Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wolf Haven International

This past summer I had the pleasure of going on a little post 4th of July vacation with Rachel and my good friends Lance & Erika to visit the beautiful capital of Washington, Olympia.  The vacation was a resounding success with much, antique shopping, thrift store perusing, and crate digging.  However, it was not the quaint city of Olympia that held the trip's highlight for me.  No sir.  It was a small town located some 13 miles off of I-5 and 20 minutes south of Olympia.  A small town by the name of Tenino Washington, which just so happens to be the site of one of the most amazing facilities I have ever bore witness to. 

 Now if you're a close personal friend, or just someone I happen to talk to on a regular basis, there is a strong chance that I have already smoked your ear off with talk of this enchanting locale, but either way, allow me (re)tell the tale of the ethereal, the enchanted, the amazing... Wolf Haven International

I first heard of this amorous fortress from Lance on the way to Olympia.  He very casually mentioned that he had caught wind of a sanctuary for wolves and if we were so inclined, we could easily visit it on our journey.  Not one to ever pass up the opportunity to clock some real live wolves, I jumped at the chance and immediately made my intentions of visiting this before unheard of destination known.

On the morning of our final day of holiday we pulled our alcohol poisoned chassis' out from bed and drove southbound to the land of redeemed wolves, all of us eager to discover the unique treasures of this only spoken of sanctuary.  Upon arriving we were greeted by the howls of wolves and this stately sign: 

Lance and I announcing our presence and paying respects to our four legged friends.

We arrived during the middle of one of the hour long tours through the wolf sanctuary and so, after purchasing our tickets for the next scheduled tour, we were left to explore the surrounding grounds on our own.  We decided to first investigate the wolf nature trail, which unbeknownst to us would take us through the monumental wolf cemetery.

A stone statue commemorating one of the forgotten lives of some of earth's most dignified creatures.

RIP, brother.

The wolf sanctuary was nothing short of amazing.  It was one of the most touching tributes from man to nature that I have ever seen.  I was a very classy affair free of artifice and pretense.  All of the wolves who had at one time graced the grounds of Wolf Haven International were given a head stone and grave to commemorate their time on earth and at WHI.  The graves were gorgeous.  Very simple and clearly inspired by native american culture, they were adorned with dream catchers and headstones emblazoned with poetic epitaphs.  I was touched by the love and and care that was put into every single one of these many graves and couldn't help, but became a little teary eyed in their presence.

Good will and love.

Upon exiting the cemetery we ran across the Mani Stupa Stone pile as seen above.  Now, I am not one for religion or praying or anything mystical like that, but for some reason, perhaps because I was already feeling emotional from the wolf cemetery, the notion of spreading good will and positive vibes through rocks in the woods seemed overwhelming righteous and I couldn't help but partake.

Finally, our time arrived and we entered the gates of the wolf sanctuary.  Immediately, I was struck by the presence of greatness.  The wolves were everywhere, albeit behind cyclone fences. They were on all sides of us.  Never stationary, the wolves were always pacing and glaring, doing their super model walk, moving forward with one leg after the other.  In perpetual motion.  We saw many kinds of wolves, but perhaps the most awe inspiring and plentiful of these creatures were the Mexican Grey wolves.  It were these great beasts that the facility was charged with rearing and releasing into the wild.  After we had seen many a wolf and the tour was coming to a close, we reached the final enclosement.  At that exact moment the earth began to tremble and a distant roar began to permeate the tour's collective consciousness.  In precise concert with the quivering and thunder around us the wolves began to howl.  Every single one of them.  Some 60 plus wolves aimed their muzzles to the heavens and howled for what seemed to be forever. At that instance, everyone seemed to be struck by primordial beauty of these wolves on the mend.

On the way out we caught a glance of Sandy's Trike.  Immediately my mind ran wild with visions of an aging diesel dike entering the autumn of her days.  A woman rewarding herself after a long an illustrious career as a CO at the state correctional facility.  Finally, the day came when that first emancipating pension check came in the mail.  I would be spent on this bad boy, this symbol of freedom.   For the rest of her days she would answer to neither convict nor warden.  She would instead travel the great Northwest on her trusty steed.  Her riding partner would be the memory of her never forgotten and always cherished companion, Gidget.  

1500 cc's of freedom and love.

God bless Sandy, Gidget, and all the wolves at the haven.


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