We got up before sunrise (both of us!) to get into the Lamar Valley for some wolf watching. At our first stop we were hanging out with Doug McLaughlin, one of the Yellowstone wolf gurus. We had
no luck there and heard reports of one further down (the wolf guys all have radios.) After a quick, and fortuitous bathroom stop, we were stopped from driving by another wolf-watcher, Rick McIntyre, to let 3 wolves cross the road in front of us! Two greys and a black crossed from their normal high ground across to the river valley. We drove to the next parking spot, where Doug had 'scoped' out the situation. We setup our spotting scope and watched the 3 for a 1/2 or so. All three crossed back across the road, one with a chunk of meat in its mouth. We took a bunch of pictures through the spotting scope, but none any good. If you knew they were wolves, you could see them, otherwise they were blobs in the distance.
After the wolves we headed to Roosevelt Lodge, stopping to watch and listen to a group of Sandhill Cranes. We had a quick 2nd breakfast, then headed to the Petrified Forest. This is a strange trail - it's not on the maps, but is in many books all visitor centers have handouts about it. A very steep, rocky trail that was only ~3 miles round trip and well worth it. Many petrified tree stumps. Fortunately we came across a father & daughter who'd hiked it before and steered us to the largest stumps. We heard from a ranger that were also petrified breadfruit!? We never saw anything like that. Then back to the car & back to Roosevelt Lodge for lunch. Some Mule deer posed nicely along the road.
After lunch we headed up the trail along the Yellowstone River Canyon. This is the very end of the 'Grand Canyon of Yellowstone' and was a LONG way down. We saw several osprey and spotted a young sitting on a nest across the canyon. The parents were trying to get it to leave, since it's time for them to fend for themselves. We hiked to a spot across from Tower Falls, but couldn't see them from that angle. Back to the car to see a fox trotting around the parking lot. There is a view of the petrified trees from the road, far up the hillside. Then a nice pronghorn posing along the Lamar.
If you are interested in the wolves, google Doug McLaughlin or Rick McIntyre with the word wolf or yellowstone. Fascinating stuff.