The impression of paw prints are about half the size of my hand. They have been left less than an hour from the time I see them. They are not left by Coyote, but by Wolf. The sun, just lifting off from the horizon on a sage-brushed bench above the Yellowstone River, is turning the blue of predawn snow melt in the print into salmon, then turquoise as the sky lightens. The wind is chilled by distant snow. Reluctantly I leave the impressions of the hunter and turn to continue walking up hill with classmates together for "Raven and Coyote" in Yellowstone National Park. We set up scopes and glass the hill on the opposite side of the river for a grizzly bear feeding on a recent kill.
Ravens in their pecking order hop, leap and fly in a pattern of glossy shadows. Yellowstone gives up its secrets uneasily. The grizzly rolls over, sated, and the Ravens move in. Coyote, skilled in singing more than one note at a time, serenades us. The tricksters are afoot.