Thursday, November 3, 2011
Silver Gate, Montana

   754 lies in the snow at the top of a tree studded slope on the south side of Soda Butte Creek. At three years old he is graying rapidly, his once black coat fading, his face lightening. The sun reflects in his eyes making them appear light blue from this distance. He licks his paws and rests his head in the snow.
   We are lucky. The Lamar Canyon Pack traveled up Cache Creek a few days ago and we were afraid they wouldn't return. No one saw any wolves today except for 752F, who was seen chasing an elk along Slough Creek. The Pack is feeding on a carcass hidden in the trees. The wolves are beautiful, their fur thick and shiny. They wipe their faces, rolling in the snow. We see at least 7 wolves, 3 black including 754M and 755M (the alpha male) and a black pup, and four grays, including 06. Now five years old, she is a gorgeous light gray wolf. She beds in the snow east of the carcass and closes her eyes as a herd of cow elk look down on the wolves from Mt. Norris.
   We are brought up to date with wolf news. 586M, brother of 641M (the Agate's alpha male), is gone, killed by the Blacktails. 642F is also gone, killed in this year's wolf hunt. I remember the first time I saw her. It was spring and 642, a yearling, was just collared that year. She was running through the sage across from Boulder, a shiny, chocolate colored wolf. Above the Lamar Canyons, the moon begins to rise.
   The temperature drops quickly, sinking all the way to Silvergate. The temperature was 26 when we arrived in Bozeman and now it is 30 and windy. It may hit zero or below tonight. A little fox with a pale, yellow face trots alongside the car on skinny black legs. The animals are growing their fine winter coats. Yellowstone is waiting for winter.

Author - Christine Baleshta
Photography - Tim Springer

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Yellowstone Experiences 2012