All Quiet on the Yellowstone Front

With temperatures well below zero, Yellowstone National Park is a unique winter-time experience. While Teton Science Schools does not provide snowmobile and snowcoach tours of Yellowstone; Wildlife Expeditions is busy providing the Natural Habitat Adventures Wolves and Wildlife Safari. This program is a weeklong and begins in Bozeman, Montana and ends in wonderful Jackson.

It has become increasingly rare for me to lead week long programs over the last year. This year I had the privilege of beginning the season in the company of Paul Brown and Erik Nelson. We were treated to amazing wildlife encounters and sunny winter weather. On day 1 shortly after entering the Lamar Valley Erik Nelson was quick to find remnants of the Lamar Canyon Pack. Our group was fortunate enough to watch these wolves until dark, with some of the best howling I have heard in a long time. After years of watching this pack it is hard not to anthropomorphize the meaning of this packs howls. Recently, the Lamar Canyon Pack lost its alpha female and beta male to the legal wolf hunt outside of the park boundaries. The pack appears to be going through some major changes. The alpha male spent hours howling in front of our group. It sure seemed he was calling his lost pack mates.

Following a few days in the northern range we began our snowcoach journey into the interior of Yellowstone. We were treated to clear blue skies and amazing stars. A personal highlight was photographing Old Faithful under a crystal clear night time sky. You just can’t compare the difference between summer and winter. ‘Silence and Solitude’ as coined by Tom Murphy is a perfect description.

Upon our exit of Yellowstone the Tetons welcomed us home. The alpenglow that we all love was perfect. The moose were abundant; some bulls had dropped their antlers while others worked to lose antlers.

Sometimes while working on the day to day chores of operating Wildlife Expeditions I forget about the unique place we call home. It was a pleasure to lead this group of travelers and to recharge my batteries.

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