Wolf, waves, coyotes, rain, wine, goose, friends.

Gray wolf (photo courtesy Keweenaw Bay Indian Community game cameras)

Gray wolf (photo courtesy Keweenaw Bay Indian Community game cameras)

Wolf pauses by the gravel roadside, erect, regal.  His fur coat gleams in autumn.  He looks neither left nor right, yet seems to sense everything in his world.

I creep forward in the car, mesmerized by this creature of the deep woods.  His companions increase yearly and some Michigan voters want to ban the wolf hunt.  Others desire to manage the creatures, culling the herd, attempting to make sure wolf teeth don’t bite into small dogs.

This one may be a lone wolf.  Or his pack might linger just behind the hemlock trees.  He might be an alpha, a dominant one, or perhaps one of the male youths.  He may be a she.  I know little of wolf gender, culture or politics.

Last night around dusk the woods erupted in howls.  Dog, coyote, or wolf?  We listened intently.  Barry thought coyote.  I voted for dog and coyote.  Dog barks punctuated the swell of yipping voices.

Baby wolf (photo courtesy Keweenaw Bay Indian Community game cameras)

Baby wolf (photo courtesy Keweenaw Bay Indian Community game cameras)

We saw a man with dog walking on the ridge behind the house on our property.  Who might he be?  Did he carry a gun?  Was he our neighbor’s son, a bear hunter, a stranger?

The yips and barks continued for a half hour.  I ambled in the low light along the road and listened to the eerie voices.  You can make up stories from now until the sun comes up, but who knows what is really happening away from the gravel and “Pavement End” signs?

The pavement doesn't end here.  There isn't any pavement any more.

The pavement doesn’t end here. There isn’t any pavement any more.

It’s an odd autumn.  Leaves shimmered bright reds and oranges a week or two ago before the temps rose to near 80 degrees.  Many leaves gave up their brilliance and fluttered to the ground in shades of yellow and brown.  Some trees still wear flashy green.  Others dance bare in the wind.  It’s an odd fall, indeed.

On the weekend mornings I sipped coffee and heard gunshots down by the bay, bang, bang, bang.  Hunters wearing orange aimed at fat geese resting while heading south.  A grandmother roasted goose for Sunday dinner, I’m betting.  Perhaps the fowl freezes until Thanksgiving in some local freezer.

We walked in a steady rain on Saturday with our friends in a new nature preserve area.  A million colorful leaves painted a canvas at our feet.  With rain coats, hats, boots and mittens we looped back and forth up a hill near the Pilgrim River.  Why do folks stay inside when it rains?  If you’re dressed properly, it’s a joy to wander for two or three miles.

Autumn leaves

Autumn leaves

Later we dined at Fitzgerald’s Restaurant up in Eagle River.  You must secure reservations a week in advance.  The tiny restaurant shores up against Lake Superior and all we could see were whitecaps and waves almost dashing against the building.  It felt like sailing in a ship without seasick pills.

Our group ate dishes like pulled pork and brussels sprout salad and new red potato salad and corn muffins and later shared a pecan bourbon pie.  We delighted to chat with other friends sitting across the way.

Almost two hours away from our Little House in the Big Woods, we toasted “Cheers!” and “Prost!” and felt the natural elements all around us.  We felt warm inside the restaurant with wild waves crashing outside.

Wolf, waves, coyotes, rain, wine, goose, friends.

‘Tis a rich life, indeed.  Cheers, dear readers.


About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in October 2014 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Wolf, waves, coyotes, rain, wine, goose, friends.

