August 22nd – 24th- Our Snake River rafting trip ended about 3 pm when we arrived at Heller Bar and were met by the ROW van and we were all taken to the Red Lion Inn in Lewiston. There, we were delighted to see that our truck had indeed been shuttled from Cambridge without incident. We loaded up and headed to our camper, which we had left 6 days before in Hell’s Gate State park, about 15 minutes away….our home away from home. We unpacked our things and took a much needed shower, then joined our fellow rafters for dinner back at the Red Lion Inn. It was difficult to say goodbye to these people, who less than a week ago were strangers, but with whom we had shared so much. Emails were exchanged, with promises to keep in touch……
Friday, August 23rd – Today was spent on chores……We had mounds of laundry to do and groceries to restock. I took some time to go through my photos and put together a few blogs. We rested…..and processed and reflected…….
It had been a fun adventure……beautiful scenery……good people……Like adventures should, it stretched us a little….but it also affirmed our abilities. All in all a very good experience……
Saturday Aug 24th - We were staying around Lewiston for several days. I have found that we need a bit of down time at the end of an adventure, before moving on. Saturday afternoon, we headed to the downtown area, and without realizing it, walked right into Lewiston’s classic car show.
It was actually a hoot to stroll around the downtown just people watching……..
You gotta love this combo! ;- )
Saturday evening we drove about 50 minutes out to the Wolf Education and Research Center. This center had housed the last of the Sawtooth Wolf Pack, a pack of wolves that had been hand raised and filmed for a movie, then needed a place to live after the filming was done. The wolves had lived in a 20 acre enclosure at this center, and an educational effort was created to help the local people get to know the value of the wolf.
The wolf has been reintroduced into Idaho, and their numbers are increasing. But,there is much political discussion between the ranchers and those who want to allow the wolves back in the wild. Idaho is not being very supportive of the wolf…..This state issues a hunting permit for 500 wolves for each individual who applies! There are only about 700 or so wolves in all of Idaho!
We had called and scheduled a tour for 6 pm. There were Fred and I and one other woman and her young daughter on this tour. We were to walk around with a guide to where the wolf pack was and “view the wolves in the wild”.
But first, we were given a tour of their education/visitor’s center…..
I loved these carved door panels……Our guide was a young college student from Boston who was doing this summer internship for her degree in Environmental Science. She told us all about the effort to reintroduce the wolves back into Idaho, and the study that had been ongoing at their center.
In addition, we learned some interesting facts about wolves and even looked at this skeleton, noting the very long legs that allow a wolf to run fast, and the structures which give the wolf such impressive bite strength.
Finally, it was time to go out into their ‘classroom’ or wolf viewing area……The Wolf Education Center advertises that it has 200 acres….but they had kept the Sawtooth pack in the 20 acre enclosure….that is, until the last member of that pack died last year at age 16. They had also acquired another wolf pack……this one from a woman who had been raising and ‘hoarding’ wolves in her back yard! Of that 5 member pack, only 3 females were left, and these wolves were kept in a 2 acre enclosure, which pretty much guaranteed getting to see them.
We sat on benches just behind our young guide, who sat right next to the ‘wolf enclosure’…..a chain link fence topped with an electric wire.
From a bit of a distance, we saw these two wolfs……the white one on the right, named ‘white watcher’ came closer, walking along the fence line as if patrolling it.
It was sad, really…..like watching dogs in a fenced yard (2 acres seemed quite small of an area). Sad to see such magnificent animals reduced to being on display like in a zoo. We had seen the occasional wolf in our journeys, and had heard stories and seen pictures that had been taken of wolves who are free to roam….in Yellowstone, in Denali, and in much of Alaska. This…..was just sad.