One of our guests spent time on Kawnipi Lake in the Quetico Park this summer. He offered this story to share with my blog readers…
"Just got back from my first trip into Kawnipi and was luck enough to win a trifecta of sorts. Day 2 out fishing across from our island site in Mckenzie bay we were startled by some fairly heavy footsteps on shore. After peering into the darkness of the pines we finally caught the tail end of a north bound bear ambling up a steep slope. Needless to say our hearts were thumping as our campsite was not too much of a swim for the bear to get to later that night should it get the itch to do so.
Later that day while cleaning fish on a rock island between our site and the initial bear sighting, my wife was on shore explaining to my sister what we had seen while fishing and pointing to the shoreline, when out walks a cub for a quick look around (i was unaware any of this had transpired). It quickly disappeared back into the brush.
Later with all of us "safely" back on our island and intently watching the shoreline, we see a ghost of a four legged creature emerge right on the shore and begin munching its way through a yet unknown meal. Now the hearts are really pumping. We watch the wolf for probably 20 minutes or so eating when it walks off into the fading sunlight. A couple of hours later in the blackness of night, we hear the howl of an "alpha" wolf right across from our site followed by the yipping and cries of the less dominant pack members. This is shortly followed by the ghastly sounds of eating and the gnawing of bones. It was a calm night, so it felt like they were 50 feet from us ,but in reality it was a 200-300 yards away. The hearts are really racing now, as it is getting late and we know bedtime is nearing.
That evening "sleep" is interupted every 3 hours or so by more howls and cries from across the bay. Thankfully no eating sounds however. At first light we get up bleery eyed and curious as to what the attraction is for all the animals across the bay, so we begin paddling on over. On the way we are treated to more howling not more than 150 yards from our boats and then we see 4 wolves prancing along the rock stopping periodically to take us in. They slowly faded into the forest and we began backtracking from where we saw the wolves to what we now can clearly see and hear are a group of vultures in the trees along the shore. We approach quietly, but the vultures scatter giving the heart yet another un-needed workout.
Paddling right up to the shore we can easily see an area that had been worked over and upon closer inspection we find the remains of a not so recently deceased moose. The smell was just beginning to take hold so our noses couldn’t take it for too long. Knowing what was there calmed our nerves bit, but we did check out another campsite a bit futher from all the action. In the end, we reluctantly agreed that we might be witness to a once in a lifetime event so much to my wife’s chagrin we stayed at what we had now dubbed the "Animal Kingdom" site.
For the next 2 night and several times during the day we were treated to more howling and yipping. Funny how it was almost soothing at that point knowing where they were vs. letting the mind imagine every twig breaking or splash in the water was them coming over to eat us.
We didn’t have another encounter with the bears, but in my mind at 3am there was one behind every noise in the forest. So not a full on trifecta as the moose had departed this earth prior to us seeing him, but I will call it 2.5 out of 3.