Yesterday, I rounded a corner on the trail & found myself face to face with a very large.... wolf!I was equipped for bears as they're in hyper feasting mode for winter, but not wolves this close to town & far from Yellowstone.
It watched me, and I tried logic. It had a curly tail and was standing on a highlytrafficked trail, it had to be someone's pet. But an uncomfortable few seconds passed until a man's voice finally called out (the perfectly fitting name) "Atlas," and the wolf went to its owner behind on the trail in the woods.
As I finally breathed in the mountain air, Atlas then emerged with 3 more pack mates, paws the size of my hands! Wolves are legal as pets in Montana, veterinarians are just (not surprisingly) not required to treat them, some do, some don't.
The four gorgeous animals hopped into the stream & walked past without a second glance at me. I mumbled something awkward to the man about beautiful dogs, he gave me almost as little notice as the wolves, and I walked on, pondered the awkwardness of bear macing someone's pet wolf.
Montana is wild!