We headed out before dawn on our first trip into Yellowstone. We were giddy as we sighted the Roosevelt Arch at Yellowstone’s North Entrance, where Roosevelt gave a dedication speech in 1903 and laid the cornerstone for the arch.
Kira Cassidy, a biologist with the Yellowstone Wolf Project, kicked off our first full day of exploration. She possesses a wealth of information from her twelve years studying and documenting the wolves of Yellowstone. Kira told a story about one of her favorite wolf experiences. A wolf nervously moved at the top of a snowy ridge. With one misstep and a howl, the wolf set off an avalanche; fortunately, that wolf, as well as the opposing pack at the bottom of the ridge, all escaped unscathed.
Kira spotted our first wolf at the top of Specimen Ridge, near the west end of Little America. We each took turns excitedly viewing this majestic canid. Imagine our surprise when, all of a sudden, a vehicle pulled up and out jumped Rick McIntyre! We were admittedly all quite starstruck due to him being featured in our required reading about the history of wolves in the park. Amid snapping selfies with Rick, we eagerly listened to his knowledgeable insights into the various packs of wolves and their lineages. He became such an aficionado through his over thirty years of observations of the Yellowstone wolves.
It wasn’t long after that we noticed four coyotes interacting with three wolves on the north side of the road in Little America. One wolf was a yearling female (less than a year old) and the other two were born in the spring of 2022. They were from the Junction Butte Pack.
Later in our journey we headed towards Barronette Peak where we spotted a beautiful red fox right on the road. She gave us a show as she posed on a seasonal stream. It flows during times of high snow melt in the spring. This third canid led us to the achievement of a three dog day, meaning we had observed a fox, coyote, and a wolf all in one day!
Today was epic, but we are even more excited about what tomorrow holds: we will pile into a snowcoach and travel throughout the interior of the park down to Old Faithful.