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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It was March of 2002, and I had blown out of town late - about 10:15pm. A long time ago I learned to relish the journey as much or more than the destination. Something about heading away from the city and breaking through to the "other side" connects me with a sense that I am actually free, where minutes before I was bound by that unseen but all too real grind for "the man". Everything fast seems alright when I'm headed eastbound on I-90. Even in the dark.

I arrived not too long after midnight. The sky over the Saddles was just luminesced enough to suggest the Tri Cities had been relocated without anybody telling me or somebody I know. There were three other rigs at the second Nunnally (Merry) parking area. Lights were out. The tunes would have to be kept to a minimum.

In my Jeep Grand Laredo of the time, I had a pretty cool nest that I could just barely stretch out in at 5' 10", in the back, with the seats folded down. I had pulled in facing the east, so as I kicked back with my head propped up by a gear bag and a sobakawa pillow against the back of the passenger seat, to my left was the Saddle Mountains. It was not too cold at all. I had the rear passenger door swung completely wide open. I could see the Saddles, lots of sky, and of course everything in between.

I usually tune into 106.5 (Tri Cities, KZOK sister station) when at Nunnally, and had tuned in again (lower than average volume, however - everybody was asleep). I had been settled in about 20 minutes and had finished my ceremonial (first) beer over just being there, when a sliver of white appeared over the crest of the Saddles before me. It was the moon, of course, and judging from all the light, there was a whole lot more to come.

At first, there were a few yips and howls - on par with what I would call a pretty good showing by the coyotes. Then there were some more that joined the fray, and I had the thought, "geez - that's alot of coyotes...". I 86'd the tunes. By the time the moon was half-way above the ridgeline of the Saddles, I was becoming a little astonished. There were alot - ALOT of coyotes involved here. But they weren't finished.

The more the moon came over the ridge, more, and more, and more, and more coyotes joined in. I don't know how far away you can hear a coyote's cry from, but it was beginning to sound a whole lot like the Lower Crab Creek Unit was on that night some kind of gathering place for coyotes from all over. The air was resonating with an accopella of dozens upon dozens upon dozens of coyotes within what is by day a viewable radius. Honestly, there had to be at least a hundred coyotes in the area from Nunnally to Lenice, and the Saddles to the other side of the lakes. It was deafening, almost. Surely, it was, in the utmost way, nearly overwhelming - as in, conceptual overload. "HOW in the WORLD could there be THIS many friggin' coyotes in this little area?" I was at once puzzled, confused and amazed.

Then I even started being able to hear coyotes (several) not quite joining in because they were so close to the four rigs, but they were breathing heavy as they moved by, with beginnings of howls suggesting they HAD TO HOWL, and would again just as soon as they cleared the four-rig perimeter. It was as if they had congregated there, where Lower Crab Creek flows along the base of the Saddle Mountains before entering the Columbia River. Hell, they HAD congregated, en masse.

The thicket of Russian Olives and other brush next to the road was an irregular combination of shadow across the grassy, sagebrush-punctuated open area before me. I could just almost make out the forms that were sage plants, but not quite, even under the omniluminous moon. Suddenly, appearing out of the shadows and sillhoette, came what I immediately assimilated to be a coyote taking an undeterred, straight path directly towards me with a purposeful gait. It wouldn't begin to run, but any faster, and it would have had to.

The wild dog was walking directly towards me on a bee line. At first, I was fascinated. As it appeared more and more that it was going to continue walking towards me, with that gait, I became increasingly confused.

"Coyotes don't walk right up to humans like this," I thought, at about second three.

Confusion gave way to disbelief as it neared me in my vehicle at second four.

It reached the threshold of my open rear passenger door and from inside of me, without thought, came a sharp, terse, what-the-hell-are-you-doing "Hey!". It disappeared. Not as in, it turned and ran off. It just suddenly had vanished. I had looked at it, re-evaluating the realness, with every blink of my eye as it had approached. And it was there at the threshold of my open door. Then very suddenly, it was gone. Vanished.

