Wolves: a real wolf encounter in the Alaskan Wilderness
By Merle Crouse
(August 14, 2006)
Here in Denali
People talk about grizzlies
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
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
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.
August 14 & 17, 2006 Savage River
Campground Denali National Park, Alaska Denali/Kenai Fjords
New Community Project