Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Crying Wolf

Twice, The boy cried, "Wolf!" Everyone came running to his assistance, but alas it was only a joke, a test, and there was no wolf. A third time, the boy cried, "Wolf." This time there was a wolf, but thinking the boy was once again fooling around, no one came to his aid. The rest is history! Or at least fable.

Today I cried, "Wolf!" Not because there was a foot of snow on the roof of the coach when I awoke this morning and I could have used some help. Not because it took me three hours to de-ice the rig before we could even think of moving on, and I could have used some help. Not because the weather wouldn't let up- and no one could have helped with that. No. I cried, "Wolf" because once we did get enough of a break in the storm to venture back onto the Alaskan Highway, I SAW my first-ever in the wild WOLF. A Gray Wolf. Not a fox! Not a coyote! And no, Mike, for sure not a chicken! This was a wolf. Standing out against the brilliant white of the new snow in the burgeoning light of the struggling sun. Backed by the white tips of the Black Spruce of the Drunken Forest behind him. Quiet in the silence of the snow. Still, in the silence of the moment. "Marilyn, Look!"

The wolf seemed as taken aback at seeing us roll down the highway as we were to see him standing there in his own space and time. The engine brake. The foot pedal. Open the slide window. Pass me the camera. Too late. If only the camera could do what the eye does...and make a record of the moment.

This was a first. Second only to cold nights around a warm campfire in Chicken two years ago- head laid back on the chair by the fire,woolen blanket wrapped tightly, eyes closed, ears wide open and listening to the calls and cries of the wolves off in the hills, but not too distant. How close were they. What did they look like. Would I see them before they saw me given the chance. Would we ever see them or be resolved to listen to their eerie sounds on dark nights when they were shielded from view. Today's dark overcast and quieting snow brought the wolf to the edge of view. Safe for him. Available to me. Sorry I am about the camera. But knowing that the entire trip, were it to hold nothing else of supreme intrigue, was worth its weight in gold in a single moment on a single mile of highway on the way back to the frontier. At a time when a wiser man may not have ventured out of a camp. Oh, but what a mistake that would have been regardless.

After the wolf came The Hill. A 10% grade rated as extreme that lowers you a couple thousand feet from Pink Mountain to The Sikinni Chief River and on into Fort Nelson. If you have an engine brake use it here. If not, use your lowest gear and not your brakes. Only other alternative is put major wear on your brake shoes. This is no toboggan run! Take it slow...or become the next tourist attraction on the Alaskan Highway!

Our campground in Fort Nelson, West End RV, sells a bumper sticker that says:
EAT MOOSE: 12,000 wolves can't be wrong! I saw! I mean, I see what they mean!

2 comments:

bob said...

"This was a wolf. Standing out against the brilliant white of the new snow in the burgeoning light of the struggling sun. Backed by the white tips of the Black Spruce of the Drunken Forest behind him. Quiet in the silence of the snow. Still, in the silence of the moment."

Now that is some really fine prose. From there an entire book can flow. Beats heck out of "it was a dark and snowy night".

Oh yes I can see a story that weaves the adventure of the wolf throughout this great northern land. Of course you will need a murder and a little theft and perhaps a flashback to the financial center of the world to gain some intrique but the opening line is now in place and it can grow from there. The hell with panning for gold. It is now searching for characters and Greg the novelist is born.

Thanks again for sharing your adventure.

Cindy said...

Enjoying your adventures very much - very interesting about the "inconvenience store". I have the 2009 edition of Milepost and was hoping it was accurate. I'm updating based on your info. And I was wondering about those 8,9 10% grades - your descriptions are great! Cindy