Steppenwolf might have sang “Get your motor runnin', head out on the highway, lookin' for adventure and whatever comes our way” with the best intentions, but it's a good bet the adventure coming their way wasn't a wolf who thought he could run down a Harley.
Tim Bartlett of Banff, Alberta, might have been humming “Born to be Wild” to himself on Saturday, June 8th when a glance in his rear view mirror revealed a sight that must have chilled him to the bone: no, not a Smokey Bear but a Gray Wolf. The predatory canine definitely had Bartlett in his sights as well, having crossed a lane of Highway 93 in an effort to cut him off at the pass, as it were.
Bartlett immediately stepped up the heavy metal thunder and when he next looked back, 100 metres (about 330 ft) down the road, the wolf had given up the chase and was heading back into the roadside forest from which he had originally emerged.
At this point most of us would have wiped our brow, said a prayer, quickly changed into some clean underwear and proceeded on our peaceful weekend chopper cruise through scenic Kootenay National Park. Tim Bartlett isn't like most of us, however, and the thought of a chorus of “pics or it didn't happen” when he told others of his encounter decided his next move. You guessed it: he turned around and drove south to where he last saw the wolf angling into the trees.
It's unknown whether the creature was waiting at the forest's edge for the next biker to drive by but when Bartlett arrived, out it came! As it had done before, the wolf crossed the highway with its eyes on Bartlett and the chase basically picked up where it had left off with one exception: this time, Bartlett had his camera out. Speaking with reporters later, Bartlett stressed he wasn't trying to provoke the wolf, he only wanted to gather evidence that would show, at the very least, that a wolf was in the area. “I'm glad I got pictures to prove it,” stated Bartlett, “or I don't think people would have believed me.”
The Chase, Part Deux was a virtual replay of the original. “He was definitely chasing me,” said Bartlett, who mentioned the wolf got as close as three metres (about 10 ft) from the cycle's taillight at one point. “I was going fast enough to stay in front of him and took six or seven shots, then realized this was not a safe thing to be doing – for me or the wolf.”
The wolf may have realized this as well since he soon stopped following Bartlett and once again beat a retreat into the woods. This time Bartlett waited 15 minutes before resuming his northbound journey in an effort to ensure the wolf wouldn't try to intercept him a third time. It did not, and both rider and wolf ended up unharmed if a bit winded. Only one question remains... when the wolf rejoined his pack and related what had occurred, did they howl with laughter and shout “pics or it didn't happen!”? (via Canoe and Edmonton Sun, image of Grizzer via International Wolf Center)