May 21

Traveling to the North Pole, Part 10: Eclipse, with Wolves

In Arizona, this eclipse was annular (ring-shaped) but at these latitudes, we’re so much above the annular effect that the moon’s silhouette only convers about 10-20% of the sun’s disk.  It was very cloudy here, but there was a hole for about 90 seconds, and I was ready:

 

 While I was busy getting this shot, I kept an eye out for wolves.  Sure enough, at some point I found this guy approaching me nonchalantly from behind:

 

 He was just doing his job – patrolling for interesting possibilities, but I yelled and stamped at him and he went away.  Earlier, I’d had breakfast with the quarry crew, who are making gravel to augment the runway here.  Wolves hang out in the quarry area more than anywhere else because of the activity and the proximity of the garbage dump, where trash is burned using old cooking grease as an accelerant.  So, the quarry crew is intimately familiar with the wolves, having named each one of them and recognizing them by sight.  They told me that the animals will approach from behind and experimentally nibble on people’s legs and hands, but a good kick will make them understand that it’s not going to work.  They are not afraid of the wolves, but understand that they must be wary of them.  In the past 72 hours I’ve had a few encounters that made me feel the same way.

here are a couple of wolves next to the burning conatiner.  There is a discarded mattress lying there that seems to be a favorite hangout, and I bet it’s warm when the trash is burned!

 

The dirt road to the quarry is right on the shoreline.  Behind this wolf, the Arctic ocean stretches away to the horizon, to the pole, and beyond:

 

4 comments

4 Comments so far

  1. DiAnne May 21st, 2012 9:39 PM

    Thanks for all the cool photos, and narration of your adventure. Ruby is especially enjoying them, and finds the huge expanse of ice facinating!!!

  2. DiAnne May 21st, 2012 9:40 PM

    fascinating

  3. DiAnne May 21st, 2012 9:40 PM

    and, you did get a photo of the eclipse!!! Of course!!!

  4. Gaelyn May 22nd, 2012 9:05 AM

    Sounds like the wolves are little spoiled up there. Would be a little disconcerting to have them sneaking up from behind and terrifying to be nibbled on.

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