Sniffed by a Wolf





Several years ago I had a vision of guiding people into the wilderness to live as close to the earth as possible, so they could experience the magic of the natural world like I do.  I envisioned primitive living with a little modern comfort, because I was quite sure the clientele I wanted to reach were not interested in sleeping under a heap of damp leaves or curled up on a bed of ferns like I was.

I unrolled maps of several areas and spread them out on my table to search out the perfect spot for such an initiation.  I kept coming back to one map and with my pink highlighter I circled my chosen area to explore.  It was an oval-shaped, sheltered bay, with a tiny lagoon at one end and a small creek at the other, but the main reason I was drawn to the area was because it was near a large, grassy river estuary. This place just had to have a great diversity of plants and wildlife.

I packed up a sleeping bag, my bow-drill fire kit, journal materials, frying pan and a pot.  I wanted to find out just how easily I could survive off the land at this location.

The beach was gooey and muddy, but there were thousands of big shield limpets on the rocks, which would make a nice little appetizer.  The interior of the forest was absolutely magical.  The small creek, meandered and babbled through the camp around bright green ferns, red-spotted, huckleberry bushes and mossy covered logs.  The canopy was a mix of dark-green evergreens and splotchy, grey-barked alder trees.  The well-worn, animal trail criss-crossing the creek made the place perfect in the eyes of this wilderness dweller.

I hiked around the area for most of the day, mapping out the area in more detail, documenting edible and medicinal plants, animal signs and tracks and special places of interest.  An hour or so before twilight I lit a small fire, fried up a delicious dinner I foraged off the land and kicked back with a warm cup of spruce tip and berry tea.

I didn’t spend a lot of time gathering wood, so my small, smoky fire quickly turned to red, glowing goals which gave the signal to spread out my sleeping bag and crawl into the sag.  The forest floor felt soft and super comfy, well at least for me.  I can sleep, twisted up amongst a pile of rocks at this point in my naturalist career so I’m not a good source on what’s comfortable for most.  Though I did just bring out the most epic mattress and way too expensive sheets to my wilderness cabin and I feel like I’m sleeping on a cloud in heaven every night, but I digress…

I never bothered to wash my fry pan and just put my daypack and meagre supplies by my feet.  The night was unusually warm, I pulled my arms out of my bag and stared up at the stars.  I switched from my analytical, questioning mind to my child-like, wondrous one.  I expanded my awareness to encompass the entire area, becoming more and more sensitive to the tiniest of sounds, sensations to my skin and feelings to my heart.

In a gentle, hushed tone I began talking out loud to all who would hear me.  “Hello Ancestors, Forest, and all who are here to listen, thank you for such a beautiful day.” “I’ve come here to find out if this is indeed the place for me to bring new friends to. Please send me a sign that I will know, without a doubt, this is the place to bring magic back into people’s lives.”

Then I listened, which is something we often forget to do.  What if the Universe answered all our questions immediately, but our minds are just too busy, blabbering to us in doubtful language about the past, future or our safety and we can’t hear the answer over all the commotion?  How annoying would that be?  I wasn’t about to screw up in this moment, so I took a deep breath, relaxed and thankfully anticipated an answer.  I felt with all my spirit and when time ceased to exist and the world was once again a magical, wondrous place I heard something moving towards me.  Oh yeah, my heart started beating faster and louder in my ears.  I reminded myself that I was safe in such a space I was in.  I imagined myself sending out fearless, loving vibrations to the animal coming my way.

I knew it was a wolf.  The pattering of its trot sent visions of National Geographic wolf photos to my mind.  I felt my whole body shutter in excitement.  The wolf slowed to a curious sounding walk as it came near my sleeping bag.  It started sniffing around my backpack, the blackened coals of the fire and then it came to my feet, sniffing a bit up my legs and then stepped through them, not stepping on any part of me, even in the slightest.

As it trotted off again, my whole body was awash in tingling joy.  So overwhelmed was I, that I didn’t notice the other wolf until it too had slowed to an inquisitive walk as it approach me.  This wolf needed more of a smell around.  I could hear its nostrils flaring in and out as it sniffed up one side of me all the way to my uncovered arms.  The sensation of its breath on my skin was the magic I am always seeking.  I wanted to cry in thankfulness for such a gift.

A few minutes after the second wolf trotted off into the night they started howling and it wasn’t just two wolves, unbeknown to me, I was surrounded by them.  The whole pack, youngsters too, started singing their wild song.  I wanted to join them, but didn’t want to spoil the moment and kept my howling to myself.  It was like living in a real-life fairy tale, the kind we should be telling our children.

I had my answer.  I had found the Perfect place to bring people.  I joyously went home and told my friend about my experience and how excited I was to see if I could get permission to bring people to the land.  He just looked at me and shook his head in what seemed like disbelief.  I wasn’t sure how to take his reaction.  “He kinda wrinkled his nose as he shook his head again and said, “You can’t bring people there.  That is so dangerous.  No one wants to really see a wolf that close Nikki.”  I was stunned.  His point of view never even occurred me, but as my adventures settled in, I reluctantly agreed with him.  I needed to figure out another way I could ask Nature to show people the true magic of the world and the power we have to make all our dreams come true.


  1. Hey Nikki,
    I’d do a sleep over with you and know for certain so would Jake. Sorry we missed you this summer, Jake was hoping to jump off the cliff with you. Billy shared some of the BS you’ve recently been through with the locals, what a joke! Hope you have fully recovered and are doing well, Christmas Blessings.

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