The days keep rolling on by, the moon is getting fuller, and the sun is shining longer. I heard last week that mid-winter was on February 3. For some, I think that winter starts in November and ends in April. But technically, as the season goes by the calendar, mid-winter was last Friday. It actually feels more like winter now than it has for most of the season so far. We have had temperatures that went below zero, and days that stayed in the teens. Not much for new snow lately, but fortunately, no more melt-downs.
It seems as though it has been very quiet outside lately. We didn't see much activity from snowmobiles or fishermen last weekend, so the lake was filled with silence. The wind hasn't been blowing as much this winter as some in the past, so that also makes it quieter. And we haven't heard the wolves howling. But we finally got to see them again.
It was yesterday, as Greg and I were walking to a neighbor's cabin. We had been asked to turn on the electricity to the cabin. I was walking with my head down, so as to keep my footing secure. There are some icy patches on the side of the road from our meltdown on January 27. Greg suddenly turned to me and whispered, "Did you see that?!" He indicated up ahead on the road. I looked and could see a wolf running, then it stopped and looked towards us, then ran ahead. Greg saw two, while I saw only one. We jogged up ahead to where they had been, but of course we couldn't see them. I did notice two deer in a yard, but they didn't seem spooked at all. We continued on, and as we approached the cabin, I heard a snowmobile stop on the lake. I ran ahead, just in case the snowmobile had stopped to see the wolves. Sure enough, there they were, the two wolves, running out from shore not far from us. They were heading towards Canada at a good clip. The snowmobile was joined by a second one, and after a few moments of watching, they proceeded down to the east end of the lake. About that time, a third wolf came running out from the U.S. shore, about a half-mile further down the lake. He ran to join the first two. What amazed me most about this sighting was that in the space of about ten minutes, Greg had first spotted them on the road, and then they were on the Canadian side of the lake. Those animals can run!
We turned on the electricity, took a quick look at the lake, but didn't see any more wolf activity. I suggested that we walk back to the lodge following the deer trails through the woods. Sometimes you can find antlers along these paths. We didn't find any then, but we did see chunks of meat. More surprising is that they were fresh, such that they hadn't even begun to freeze. This meant that the wolves had been eating a freshly killed animal somewhere nearby. We kept looking for it, hoping to see more wolves, but no luck. It must have been deeper in the woods than we were seeing. Since it has been so long since I'd seen anything of the wolves, it was quite exciting to have yet another encounter.