Walking with Junction Butte Grey Wolf
Photos: Please scroll down the page to view the photos.
I decided to take a walk alone on perhaps my favorite trial, up the mountain near a creek in Yellowstone, to the meadow on the other side. Near the end of the gravel path, just after the last pullout, I suddenly heard the loud swooshing of a golden eagle as it swooped down just a few feet over my head, coming from behind on the right. Of course I was startled and when they are that close they really look huge, especially flying right over you. She disappeared into a depression so I assumed a carcass was behind the rise.
I moved to a higher spot to see what she had. She flew again into the air and disappeared to the west over the creek. No carcass, but as I was looking a grey wolf suddenly appeared from the north, and trotted in my direction. Some people might suggest that the eagle was simply trying to slow me down and distract me long enough so that I would not miss the wolf sighting.
He eventually edged along the creek and disappeared going south along the creek. A nice full tail, and no problems with his gait, very little mange. I climbed the hill to the south, but there was no sign of him.
So I continued my hike for about another forty minutes and stopped to get a drink where the s-curves approach the top, just before the small pond. I turned and sat on a log and suddenly realized the same grey wolf yearling, only 13 months old and likely from the Junction Butte Pack, had been following me the whole time. He continued to walk towards me, and when he reached about 50- 60 feet from me he simply turned west up the hill and then turned again to continue north on the ridge. Before he disappeared he did a few great Rin Tin Tin poses for my camera.
This is the same trail where I met black wolf 754M, a few years ago, when the Lamar Canyons were using an old den site that had been abandoned by another pack. I think today's wolf was as curious about me as I was about him. Other than some distractions with the bison I got back to the trail head just fine. Bison always like to hog the trail and are most uncooperative about moving.... but some animals are that way.
BTW: For those who do not understand wolves, no I did not at any time approach the wolf, as this would never be appropriate in the wild. But at the same time, you should understand that I was not really in any danger as wild wolves may get curious, but they will make every effort to avoid any sort of conflict with a human. So being alone with this wolf in the wild, miles from any roads or other people, was truly a wonderful experience.