The next morning was chilly enough (low twenties) that the usual condensation inside my tent was all replaced by frost. A peek out from the vestibule showed visibility as bad as yesterday, so I plodded about preparing for the day, making breakfast while still half in my sleeping bag.
I kept the top of the vestibule flap open during this process, just to have a view of something other than the inside of my tent. At some point during all this fidgeting I looked up and saw--of all things--a caribou! A lone calf (about the body size of an average whitetail) was meandering around a quarter mile out in front of my door. Based on what I'd (not) seen so far, I knew this might be my only chance at meat and I should seize the opportunity.
Without bothering to change out of my million warm sleeping layers, I threw on overwhites and began a stalk. I moved slowly whenever the caribou was moving. When it stopped and lowered its head behind a hump in the tundra, I moved quickly, aiming to intercept it before it wandered out of reach. In 10-15 minutes I stopped at what I figured would be my closest approach, a spot where I ran out of terrain to use for cover, and I dropped for a prone shot with my new bipod. The caribou saw me as I positioned, spooked, and ran. But caribou often stop quickly to sniff and assess the danger, and this one offered a broadside shot at 200 yards. My .300 WSM did its part.
I returned to the tent for breakfast, then got to work quartering the caribou and trimming everything into game bags. The weather finally cleared enough to give me some fantastic views, and I was all done by 2:30.
I took about an hour then to look around the newly revealed mountainsides with my spotting scope. There was another grizzly on a big hill six miles northwest across the river, and a lone cow caribou on a mountain ridgetop seven miles north. Then, five miles up the valley across the river, I saw one caribou disappear behind a hump of tundra. I watched for it and found another, and realized I was seeing the trailing end of a herd of about 250--including some nice bulls--that had come down out of the mountains and were moving around to the northwest.
The ant-like specks in the green oval are a herd of about 250 caribou almost 5 miles away.
After the show I took my meat 2/3 mile down to the river and stashed it in some willows on the gravel bar, so I could float out the next day.
Dinner was Mountain House Lasagna and a victory Snickers. The big herd of caribou across the valley had bedded down. There was some temptation to move into their area, but it would have been a full day's travel, and there's no telling where the caribou would be by then. So I stayed at my dry camp to enjoy the sunset.