The weekend of March 11, 2006, Tracy and I decided to make a trip to see Yellowstone in the winter. I have been wanting to go for a long time, but it’s really hard to get up there in the winter because the north entrance in Gardiner, MT, is the only entrance that is open. This meant we had to drive all the way to Bozeman and then back down to Yellowstone. It took us about 8 hours to get to the Lamar Valley from Salt Lake. That having been said, though, it was an awesome trip for one big reason: we saw our first wild wolves.
On Saturday we got to watch three wolves from the Druid Peak Pack on an elk kill in the Lamar Valley. It was great. We watched the three wolves and even a couple of coyotes on the kill. Seeing wolves and coyotes at the same time, it was very easy to distinguish the two. The wolves were just much bigger and much more confident than the coyotes. Of course, the coyotes kept a good distance from the wolves, but whenever the wolves moved away from the kill the coyotes moved in for a quick bite.
The wolves were about 400-500 yards away, so I wasn’t able to get any pictures of them. As always, Yellowstone had lots of other wildlife. We saw lots of bison, several moose, elk, and a few other smaller animals. The snow wasn’t too bad. There was a lot of snow in Cooke City on the north east corner of the park, but otherwise the northern end of the park wasn’t too bad. It was also a great time to go because there were so few people. We hiked on the Slough Creek Trail on Sunday and pretty much had the trail to ourselves. Bottom line: Yellowstone in the winter was worth the drive.