Wonder What We Will Find?

This weekend we will be checking on a couple of the Wolverine monitoring sites and we wonder what we will find?!? Will there be tracks, hair snags and other signs of Wolverine, Lynx, Fisher, Marten  or a sleepwalking Bear? Or will the bait be unmolested?  We’ll know soon enough and the pictures will tell more of the story when we bring the camera card back and review them.

Not knowing what we will find is, for me, one of the wonders of Wilderness.  Each and every trip contains the possibility for new encounters, personal discoveries and we never know exactly what they will be when we set out. To answer the call of the Wild is to venture forth into the unknown, being driven onward by wonder.  It is this “wonder” about the wild that lies at the very heart of “wanderlust”.

Which brings us to this dilemna: we want to learn more about the wilderness character of the Scotchmans, but learning more may take away some of the “wonder.”  Sure, there are very compelling reasons to be able to know as much about the populations of rare and sensitive species.  But which brings about the greater “awe” – knowing they are there or imagining they are there?

If we find something at the study site, we will celebrate and we will be proud to point to one more example of why the Scotchmans deserve to be Wilderness.  But, on the other hand, if we find nothing at the study site, we will still be filled with wonder, and awe, at the elusive way in which the natural world unfolds around us. And we will keep going out, with high expectations at what we might find.  Perhaps we will even be motivated more to try and find something we can only wonder about. I believe this is why rumors of bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster and other “Crypto-zoological” critters persist, even though rationally they can explained away or dismissed as highly unlikely if not outrightly impossible.  We want to believe that we do not really know everything, every clue nature holds. So, you will understand that part of me might be the most happy if the bait is half eaten, the critter left no other clues and the camera failed…..

Later this weekend you can check our facebook page for a status update and possibly photos of whatever we do, or do not, find. For now, you can still be filled with anticipation and wonder.

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Categories: Blog
About The Author:

Phil Hough is the Executive Director of the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness.

He has hiked the "triple crown": the Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest trail (twice). He has also paddled the length of the Yukon river. Phil's love of wilderness guides him as he works to save the incrediblly wild Scotchman Peaks, one of the last and largest roadless places in northern Idaho and western Montana.

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