The one that got away | by Alex Brickle

The Iberian Wolf: It can smell and hear its prey from miles away, has a huge territory and, with a top speed of 30mph, can dart across a field in seconds. So to see one you’d have to be at exactly the right spot at the right time.

This’ll be easy, we thought to ourselves. We had already seen a bear and lynx in Spain and didn’t think seeing a wolf would be too hard, so after arriving in Santa Cruz de los Cuérragos, we set out into the mountains yet again. We had a new telescope so yeah, we were pretty cool, or so I thought before we pulled up to a group of serious nature watchers all looking for the same thing. Their telescopes, binoculars and cameras all had such big zooms that it looked like they could spot a wolf on the moon.

The next three days were spent looking for wolves in the freezing mornings and evenings with no luck. We went to a nearby wolf centre in the middle of the day, supposedly to boost our morale, but it did the complete opposite. Well at least we knew what we were looking for now, a pack of dog sized animals, three kilometers away, through the haze and fog.

We had been scouting around different places for a few days when we were at a spot looking through an opening in the forest at the valley below. My dad had spotted a wolf run across a field in the distance, but by the time he had realised it wasn’t a deer, the wolf had run into the nearby pine forest.

On the last day we placed our telescope next to a group on a guided tour. Yet again, we were at the same spot in the freezing cold squinting through the telescope to try and differentiate a blade of grass from a cow two miles away. Suddenly my dad screamed “wolf!” and the tour guide went nuts, running over to him asking him where, and then pointing all 15 telescopes in his group to the exact same direction. As I carried on screaming “Daddy, where? Daddy, where?” his help was no use, for I didn’t know where it was, how big it would look through the telescope, and whether it was moving or not. As quickly as it had appeared, it disappeared.

The next year I came back with only my dad, determined to get a glimpse of a wolf, and so we carried on using the same spot as last time. The first night was a success yet again for my dad, but only my dad, for he had spotted the wolf appear relatively close (in wolf terms, so, still pretty far away) leaving me only to imagine that in the confusion of deer running in all directions that probably one of those brown shapes was a wolf.

The next day we got up nice and early and placed ourselves next to the guide, whom we were always in talking distance of, hoping he’d never realise the coincidence of us always placing our telescope next to him and that he’d find the wolf for us. Knowing that there were at least wolves there, we scanned the valley until we were fed up and left at 10:00 am to come back later that evening.

We pulled up at the same spot and found the tour guide whom we had grown quite fond of, bursting to tell us something. His story was that just minutes after we’d left that morning, he’d spotted the pack heading up a road and asked if we would like to see the footage he´d shot through his telescope. Of course I didn’t want to see the wolves we missed by three minutes! Instead, I held the temptation of punching him (not that it was his fault), and suffered however long it was to watch the three beautiful wolves he’d seen, head up a dirt track. I had missed another sighting because I would rather leave three minutes earlier to eat a sandwich.

The next couple of days passed by slowly and the fact that I hadn’t seen a wolf yet my dad had, makes me want to go again to the freezing “Sierra De La Culebra”, not leaving three minutes early because of my hunger and getting this over with. Sometimes I doubt my dad saw one at all and that he’s just like “the boy who cried wolf.”

About the Entry

Alex Brickle

My name is alex, i am 12 years old and have loved nature ever since my dad dragged me up and down hills to go birdwatching but now it’s me who drags him along to spot the next animal. I enjoy writing too, and am also interested in aeroplanes and cycling. My favourite animals to see by far are cats but I also quite like wild boar because they live in a forest by my house but it’s still a challenge to spot one.

  • Site name | Sneaky Leopard
  • Site URL | sneakyleopard.org
  • Why should someone visit your site? I think people should visit my website because it gives them tips on what animals to see and where to find them. They can also learn a lot about the village and towns these animals live alongside, as well as the funny moments i’ve had while spotting them.
  • Entry TitleThe one that got away
  • Entry Number | 55

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