Last Saturday I headed up to Sun Valley, Idaho for a wolf tracking trip with Sun Valley Trekking, a local backcountry guide. We had a full house, with participants coming from as far as Malibu, California. Defenders sponsored this trip with the Western Wolf Coalition, to get people outside and interested in the native wildlife. After leaving the coffee shop at dawn we headed over to Greenhorn Valley, where we set up scopes and watched about 100 elk graze on the hillside. All of a sudden, one of the group spotted a dog-like animal on the side of the hill, not 50 yards from the elk. A quick glance by Jon Rachael, Big Game manager for Idaho Fish and Game confirmed that this was indeed a wolf.
For those who are lucky enough to go to Yellowstone to see wolves know the thrill of seeing them in their natural environment. This beautiful gray wolf slowly walked up the slope, occasionally stopping and looking back at us. The elk did not seem to mind him much, but they kept an eye on him and every now and again decided it was time to move a little bit further up the slope. We were also lucky enough to find an elk carcass that had been eaten by a couple of wolves. There was not much left except a couple rids and some hide.
After watching the wolf for abut 45 minutes, we strapped on our snowshoes and headed up into the Sawtooth foothills to get to our yurt for lunch. Over lunch, Francie St. Onge of Sun Valley Trekking gave us a great presentation on the biology and ecology of wolves. We also had Jon from the Idaho Fish and Game to answer any questions about the local wolves. A great day out was had by all, especially as we got to see wolves, plenty of elk, and all in our own backyard!