A brief encounter with a wolves makes climbing a major Bitterroot peak a perfect adventure-

Wolves add to awe of El Capitan hiking adventure. By Will Moss. The Ravalli Republic (in the Missoulian)

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

14 Responses to Wolves add to awe of El Capitan hiking adventure

  1. gline says:

    So nice to see a positive article in the Ravalli Rag no less! how nice. I must go up there…

  2. Maska says:

    Thanks for posting this story, Ralph. Moss’s description of the brevity and unexpected nature of the encounter matches perfectly my experiences with Mexican wolves in the Southwest. Seeing one is a gift–not something one can consciously will or prolong.

    “I tried to make it last; I tried to make it mean something. But before I could divine any kind of special knowledge or inspiration, the wolf turned and padded effortlessly away.”

    One is never ready, and the camera is all too often in the pack.

  3. ProWolf in WY says:

    I can’t believe this was written in a Montana newspaper. Saying something positive about wolves is blasphemy in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho.

  4. Save bears says:

    Not true Prowolf, that is myth, there are people who actually embrace wolves in Wyoming, Montana and Wyoming..

  5. ProWolf in WY says:

    I know there are some, but they seem to be a silent minority.

  6. Save bears says:

    Unfortunately, outside of this and a few other blogs, the majority of the country is the silent minority…

  7. ProWolf in WY says:

    Too true Save bears…

  8. nabeki says:

    In my opinion there is no sound in nature more wild then the howl of a wolf. Great to read about a positive wolf encounter in the Bitterroot.

    I think most folks are pro wolf, it’s just they don’t have the ear of the politicians and power brokers.


  9. ProWolf in WY says:

    Nabeki, I wonder how many of the people who say they are anti-wolf really mean that. I say this because it is very fashionable to be anti-wolf in the Northern Rockies. I have seen people who are not hunters and not ranchers or even from ranching families that piss and moan about wolves so it makes me wonder.

  10. izabelam says:

    I just came back from Gardiner and talked to a person who said: Id, MT and WY ..all don’t like wolves (hate). During breakfast a waitress was telling some hunters to go and get a wolf tag..I was so mad….he asked what do you do with a dead wolf…she said skin it and have a rug in a front of a fire place… well…I told my husband I was ready to “skin her” ..so much of gardiner fro me…

  11. Save bears says:


    So your saying your going to base your opinion of Gardiner, MT on one person you heard in a resteraunt? That does not seem fair, as in Montana, there are just about as many for as are against wolves..

  12. Indeed you shouldn’t judge Gardiner by a random incident. I know quite a few good people there and some of the others too. Nevertheless, tourists should not keep their mouths shut.

    If you speak up, often you will find local people in ear shout that agree with you.

  13. ProWolf in WY says:

    I agree that as tourist you should speak up. It might make people think.

  14. Save bears says:

    Folks, don’t me wrong, I am saying, don’t base your judgment on a random comment in a restaurant in small town Montana, Idaho or Wyoming…I travel quite a bit, and I find just as many who support wolves in these three states as I do opposed, and last week I was in Washington and Oregon and found just about the same percentages.

    It is easy to be ignorant, it is difficult to be educated, and most of the time those I find that those against are ignorant, and don’t have the time or desire to become educated…ignorance can go both ways, it can be support or it can be opposition..but both sides need to be educated and stop relying on myth..


September 2009


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey