Wolves: a real wolf encounter in the Alaskan Wilderness

By Merle Crouse

 

(August 14, 2006)

Here in Denali

People talk about grizzlies

Moose

Caribou

As the wildlife you really look for

On the bus trail into the park.

The drivers comment a little about wolves

But the expectation for seeing one or more

Is not high.

Our group of campers from New York, Illinois, Colorado, Florida, Indiana and Washington State

Was resting on the rocks of a

Savage River tributary

Not far from camp

When Mary said: “There’s a wolf!”

In full view

A lanky, yellow-tan wolf trotted across the open space

Alert Wary Curious.

He stopped and looked at the humans scattered around. He was rusty behind his ears,

Black on his face and tail.

Then he melted into the brush

Moving up stream.

 

(August 17, 2006)

Three days later Back in camp after a long day deeper in

Denali Park, It is 1:00am or thereabouts.

We are buried in our sleeping bags

At rest

When the quietness of the woodland is broken. “Hey! Listen! Wolves!”

A mixture of whining and howling penetrates the silence.

How many wolves are joining in the group sing? What is the message?

Who is the message for?

Who is listening?

Finally a major voice stands out with a howl

That goes up the scale to the perfect note

Loud

Clear

Prolonged

A dominating sound

Ringing across untamed hills and valleys

Wilderness soul music

That causes lesser creatures to hold their breath and cringe,

Hoping to be invisible,

Reminding them that they live in a dangerous world, That the wolf is a monarch in the North Country, That this part of the earth at least

Belongs to Nature’s children.

--Merle Crouse

 

August 14 & 17, 2006 Savage River

Campground Denali National Park, Alaska Denali/Kenai Fjords

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