  1. rehill56 says:

    Love the “picture” you painted. 😉

  2. Elisa says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience.

  3. such warmth expressed–you wrapped me in pleasure

  4. Debbie M. says:

    The U.P. is beautiful in the fall. The type of beauty we come to expect from the less-traveled road of Yuppers. I just returned from visiting my dad in Hancock. I grew up in Houghton and have watched the changes over many years, sometimes only noticing them when I return for a visit. I was so impressed with all the Michigan Nature Association gems of little parks dotted throughout the Keweenaw Peninsula. My husband and I spent a lot of time hiking and enjoying the scenery you so often blog about. I was with you in spirit! 🙂

  5. lisaspiral says:

    Fall seems to be the time for storytelling. All of the blogs I’m reading have taken a poetic bent this week trying to convey the feel of the season. The howling in the dark woods, leaves falling and crunching on the ground suits the mood. Snuggle up in that rich life of yours.

  6. john k says:

    Down South this week. Thank you for transporting me back, even if it was only for a few moments. My best friend is coming up for the first time next week. He is recovering from a lung infection. Is the lower part of Nara an easy trail?

  7. Brenda says:

    Kathy, it sounds like a beautiful autumn up there in the northwoods ❤ Colorful leaves washed clean from the rain, howling coyotes, wolves or dogs at night, crashing waves on my favorite lake, yummy food at a lakeside restaurant and the memories made with friends ❤ Thank you for sharing these beautiful moments with us.

  8. sonali says:

    I’m getting a little worried. Wolves? They can cause a danger. How do you stay in the woods for so long with all these things around? Aren’t you scared? Oh Kathy, you are indeed very brave.

  9. CHEERS indeed!

    I love your photographs, but more so your verbiage that breathes them to life. Thank you for sharing your little corner of the world 🙂

  10. Susan D says:

    Wonderful way to start the week. Just love your descriptions, as always. Can hear the creatures yipping and howling; can hear the rain on your lovely tour. Walking in the rain is the best. Thank you for this today 🙂

  11. Kryssy says:

    This what I found on the net (on to tell the difference between a male and female wolf).

    Males are larger than females, and have broader faces and blockier muzzles (this might not be obvious unless you are quite familiar with the species). Females are somewhat slimmer, appearing more “feminine”. The sheath of the male’s penis is fairly obvious, located on his belly close to his hind legs, and you may be able to see his testicles if he raises his tail (these are more prominent in the breeding season). Here’s an image of a male and female together:

  12. lucindalines says:

    Oh what a romantic picture you have given us in photo and more so in words. I have been hearing the yippings of the coyotes across the creek from our little town. I always fear for my cats when I let them outside to wander at night, but even more I used to be thankful that my dog was in a secure kennel because he was the kind who would have run with them, and perhaps not made muster as part of the pack. Enjoy your nature and stay safe. I guess it is only those who live in it the deepest who are able to endure it the best.

  13. A beautiful post Kathy. I love wolves, and have read several books about them – fiction and non-fiction. There’s been talk for several years of reintroducing them to the wild here in Scotland because of the damage caused by an overly large population of red deer (the last wolf was officially shot not far from where I now live over 300 years ago in 1680) but there’s still too much opposition at the moment. It certainly sounds like a rich and wonderful week. I love your description of feeling like you were out at sea as you ate your delicious meal:-) May fall continue you to share her beauty and colours with you, and stay safe in those magical mysterious woods! Blessings, Harula xxx

  14. Dana says:

    My maiden name has the Latin derivative for wolf “Lup[…]” right at the front of it, so wolves have always fascinated me. I love the photos you included in this post! Very rich images to complement even richer words. 🙂

  15. Carol says:

    Cheers, Kathy. Here’s to the howling of wolves, coyotes and dogs and newly fallen golden leaves in rain puddles.

  16. Lori D says:

    I’m feeling the eerie from those sounds. Got a chill. Woooh. Sounds like a pleasantly peaceful time up in Eagle River.

  17. dorannrule says:

    “Where the pavement ends” is my favorite phrase in your amazing story – your photos and words do paint a fabulous picture of nature’s wonders and the joys in finding them.

  18. Interesting post, Kathy. Loved the pics. The meal you enjoyed sounds delicious.

  19. dawnkinster says:

    Wow Kathy! Sounds beautiful. Brings back some memories tho I never saw wolves when I lived there.