I realized that what was at my door was not what I would call a coyote. What had made a bee line to that threshold... the last I saw it... it looked like an apparition (sp?), and it looked more like a white wolf.
And when it was gone, all those dozens upon dozens upon dozens of coyotes, within a minute, like a ripple, became quiet. Silence... eerie, though I was left feeling like my instincts had betrayed me somehow when from the depth of my gut came that "Hey!".

The following week, I returned, as I'm sure I always will return to that place on this whole earth so long as I live, even if the trout have been replaced by swimming tacos... This time it was windy the night of my arrival, and I managed to resist the temptation to relocate. You know how windy it gets over there.

I awoke the following morning, and the wind was still buffetting the rig pretty good. I slept some more, woke, wind, slept, wind, etc...

When I finally decided to give it a "never say die" go, it was only about 8:20 in the a.m. I did oatmeal. I did java. I had a couple smokes. I leisurely rigged up, with tunes, and was on the shores of Nunnally by 10.
It was still kinda windy - no, it was pretty damn windy at times, still.

Then, between 11:30 and noon, things gradually settled down. The calm parts between fits of gusts got calmer and longer... All of a sudden, the wind just never came back. It was dead calm. There were some midges coming off sporadically, and some early Callibaetis. Skin, hot; birds, everywhere; trout cruising and rising.... I had several other anglers in plain view who had been pretty chatty all a.m. Earlier, with the wind, I could hear their ongoing communiques from time to time. For about an hour, all that was heard was about three, "man.... this is so nice"'s. It was in every way suddenly a glorious, splendorous, render everybody speechless and ga-ga kind of a day. Nobody could manage any more than "man, this is such a great day". This, with only a few fish being caught.

We were all overwhelmed. I had to, and I saw those other dudes resigning themselves to it too, just stop fishing at points, mid-representation, and look around. It was a perfect spring day - fish or no fish.

So I'm stalking the banks on this day. There's the few out before me on the water, as speechless and over-satiated as I, when I hear a "ka-clop, ka-clop, ka-clop" behind me, approaching from the other side of a columnar outcropping of basalt. In short order, I realize it's a girl, on her horse.

Jeans, tight; spaghetti strap, tight and lavender; skin, tan; girl, beautiful to the nth degree. Can a lady be at once of this world but not? This one was.

As soon as I realized I was looking right at her to the point of staring, I also noticed that she was continuing to ride her horse straight to me, and she was looking right at me, too. Neither of us fazed, just admiring, and a little surprised. She reached the edge of the little cliff band and turned heading east along its edge. She said, "hello" as she turned to the east... and she smirked like the Joker only nicer going away - the smirk was so much so that I could make it out from behind her. Then she was gone. Just like the white wolf.

I turned to the lake to get some witnesses, but those guys were gone, too.

As for the fishing, I caught some rather large rainbows on Callibaetis emergers on the flats on the 3 weight Winston, and I called it a day.

21 Posts
Ancient Peoples have been known to descibe these circumstances as vision quests among other names.

I have had three. All of these circumstances were a solitary experience in the awe of nature. I left town with the same thoughts you expereinced, reached the pass and my heart slowed down a couple of beats, and had become entrenched in my journey.

Or, it could be great fiction.....:dunno

Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wetline - then I'm glad you managed to "slog" through it anyways....

And what's about the white rose?????? (Bab)
What's that from?

3,281 Posts

I didn't slog through it at all! Some day over a beer or something stronger I will share with you what happened to me. Very similar different critter. More than once this has happened and with more than one critter!
Native Americans in the plains when passing from youth to adult were forced to go on a vision quest and find their totem. Your totem comes to YOU and tells you who you are!
It is very obvious that your totem is a she wolf! Look into wolves and what roles each play in a family. I think you will find it very interesting and insightful. The gender plays a roll in your duties and the animal your personality. By the actions you described I would also assume it was a dominant animal! If you would have let it, it would have talked with you. I know that sounds crazy and most would pass it off. Take it for how you think and feel. But as sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west your totem will tell you things!
I can see the men in white coats coming for me right now but I have experienced this.
You should go by white wolf rather than wildram! The color is also significant and you need to search and find what it all means to you. This is a personal quest that was shown to you and I do not take it lightly, and nor should you. This is a really deep and philosophical trip into ones own self. When you come out of it, if you opt to take the journey you will have an insight that will litterally be breathtaking and you will keep to yourself,as I should probably keep it to myself. In that I have great respect for your knowledge I will openly share this. You know how to get ahold of me if you want to talk about this on a private level. The only reason why I posted this in an open thread is because maybe some others have had a similar experience and have buried it in their minds.

