Backpacking in the Blue range Primitive

My Encounter with a Mexican Gray Wolf


I recently returned from my adventure into the Blue Range Primitive.  The Blue Range did not disappoint me.  It was rugged and remote.  I saw no one out there, and I did allot of bushwhacking in this beautiful Alpine wilderness located in the eastern part of Arizona bordering New Mexico.  The area was very scenic, and I am working on doing a separate article documenting my entire adventure.  This article is about a specific encounter I had in this wilderness area with a Mexican Gray Wolf.  My contact with this wolf happened at my basecamp on the second night of my adventure. 

I had been following Grant’s Creek navigating east toward Moonshine Park.   As I was navigating, I found an area off the creek to set up my basecamp.  Not long after getting my basecamp set up I started a fire to warm myself for the cold evening that was slowly rolling in.  I had a nice fire going and I ate my meal while I reflected on my day’s activity.  I started scanning the perimeter of my basecamp with my headlamp when I hit on two eyes across the creek.  The colors of the eyes were orange and green and they changed intermittently as I moved my headlamp. 

I found this unusual and I increased the intensity of my light. As I did this, the object moved and I saw that is was a Mexican Gray Wolf on a game trail watching me.  It stopped as I moved my light, and It stayed in place curiously focused on me.  The area around me had many bones from elk that were probably taken down by these Mexican Gray Wolves. My research told me that elk in the Blue Range are a food source for these wolves.  I was definitely in their hunting area.

Bones I found Throughout my Adventure

Elk Bone

As I watched the wolf, I wondered if there were other wolves nearby.  This wolf was out looking for food and they usually hunt in packs. Hunting in packs allow them to take down the large elk in this area. I began looking around the perimeter of my basecamp looking for others wolves that may have infiltrated or surrounded my camp.  I knew through my research of these wolves that they are a curious breed that could be scared off by humans if threatened.  My fire was going strong and I continued to watch my friend.  I had my Flir thermal imager with me and it was not readily available for me to get it. My concern was the wolf and what its next move would be. It was less than 50 yards from my location and I estimated its size to be approximately 90 pounds. 

Pictures of the Mexican Gray Wolf I saw

After a few minutes, the wolf began moving along the creek paralleling it heading east toward Moonshine Park.  I was able to get a picture of it using my cell phone with my headlamp shining on it.  The picture came out grainy, but you are able to see in the center of the picture what the wolf looks like, (tail and head).  After it was out of my sight I grabbed my thermal imager and scanned the area for other wolves with negative results.  I went to sleep not long after my encounter hearing the sound of howling wolves. The experience to see this endangered species on my wilderness adventure was amazing. 

Below is my video of my thoughts right after the encounter and a video taken the next morning.  In the morning video, I show you where I saw the wolf the night before.  

My video discussing my encounter with a Mexican Gray Wolf

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