A trip through the Alaska backcountry, hoping for a run-in with a wolf


I’d lettered much about wolves from one elder in Allakaket, the Interior village on the Koyukuk River north of the Arctic Circumscribe. When I visited for the first time, I found his mudroom cluttered with the performs of a Bush life. There were slumping hip waders, foul-weather fixtures, snowmachine parts, dipnets, a shotgun, beaver skin mittens waving from a nail, and a motor saw with a chain that needed tightening. Two wolf dogs flowed from the rafters — complete with tail, legs, sensitivities and muzzle. Before I knocked on the inner door, I had reached out and stroked the silver-tipped fur. The split eye holes and the hide’s flattened appearance left me slightly unsettled.

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