To a quest!

1,792 Posts
I myself consider the river otter to be my totem. I have spent so many days so many times fishing side by side with them even in areas I would not expect them to be. Example of that is on the Green River by the Golf course. Spent one time in the rain forest catching one fish to each of a river otters two over many hours is another example. So often while I am fishing had them come right up to me including getting on the Kayak with me on another occation. One day I keep thinking I should find a tribes totem of the animal and have it put in ink on my arm so it will always be with me. Maybe I fish as much as I do because of this closeness with this little playful animal. Who knows for sure. :dunno

Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wetline - thanks for the encouragement. Believe me, I did not, could not, can not take it lightly. Perhaps if I had gone into the whole thing with the idea in mind that I was seeking my spirit animal, I would not have been caught by surprise, and responded unwittingly as I did. The chick the following week... who knows what THAT was all about - I do wish I had a whole lot more to tell!

Hike - that's cool with the otters. [I may have to hazard another post to explain why I go by wildram (not just because I'm an "Aries" - I wouldn't go by that), another "one of those experiences".] You and they are obviously somehow predisposed to exist in a closer way than is normal, on more than a regular basis!

Y'know... ever since the white wolf thing, I've been noticing a high level of recognition and warm reception from the cousins of wolves, the domestic friggin' dog. This, whereas before encounters with unkown dogs were mixed, at best. Shoot, I crashed at a house party in Seattle over the winter, and the next morning there's like 4 dogs all sleeping around me!

And Wetline - I think any good beer or "something stronger" is best served following the meeting of a few good trout.

And BAB - Do you know where to get a Sage Propeller Beenie? LMAO - Great hillarity.

And I have no idea how the font changed to italics...

Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Geez.... after that last post, and after thinking about maybe relating the "wildram" connection, I decided it is better put here in this particular thread. Here's why, and I'll try to keep it to a descriptive minimum.

I was on the Yak up from Umptanum Bridge, just up from the fallen Ponderosa at the 17-mile marker, on the RR side. It was, I think, the first week in November,2001,
and it was a bluebird kind of day. There was only some very high, thin cirrostratus which the sun shone brightly right trough, and the sky was still very blue. But there were some people between the RR tracks and the river friggin' shooting at pheasant up on the bench. Just as they passed by, I stepped away from the edge of the river, back across the gravel and rock to the base of the small bluff that leads up onto the bench and actually had my back against a trio of small trees, facing the river. I wanted to rest the water in hopes some more fish would join in on a sporadic BWO hatch.

I light a smoke, and all of a sudden, to my left, perfectly well within an arms length (I'm only 5'10") lands a little brown bird, smaller than a swallow, and it is chirping like crazy (this is fall, not spring). I don't get the idea this bird is hostile, but the little dude just kept on, almost frantically... I got the random idea that it was as if he were telling me something, and at that very moment was prompted to turn and look over my shoulder. When I did, the bird flew off. At the top of the south Umptanum canyon rim, on the precipice of a small columnar band stood a huge Bighorn Ram. He was looking down at me. Moments after shotgun fire had passed. I ambled down to the fallen Ponderosa to climb up onto the bench, and when I arrived there, he was still there. I didn't know why he was standing up there, but he did for as long as it took me to seriously wonder why, at which point he turned and disappeard within a few steps of the high point. He had looked truly majestic against the bright, high-hazed fall sky on that butte. The sun was angled so that he was not at all sillhoetted - I got the full-look deal. Well, in retrospect, he was looking down at me, but he was also pointing in the direction of Nunnally as the crow flies.
The fall before the spring...
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