Black Wolf, Squaw Valley, CA
It was June 17th, 2019, the end of my first day working at the Resort at Squaw Creek as the Recreation Manager. I took a little bike ride to the Cantina, an old dive bar/restaurant in the parking lot of the Village at Squaw Valley, about a mile away. While standing on the deck looking up the hill near the Far East Express, I saw what I thought was a black bear.
I was wrong.
Having just moved from West Palm Beach, FL to Tahoe 10 days earlier, I assumed bears were common here and this was really no big deal. But I was intrigued, so I jumped back on my bike and rode up the hill for a closer look. (Something most Jerry's and Floridians would do...)
I was on my iPhone speaking with a friend in Washington D.C. at the time. I told him I was looking for the Black Bear. I held the phone at eye level waiting to take a picture of this magnificent creature, prepared to hop on my bike and race downhill if he or she came out of the woods.
Suddenly I saw this giant creature boldly watching me through an opening in the trees. It wasn't a bear after all. It was a Wolf. A Black Wolf. And I snapped the image you see here with shaking hands at 7:35pm.
My friend on the other end of the call laughed saying it was a dog... maybe a coyote. Nahhh... This was a Big Black Wolf, maybe even a pregnant Wolf - which I documented and shared with a man named Justin Dellinger, Mountain Lion & Gray Wolf Researcher with the CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife. From what I've learned, this is the only Black Wolf ever spotted in Squaw Valley, CA.
"The wolf exerts a powerful influence on the human imagination. It takes your stare and turns it back on you," says Barry Holstun Lopez, in his beautiful book, Of Wolves And Men. "People suddenly want to explain the feelings that come over them when confronted with that stare - their fear, their hatred, their respect, their curiosity."
I joined that club exactly 2 years ago today, right here where I currently live, in the heart of Squaw Valley, CA.
"The wolf predicts something lying beneath the surface that you can't see physically but you sense it... listen to this." ~ Black Wolf Prophesy And Symbolism
Not to dwell on prophesy and symbolism, but I must say much of what I've studied since my encounter with this Black Wolf has been spot on. I suppose you could say the Wolf is my Spirit Animal, and it has something to do with the name of this website. Black vs. Blue? The Blue in Blue Wolf Gallery represents the Blue of Lake Tahoe. Besides, Black Wolf Gallery was taken.
Ye blessed creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My heart is at your festival,
My head hath its coronal,
The fullness of your bliss, I feel - I feel it all.
~ William Wordsworth, "Ode on the Intimations of Immortality from
Recollections of Early Childhood."