  20. I Wilkerson says:

    Sounds like you are making the most of fall. The baby wolf is darling. I haven’t seen anything more intimidating than a coyote. One trotted across the “cabin” backyard looking right at us and not hurrying or changing route. I was glad our cats our indoor only then!

  21. Sounds lovely, however, I have no knowledge of that world of lake and wolves and eating lakeside. I do walking in the rain and like another reader, the phrase “Where the pavement ends struck a chord. I lived beyond where the pavement ended. Just last weekend, I travel those gravel, dusty roads.
    Thank you for taking us on this trek. We get to live vicariously through your words.

  22. Robin says:

    Beautiful post, Kathy. ♥ I’ve often wondered the same thing about the rain and why people don’t get out and enjoy it more. I think we could use a wolf or two out this way, although the farmers would probably disagree. The hunters might disagree as well, now that I think about it. Competition.

  23. P.j. grath says:

    I have a fond memory of a surreal experience, sitting at an outdoor table at Fitzgerald’s, eating and drinking with friends and discussing French poststructural philosophy while waves crashed almost at our feet. This year we didn’t get that far north but did enjoy Grand Marais, Munising, Marquette, and beautiful roads and trails and paths betwixt and between, with the most gorgeous color I’ve ever seen in the U.P. along H58. Unbelievable! Magical! Memorable….

  24. It’s been a few years since I’ve read them, but your post made me think of books “The Call of the Wild” and “White Fang” by Jack London. Something about hearing the yips and barks of dogs, coyotes and wolves stirs up something primal in our beings.

    I’m missing my autumn in Connecticut – I don’t think they get frost on the pumpkins down here in North Carolina! Loved your description of the stormy walk and lakeside restaurant meal. Cheers!

  25. The many joys of autumn in the northwoods — I would have taken a few more of those warmer days, however!

  26. Beautiful descriptions of an ‘odd’ fall – wolfs and gun blasts, hot days and rain, restaurants and friendships. Odd, maybe, but it’s all part of the seasonal ‘preparing for winter.’ Sounds like your preparation is going wonderfully.

  27. Kathy says:

    Thank you, dear readers, for pausing to share your own wolf, coyote, hiking, autumn, dining, hunting, rainy stories! I loved reading every one of your comments–more than once. Blessings to all.

  28. Aussie Emjay says:

    An awesomely rich life!

  29. Barb says:

    An enticing slice of life post – especially when you mentioned bourbon pie. My friend hears coyotes howling all the time at her house a few miles from mine. We’ve never heard them in the night, though we sometimes (not often) see them in daylight hunting the perimeter of our property. Right after the female fox brings her kits from the den, we’re awakened by her screams of warning. We’re always glad when the family abandons the denning site near our house! You and I are lucky to live in places where wildlife is abundant, easily heard and seen. This morning a large female moose was grazing in our back yard. I went on the deck to watch her awhile, though I let the door open for a quick retreat (mine, not hers…)

  30. Heather says:

    It truly is an odd fall. I don’t know what to make of it. It doesn’t know what to make of me either, so fair’s fair.
    Tony and I are 90-some percent certain we saw a roadside wolf around 2am the night (morning?) we arrived in the UP a couple weeks back. Looked a lot like your photo. Much bigger than a coyote. I’m glad it didn’t dash into the road.

  31. Munira says:

    How nice that you choose not to stay inside when it rains 🙂

  32. Stacy says:

    I”m trying not to be jealous of your wolf sighting, Kathy. I’ve always felt they are my kindred spirits. I take my little collection of wolves out of the attic during fall, my favorite season, and place them around the house. They remind me not to be lonely even though I spend a lot of time alone. xo

  33. Pecan burbon pie…all this talk of pie is making me hungry.

  34. Barb says:

    Just had to come by to check that you’re not frozen into a popsicle. I hear your temps are mighty cold right now – so are ours. Lots of snow has fallen in the last couple days. Tomorrow is our first day of downhill skiing.

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