Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The wolf and me


In my days on the road, when I moved across the country every six months, I thought staying in one place and with one person meant the end of independence. Most people I knew who did this seemed entwined in a way that wasn't acceptable to me. I've always been more independent than most women I have known. It took me forever, but I found someone who lets me breathe, and so I decided to celebrate "Independence Day" in my own way--a solo backpacking trip. (J was on his own biking trip, so he wasn't pitifully left at home.)

I had to work on Friday, so I didn't get to the trailhead until twelve-thirty, a miscalculation, I realized, since temperatures have unreasonably soared into the nineties. I slogged along at a 2 mph pace, wondering how I would ever pull off 20 mile days in the Marble Mountains. 

A youth in huge hiking boots caught up to me as I reached Aneroid Lake. I showed him the nice camping spots and he plopped a tent down near mine. That was all right, I thought. He was by himself, and his dogs would keep bears from coming into camp. He was only staying one night, he said, as he set up his tent.

I was filled with the relentless desire to explore, so I headed out for a day hike to see how far up the pass I could get. I soon climbed into a basin that always intrigues me. It is so wide and open and wild. I hardly ever see anyone here.


Looking toward Tenderfoot Pass.
 Having not grocery shopped, I wasn't carrying much food, so I wasn't sure if I had the energy to climb off trail to Jewett Lake. In the end, of course, I couldn't resist. There was still plenty of snow to cross.

 As many times as I have been here, I still can't control the huge smile I get when I see the lake. It is just too perfect.
 I settled near a log and took a couple of pictures. Then I noticed an animal on the other side of the lake. It was....A WOLF!

I wasn't afraid. I held my breath as it stared back at me. For just a moment, the world stood still. Then the wolf ran across the snowfield and was gone. I felt incredibly lucky to be there at that moment.

I returned to Aneroid Lake, hoping the caretaker of the private cabins was around. Maybe he would have food. Alas, he wasn't, so I returned to my camp for tuna and crackers. But...something was missing! The guy's tent was gone! What had happened, I wondered. He wasn't camped anywhere else along the lake. Had he discovered he had forgotten something? Had the eternal quiet been too much? Sometimes, independence comes with a price.

At any rate, he was gone, the mystery never to be explained. I sat next to my tent and looked out over the lake. Up there, somewhere, wolves roamed.

19 comments:

  1. Wonderful! Solitude, beauty, wilderness, wolf! Thanks for taking me back to 10 years ago when I camped at Jewett Lake and found so many varieties of wildflowers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not many wildflowers right now!

      Delete
    2. Later! It was in August, after the snow and when you can jump in Dollar Lake without stopping your heart!

      Delete
  2. Oh how cool that you saw a wolf! It was probably enjoying the solitude too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad I wasn't camping there because I think they need all the solitude they can get before more people show up.

      Delete
  3. Awesome and beautiful Mary, I would have loved to see the wolf, hope I do see them someday. I spent my weekend in East Eagle and took a grueling day hike up Sullivan creek canyon ( not much of a trail anymore) to the top looking down on Little Eagle meadows and lupine for as far as I could see! It was so beautiful that it made me cry with joy....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm hoping to spend more time in the Eagle drainages this summer.

      Delete
  4. Seeing a pack of wolves in the wild rank among my favorite experiences (mine were on Thunder Mountain in Juneau.)

    Beautiful spot there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We didn't have them in Sitka. The way it was mansplained was that only islands with black bears also had wolves. No idea if that is true but we had no black bears..

      Delete
    2. That's interesting. The Juneau area had many black bears, but no grizzlies or moose. I think the mainsplaining for the moose was they were all hunted out of the region during the Gold Rush era, and never returned.

      Delete
    3. My man-derstanding is that brown bears tend to dig up the dens and kill the pups, so in confined areas like the ABC islands they keep the wolves--and black bears--out. On the mainland there's enough room for some separate territories to be established.

      Tom
      Fairbanks

      Delete
  5. Wow! The reflection on the lake is gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen, this is just off trail from a great one way 14 mile trail run you could do!

      Delete
  6. I'm so relieved. I thought you were going to relate that the lone camper had taken items from your tent! Love the photos and fantastic that you saw the wolf.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did wonder....but I had taken all valuable items with me.

      Delete
  7. What incredibly beautiful scenery and to see a wolf too! So very special!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Aneroid Lake is my favorite trip in the Eagle CapsThanks for taking me back to it! And a wolf!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Beautiful pictures! Looks like a peaceful and soul searching time.

    ReplyDelete

Hello out there. If you liked this post, please leave a comment so I keep writing!