Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day Three in Yellowstone!


7-1 2010 – Late this morning the WCC adventurers ascended a steep overlook to take a moment to remember a dear friend. Apache, the leader of the WCC’s ambassador wolf pack, died of cancer on March 10th, almost four months ago.

We shared some memories, shed some tears and cast handfuls of Apache’s ashes into the air, the wind carrying his remains above the Lamar Valley confluence, where the Lamar and Soda Butte Rivers blend. The ceremony was just another reminder that while one era had ended, others are just beginning.

Apache’s remains now reside in the area that the Druid Peak pack, some of the first Yellowstone wolves released into the park, once claimed as their own. Since the arrival of those early pioneers, wolves have thrived in the park, none more dramatically than the Druids. The Druids have been the subject of several documentaries and, like Apache, have inspired people far beyond their territory. The Druid Peak pack is now officially gone, the last Druid wolf dying just a few weeks ago. Today, a new pack, the Silver Pack, claims this prime real estate as its own. This relatively new pack has been quick to challenge the social norm, not unlike the early Druids, and thus has generated wonder within those who spy them through their scopes. For two days we have observed the Silvers interact with coyotes, bears and one another. These wolves have been busy, with a bright future riding on the survival of their four healthy (and adorable!) pups.

Only time will tell what the future holds for the Silver Pack. New packs will continue to emerge and also collapse, it’s Nature’s way. One thing we can trust is that Apache will forever dwell among so many other principal characters in the wolf world. Apache is now a part of the Yellowstone landscape, a wondrous place for a phenomenal soul.

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