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When I was about eleven years old, I suddenly became intrigued by a specific National Park: Yellowstone. At the time, wolves were my favorite animal, and it had been that way for a few months. I was longing to see one in real life, and not only that, but in the wild. When I discovered that Yellowstone had several wolf packs, I was ecstatic. For a while, I begged and pleaded with my parents to take our family on a camping trip to Yellowstone.
Finally, my wishes were fulfilled in April 2013 when we finally got to go Yellowstone as a birthday gift. I was absolutely thrilled!We left on a Friday morning in June later that year. I could barely contain my happiness. The road trip was a bit of a drag, as it took at least five hours to reach our destination, with a couple of bathroom stops along the way. Despite the boring ride, I was still in a good mood. We arrived at our campground that evening. We pitched our tent, cooked some dinner, and then walked to where our family friends were staying. Apparently, they decided to join us on our camping trip. At first I wasn’t too excited to be doing all of our animal-watching and hiking with a bunch of people I barely knew, but they turned out to be very nice people. The next morning, we woke up extra early to scout for animals. We got to watch a huge herd of bison cross a long, sparkling river, as well as a couple of monstrous grizzly bears. It was a very cool experience to witness the bears on their morning hunts, but I was still waiting for that wolf.
We came back to camp for some breakfast, then set out again to do some more animal-watching. This time, we saw a mama black bear and two cubs playing on a log. The roads were packed with noisy cars and tourist with their cameras, all trying to get a good look at the adorable bear family. After lunch, we went hiking in Lamar Valley. We saw all kinds of gorgeous wildflowers, as well as a variety of birds big and small. Although we had definitely seen a lot more animals than most people have when they go to Yellowstone, I was still anxiously waiting for a wolf. On our way back to camp, we stopped by a hill where a large group of people with spotting scopes and huge, expensive cameras were standing. These people were known as “Wolf Watchers”, meaning they come to Yellowstone many times a year with high-tech equipment for tracking wolves. They told us that there was a wolf den a few hundred feet further up the mountain, and they were patiently waiting for the wolves to come out. We chose to stay and wait with them, but unlike the rest of the crew, I was very impatient. A half of an hour had passed, and still no wolves. It was getting dark and chilly. My dad kept telling me that we should leave so we could get dinner started, but I refused to move. Another thirty minutes had passed, and by now I was freezing cold. The sun had gone down almost entirely.
At last, I reluctantly agreed to hop in the car and drive back to camp. Disappointed that I had yet to see a wolf with only half a day left of being in Yellowstone. The next morning, we gave it one final shot. In the wee hours of the morning, my dad, mom, and family friends, exited the campground and drove through Hayden Valley, which was said to be a popular spot for wolves. Sure enough, the Wolf Watchers were already up and ready for the day. A giant cluster of them were gathered around one particular area off the side of the road, probably double the size of the previous group we saw. When we asked what they were looking at, they said there was a black wolf lying down in the meadow in the distance, with big, yellow, tired eyes, its fur matted yet still silky from napping. You could tell he really did have a “bed head”. They graciously allowed us to look through their spotting scopes. At last, after all that unnecessary trouble, I had finally seen a wolf.
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