The Howl of a Wolf, Wild and Free

In all our many years of traveling and hiking in natural areas, we had never heard the howl of a wolf.  Then, we had the joy of hearing our first wolf while dispersed camping in public land just outside Kooteney National Park in British Columbia, Canada.

Wolf in the wild. Copyright © Fremlin's Photo Stream Image Used Under Creative Common License

We were sitting by the campfire outside our RV on a hill overlooking the small town of Radium Hot Springs.  The night was warm, and the air still.  As we roasted marshmallows and listened to the crackle of the campfire, we heard it: a lone wolf, further up the hill, howling.  We moved away from the fire sounds to be able to better hear the wolf.  The howl was loud and seemed near, possibly only a 1/4 mile away.

The howl sounded so mournful, sometimes building up slowly to the traditional wolf howl:  “Owe, owe, owwwwwwweeee”  Other times, the wolf would almost whimper for a time, then howl, then whimper.  The wolf continued for about 45 minutes, stopping for a time before starting again.

Wolves howl to communicate with each other, and since this wolf was calling from the top of a hill, its voice could be heard by other wolves many miles away.  Perhaps the wolf was telling its pack its location or that there was good prey in the area or that it had found a good den site. 

We listened in raptured awe, feeling the presence of the wolf and knowing we were eavesdropping on his world.  The purity of his howl embodied all that is wild and unspoiled in nature.  I said a prayer for the wolf that my kind will let it remain unharmed and free to roam, and to live the life it was meant to live.

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