- Photo Essays
There are no words to describe the feeling you have when your face is only a couple of feet away from a polar bear: so close that you can imagine the heat of their breath.
Of course, if this happened away from the safety of the hulking polar rover, there would be no imagining necessary. These polar bears have been living on a diet of berries for months now. They are carnivores. They are starving. I rest my case.
Things can get pretty wild this far north. And I’m not talking about the nightlife.
But for today at least the weather is behaving itself. It’s minus 13 degrees Celsius with wind-chill out on the sub-Arctic tundra near Churchill, Manitoba but the skies are clear and the barely-there dawn light is perfect.
I feel like I have been driving forever.
Since that first nerve-wracking drive through Anchorage over two months ago I have driven nearly 4000 miles (6400 km) through Alaska and the western states of the USA. I was sure I would never get used to that uneasy feeling of driving on the right-hand/wrong side of the road, and yet now I feel as though I could do it in my sleep.
It hasn’t rained at all today. The sky is blue and the sun is out in full force. None of which is usual on the northwestern side of Olympic National Park in America’s Pacific Northwest.
The tiny lumber town of Forks* where we have based ourselves has an annual rainfall consistently over 100 inches.
But not today.
“On the ragged edge of the world I roam, and the home of the wolf shall be my home”
from ‘The Nostomaniac’. Robert Service.
I am awake long before my alarm sounds at 4am. Rising at 4am is not something I do well. In fact, I actively try to avoid any kind of anything before 7am. But today is different: today I plan to see wolves in the wild in Yellowstone National Park.
I know you can’t plan these things but there’s nothing like a little positive thinking to start the day. Actually, I prefer to start the day with coffee – several even – but the town of Gardiner near the north entrance of the park is eerily quiet at 4am and sadly coffee is but a distant dream.
I have to admit, my initial impressions of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming / Montana were far from enthusiastic, and as we drove around on our first day in the park I got to wondering what on earth all the fuss is about.