same mission. We’d stop in a lay-by with a long view across the valley in a known wolf territory and set up our scopes. One time we met with one of the park rangers, Rick McIntyre who has spent years studying the wolves and now tracks many of them individually via radio collars – he was at least able to tell us if any wolves were close.
We learnt a lot during the day about the reintroduction of the wolves to Yellowstone in 1995 and the success of the programme since, but didn’t get to actually see any, but there’s always tomorrow…But nevertheless, we did have a great day with lots of other wildlife sightings. We saw a very rare coloured mountain fox at just a few yard’s distance, a beautiful creamy colour; there are loads of bison in the park and we saw those close up by the roadside and in herds on hillsides and in the valleys – amazing since by the time the park was established in 1872, the population of bison in the area had been hunted down to just 23 individuals – now, there are about 49,000.
The wolves’ main prey is elk and we saw lots of those along with several stately big- horn sheep and three coyote. We also went for a super mile or so walk in the snow after lunch. So, it was actually a really good day!The food at the Mammoth Springs is also really good and I enjoyed a superb 14oz prime rib for dinner, not great for the cholesterol but you can only get this sort of cut here in the States and I never miss the chance for at least one when I visit!