Skiing with the Wolves
January 13, 1990
Dennis was alone at the homestead and I was in Anchorage teaching school when this adventure took place. In Dennis' words:
It was a beautiful day, perfect for cross-country skiing. The snow was silky smooth and my poles made a squeak every time I moved them.
I was about two miles from the cabin, skiing alone. My plan was to ski four miles and then back to the cabin. Suddenly, I noticed motion out of the corner of my eye. I turned and saw three full-grown wolves, 120 to 160 pounds. They were about 100 yards away, trotting along parallel to my course. I stopped and looked closer. I could now see six wolves. They started working their way through sparse brush toward me. I thought it was strange because they could see me. Usually wild animals flee from humans. Did they think I was an animal?
My curiosity was so great that I skied directly toward them to get a better view. I put my ski poles up on my head to look like antlers and wiggled them back and forth. At that point, they started running full out right towards me. I looked to my left and saw another wolf circling around to cut off my escape route. I counted and there were now nine wolves, apparently led by a huge black wolf that held back while the others advanced. A chill ran up my back as I tried to figure out what to do. I didn't have a gun and there were no trees. There was nobody else within miles.
Suddenly, the leader turned his head and retreated about ten feet. All the others stopped, as if there had been some silent communication. They turned around and ran back to the leader, who continued watching me carefully. I put my hand to my mouth and started howling. They stopped and looked directly at me. By this time, the wolf that had circled around was running as fast as he could to get back to where the others were. I howled several more times before they started to slowly meander away. I continued skiing in the same direction and they paralleled my course at a distance of 300-400 yards. They stayed with me for the next two miles before our paths diverged.
On the trail, there were lots of tracks. One wolf apparently had a cut foot, possibly from running in deep snow.
There has never been a proven case of a wolf attacking a person in North America, although it's probably unwise to pretend to be an animal! The photo shows Susan skiing near where this incident took place. Unfortunately, Dennis didn't have a camera that day.
Go on to read Charged by a Bear
Source: www.SusanCAnthony.com, ©Susan C. Anthony