Yellowstone, part four


DAY FOUR

August 5, 2008
Today we leave our cabin at Lake Hotel and travel to the north end of Yellowstone to stay for a night in Roosevelt, named for our former President. We first travel to Mammoth Springs, one of only two locations which remains open year-round. We stop for a picnic lunch before touring Mammoth Springs and notice the significant changes in color since our visit eight years ago.

We browse through the gift shop in Mammoth Springs before trekking across
to check into our Rough Rider cabin – no bathroom or running water, but two comfortable beds with a wood burning stove. We are happy to have a night in Roosevelt at all; it’s by far our favorite part of the park. Sans the crowds which frequent Old Faithful, it is peaceful, pleasant and an easy jaunt out to my favorite place of all – Lamar Valley.
We sit in the big wooden rockers on the expansive front porch of Roosevelt until dinner. I wait in line for a half hour so that our family can be seated right away in the quaint dining room of the lodge. Afterwards, we hurry out for the evening. It doesn’t take long to spot a small group of avid wildlife watchers with scopes parked along a pull-out in the valley. One woman tells us that a black wolf has been spotted just a bit further up the road and advises us to look for Rick, one of the biologists who tracks the wolf.

When we catch up to Rick, we find out that “Ranger Rick” is actually Rick McIntyre, one of the original founders of the wolf program in Yellowstone. A kindly, quiet man, he holds up his antennae every few minutes to track the collared wolves and spends the rest of his time patiently answering visitor’s questions and asking us what we have seen, marking down details of number of wolves, coloring, and even gait and mannerisms of the wolves.
Just before dusk, a grizzly is spotted in the area, but it is only a dark dot on my weak binoculars. When the light finally fails us, we return to our rustic cabin happy and tired.
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