Audio Tale: Wolf Encounter in Glacier Bay National Park

Candice Gaukel Andrews September 27, 2018 1

Out of the thousands of animal encounters naturalist Richard Nelson has had in the wild, it was one with a gray wolf that he describes as “the” moment of incredible grace. ©William Campbell/USFWS

One summer morning, while camping on an island far off the beaten path in Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska, naturalist Richard Nelson and a friend set off in kayaks and paddled toward the mainland shore. The two were working on a project called “Voices of Glacier Bay,” an endeavor that involved using sensitive microphones and digital recorders to capture the natural sounds of this spectacular and singular park.

That morning, Nelson and his companion decided to separate so that they could each record in a different place along the shore. And it was on that morning that the naturalist had what he describes as “one of the most remarkable moments I’ve ever had in a lifetime of experiences in wild country.” He encountered a gray wolf.

Humans have a long history of eradicating wolves, rather than trying to adapt to them. Perhaps the “Voices of Glacier Bay” project will help us to become more accepting. ©Eric Cole/USFWS

Over two summers of making progress on the project, Richard and his friend came to learn that Glacier Bay National Park “sings” with a unique voice; they likened it to an immense intermingled chorus, composed of cascading water, chanting thrushes, trumpeting whales, huffing bears, wailing loons and, of course, the thundering ice. In total they compiled more than a thousand tracks for Glacier Bay’s library of natural sounds. But, says Nelson, it was the wolf encounter that stood out; a pivotal “moment of incredible grace.”

Click here to listen to the story of this amazing interaction in the wilderness of Glacier Bay National Park. If you’re like me, the last 40 seconds, especially, will move you to your core. As Nelson so eloquently puts it, a wolf’s voice seems to speak “for everything that remains wild in our world.”

Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,

Candy

One Comment »

  1. Thomas Sawyer September 30, 2018 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    Way cool!

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