Cindy and I escaped Silver Gate and drove north on Tuesday. Since it was only the third time we've left the area in the last 6 weeks, it was an occasion.
Driving through Little America at dawn, we watched half a dozen wolves leave a carcass to the north.
Between Gardiner and Livingston I spotted puppies playing in a hayfield. The den was only 30 feet or so inside the fence row, but we parked across the road on a low hill to give them some room.
There were 8 coyote puppies in all. They would come out of the den every three hours or so and stay put 30-40 minutes. The adults watched from the distance.
The pups played tug of war with a stick, climbed on rocks, fought with an old skunk hide, but mostly just wrestled with each other.
Finally we headed back home. It was hard to do as we left summer to go back into winter.
Passing through Yellowstone, we spotted a few bison calves. Past the Confluence three bighorn rams were running around in the flats south of the highway. Every now and then they would rise up and hit heads.
At Soda Butte Cone, a bison walked towards us using the center line as a trail. Beside him walked what we thought at first was a yearling bison, but when we got closer, realized it was a black wolf.
We stopped, because we had no choice. Cindy took a quick shot when the wolf left the road.
Behind Soda Butte Picnic Area, a young grizzly walked through a snow field, breaking through every third or fourth step.
The snow level has dropped from 3 feet a week ago to under 2 feet.
Cooke Pass is supposed to get opened up on next Monday.