Saturday, April 25, 2009

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

After breakfast, Rebekah, Denyse, and I headed down to the Lava Creek trailhead which is below the Mammoth Hot Springs campground. We have been hearing talk that some wolves were in a den next to the campground. We pulled up at the trailhead and got out of the vehicle when we heard a wolf howl. We looked across the road, and sure enough, saw this wolf beside the tree:

We watched the wolf until he finally walked out of sight. We headed out in the opposite direction down Lava Creek trail. It winds down to the Gardner river. (The river has no i in the spelling, the town does).

When the trail comes to the river, it veers to the left towards a place called Boiling River. It is actually just a place where there is a boiling hot spring beside the Gardner River, and the hot water flows into the river. The combination of the cold river water and the hot spring water make a perfect swimming hole:

I am SO coming back to this place this summer!!

We walked farther on the trail headed towards Gardiner when Denyse spotted a kill. A buffalo had been taken down by a wolf. We looked around, and sure enough we could see a wolf way off in the distance, across the road on a hillside:

YIKES! In reality, we weren't really that close to the wolf (I zoomed in)! We started hiking up the hill towards the main road. There were wolf watchers with big viewing scopes along the road, and they let us look through their scopes. I took a couple pics:

There are wolf tracks everywhere. The one below was along the edge of the road. They are big prints. It was bigger than my hand:

We walked the road back to where the vehicle was parked, and Rebekah spotted a coyote to the left of us:

When we got back to the vehicle, we decided to head to Old Faithful so we could walk along the boardwalks. All the trails close to Mammoth are either snow covered or muddy from melting snow. Along the way, we spotted a grizzly in the same exact spot we saw the grizzly on Wednesday. So, it was probably the same bear:

We arrived at Old Faithful and took the 3 mile loop back to Morning Glory Pool. Along the way, we saw buffalo enjoying the warm steam from all the thermal activity:

Morning Glory Pool:

After eating a burger in the Geyser Grill, we headed back to Mammoth. We watched a coyote stalking it's prey, a Canadian goose. The goose got away. It's a little hard to spot the coyote in the snow:
We also saw a Bald Eagle sitting in a tree along the Madison River. Beautiful!

We got back to Mammoth around 4:00. Had dinner in the EDR, and then Rebekah and I went to Ginny and Megan's room to watch 27 Dresses.

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