A week or 2 through the winter boreal forest hoping to find wolves is always a treat – whether the wolves show themselves or not. So far, no luck – they remain the mystery.
But what a treat it is to hear their howls, or find their soft tracks in the snow, and to know they too sift through the boreal forest. To enter the winter boreal forest is to enter the realm of the wolf – the home of Canis lupus. Few creatures can quite so vividly engage our mind and spirit like the wolf – so rarely even seen, yet so enmeshed in our cultural histories and stories.
I’ve walked I don’t know how many miles and waited hours, days, hoping for a glimpse, and yet the pack remain unseen. The reward though, is the detail this adventure forces me to see, hear and smell. One can’t help but become more in tune with the depths of the forest in the presence of the wolf. The white spruce, Picea glauca, cracks in the cold, the willow bend under their heavy snowload, and the cold seeps into the landscape.
I’ve yet to see or photograph a wolf in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, though I’ve had some amazing experiences: listening to the calls of the pack under the aurora borealis, or stumbling onto their tracks in the mud, or finding the remains of their recent kills. Maybe one day the pack will grant me their witness. Or not. Either way they remain, and the forest resonates with their wild being.