Sounds from Alaska: Wolf Encounter

In celebration of the spring equinox, Orion contributor Hank Lentfer continues his “Sounds from Alaska” series, which debuted two years ago on the Orion blog. Listen to sounds from last spring, summer, and fall here.

The most fun and vibrant days of my life have involved chasing sounds with my good friend Richard Nelson. Early mornings recording warblers and thrushes, afternoons in tern colonies or alongside salmon streams, evenings filled with the cavernous breath of whales and sharp whistle of murrelets. Listening, day after fantastic day for the last two years, has added up to what Nels and I both agree to be the most joyful summers of our lives.

Thinking back through all the hours, headphones clamped tight, microphone held steady, there is one sound that rises clear for each of us. I invite you to listen to the story of Richard’s favorite sound.

Hank Lentfer, author of Faith of Cranes, is ear-deep in a new career recording the whistles, clicks, groans, and splashes of his wild neighbors.


  1. Fabulous. Thanks for bringing us this magic.

  2. Hank rocks! Great piece. And Faith of Cranes is much read.

  3. Hank caught the wolf song and then I couldn’t stop myself from howling with him. Partway through my howl I started weeping, and this was when I learned how omnipresent wolves had been until this blink of recent history. Whatever its howl meant to my golden eyed singing partner on shore, it turned into a lament for him, for me, for all of us.

  4. Wow, what an awesome piece. I was very moved. We need to protect this specie. They are magical and magnificent animals. I am going to play this piece for my Chocolate Labrador, Joe – who I always remind him that he is only one “click” on the tree branch from a wolf. He has bright golden brown eyes and if he could, hackles on his soft dark brown fur. I look at his massive 90 lb. frame and beautiful confirmation and tell him, “Joe, you would make a magnificent wolf. Be proud of your heritage, because you…..are spawned from the wolf.”

  5. I, too, have had an encounter with a wolf and although it was not in the wild it was one of the most personal, visceral, amazing and memorable moments of my life . They are a regal animal and I thank you for giving us their voice here.

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