All of the lectures, films, photos and books combined do not compare to an eye-to-eye personal encounter with a live wolf. In the intensity of a single gaze, we catch a glimpse of the untamed beauty, power and mystery of the wild. To touch, feel, smell, hear and experience these wild creatures helps not only the wolves, but also us, the people who want to understand and contribute to their fragile future.
We head to the Great Sand Dunes National Park, home of the tallest dunes in North America. For two days, the sand waves are our playground as we get acclimated and prepare for our time at Mission:Wolf.
For nine days we live nestled alongside the wolves in their home between the red alpenglow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the jagged peaks of the Greenhorn Wilderness area. Sadly, selling wolves and wolf-dogs as pets is big business; hundreds of these majestic creatures are abandoned when their owners can no longer provide the space and care they need. Working deep inside the pens, we assist the staff in the care and feeding of the 40 resident wolves. We repair old fences, construct new pens, restore habitat, and assist in the observation and documentation of wolf behavior to make sure the animals are well adjusted. At sunset, we hike and explore the many rivers and streams in this remote area.
Our adventure continues as we raft for two days—60 miles down the Arkansas River and rock climb in San Isabel National Forest. We spend our last day together on the road less traveled taking in breathtaking views of the Continental Divide at Cottonwood Pass, and celebrating both our new “pack” of friends and the difference we made in helping preserve an endangered species.