tly ascending meadow, plunges steeplyrndownhill by switchbacks through thickrnforests cut by deep ravines. Pulling thernpacks from the gelding I noticed him staringrnacross the park to the treeline, wherernan elegant bowed form, something like arnHomeric harp in appearance, appearedrnto rest in the grass beside a young tree.rnThe form turned itself slowly, becomingrna massive set of paddles: I caught them inrnthe rifle scope and recognized a trophyrnbull moose bedded in the lush summerrngrass, placidly ruminating as he watchedrnus pitch camp and his cow, emergingrnfrom the woods behind him, grazedrnamong outcroppings of alpine rock.rnThis was bear countn,’ already. Wlnen,rna litrie before dusk, the mare lifted herrnnose from the grass and stood with herrnears forward, rigid and trembling on thernpicketline, I checked the rifle and restedrnit against a tree within reach of where wernsat drinking red wine bv the fire. WliilernNorma incinerated the remains of ourrnsupper and, using hot water and soap,rncarefully removed every trace of foodrnfrom the cookpots and pans, I broughtrnthe horses and tied them apart at oppositernends of the grove, klorses are always happyrnto let vou know when a bear approachesrncamp. We sat up late to enjovrnthe full moon blanching the high peaksrnand illuminating the surrounding parkrnand turned in finally with the loaded riflernbetween us and the unholstered revolverrnby mv head.rnOn tlie switclibacks next morning thernmare’s load shifted, the saddle turnedrnwith Norma still in it, and a minor wreckrnwas forestalled only by the presence ofrnmind of the horse, who stood patientlyrnwith her head lowered while we loosenedrnthe billet strap and heaed the saddlernwith the heavy pack attached to it intornplace again. Riding on we heard elkrncrashing off in the timber and foundrnfresh bear scat in the trail. I am less nervousrnabout a bear encounter as such thanrnof Saab Star under me should we meetrnone on the trail: hi fact, I think I’d ratherrnbe riding the bear.rnAt the foot of die pass we picked up fliernWest Fork of the Dunoir and followed itrnsouth through a series of descendingrnmeadows linked by patches of forest in arnlong valley overlooked by the Pinnaclesrnto the west and Coffin Butte on the easternrnside. The horses barreled ahead likerna Western freight, bringing us after onlyrnan hour’s ride to the trail fork where wernturned east along Falls Trail to thernDunoir’s East Fork. Though fat and softrnstill from ho years in New Mexico, thernhorses humped their way up the steeps asrnsteadily as if they were made of ironrnrather than just flesh and blood, thenrntook their wind back on the long levelrnsection of trail crossing beneath the reddish-rngray breccia head of Coffin Butterntowering abo’e the forested bench. Wernhad just passed the secondary trail up tornWatkins Lake when the gelding startedrnbetween my knees, halted abruptly, andrnput his ears forward. Expecting the worst,rnI turned him quickly in the trail to facernthe mare, dismounted, and handed thernreins to Norma.rn”Whaf s the matter?” she asked.rn”He saw something, or winded it. I’mrngoing ahead to find out what.”rnThe rifle slipped easily from the sweatsoftenedrnscabbard. I chambered a roundrnand started forward, holding the gun atrnmy hip and moving slowly, looking fromrnside to side up the trail. The horse hadrntoo much familiarity with elk to bernspooked b’ one. Something brownrnshowed behind a log 30 yards ahead. Irnbrought the rifle up to scope it and heardrna mewing cry from the woods beyond. Itrnwas answered by another, and suddenlyrnthe forest was filled with fleeing bodiesrnshowing reddish tan in the simlightrnfalling between the deep green trees. Irncounted eight cows and three calves, includingrnflic one that jumped from backrnof the log, before the rattling knock ofrnhooves striking against down fimber diedrnaway in the forest and the wilderness wasrnsilent again in the hot piney stillness of afternoon.rnWe made camp in a meadow beside arnfeeder creek, at a distance of a couple ofrnhundred yards from East Fork. Thernground was partly marshy, with richrngraze for the horses, and there were signsrnof a seasonal elk camp, among them arnspiked crosspole inside the treeline setrnhigh enough to hang a big bidl out ofrnreach of marauding grizzlies. I tied arnrock to one end of a length of nylon cordrnand the bear bag, containing the suppliesrnwe wouldn’t need for supper, at the other.rnIt took several tries to pitch the rock overrnthe crosspole, but the fourth or fifth madernit. I heaved the bag high, tied the rope offrnto a young fir tree, and returned to camprnfor the cocktail hour. Seated on a log besidernthe fire, we drank Jim Beam and waterrnand ate smoked oysters from a tinrnwhile the horses grazed hungrily, liftingrnflieir feet with a sucking sound froirr thernmarsh, and the rocky parapets aroundrnburned red with the evening sun.rn”Tliat’s Shoshone Pass up there,” Irntold Norma. “It doesn’t look all that interesting,rndoes it?”rn”Mostly if s just forest. Bliss Meadowsrnstill sounds intriguing, though.”rnOld Griz would walk ten miles for anrnoily, stinking can smelling of smoked ostersrn—and has. I threw the thing on thernfire to burn out while Norma spoonedrnchili into a pot and placed the first tortillarnin the trypan to brown. When supperrnwas ready I poured more Beam, and wernate seated on the ground with our backsrnagainst the log to watch the moonrise.rnWe had finished washing up from supperrnand settled ourselves for a last toddy as,rnfrom the direction of Shoshone Pass, arnhowl arose, deep and bodied and powerful,rnentirely unlike the coyote’s crackedrnfalsetto. I looked at Norma.rn”It’s a wolf,” I said. I’d never heard onernout-of-doors before, but the sound wasrnunmistakable.rn”Tliat could be. This is an experimentalrnrelease area in here.”rnThere’s a reason wli- wolves were exterminatedrnfrom this country by thern1920’s or 50’s, and I believe that ranchersrnare justified in wanting to shoot them.rnEven so, hearing one in the wild was anrnawesome thing, compared with vhichrnthe coyote howl is as unimpressive as arntoy poodle puppy yapping in a MadisonrnAvenue pet shop.rnThrough binoculars, I had a closerrnlook at Shoshone Pass in the morningrnand concluded there was nothing muchrnto be seen up there. Also, somethingrnwarned me not to push my luck on thisrnreturn trip to the Wyoming wilderness.rnI’d had moose and elk aird coyote andrnwolves, which was happiness enough:rnBliss, if it existed at all, would be overkill.rnWe made a day ride into the canyonsrnopening to the meadow, and next dayrnstruck camp and packed out. In Duboisrnwe went for supper at Cavallo Creekrnagain where we ate Black Forest mushroomsrnover pasta and drank another bottlernof Pinot Grigio, served by the samernwaitress who had seen us ofi^four days beforernon our trip. She asked if we’d had arnbear encounter, and if we had made itrnover Shoshone Pass. I told her no; maybernnext year. The girl made a face at me,rnprettily.rn”You know,” she said, “I didn’t want tornsay anything, but me and my ex-fiancernhiked in to Bliss Meadows last summer.rnIt was, like, a disappointment. There’srnreally nofliing much up there to see.”rn50/CHRONICLESrnrnrn