Late Saturday night I discovered there was one open spot left in the winter wolves program at the Wolf Conservancy Center in Salem, NY. I signed up right away because I've been wanting to try this this Never B4 adventure for months, ever since my good friends Rob and Adele recommended it. I also needed to run a mundane errand in Westchester on Sunday morning so planning a wolf adventure allowed me to turn a tedious task into a fun outing. Little did I know, that this little endeavor would turn into a total embarrassment.
Sunday morning turned out to be an icy mess. I saw at least 3 cars in ditches on the side of the road on my way to Salem so I called ahead to the Conservancy to say I'd be late. The fact that no one answered didn't surprise me. I just figured they were out running the wolves or something so I left a message. What did surprise me was the site of only one other car parked at the Conservancy gate when I finally pulled up their steep snowy road (20 minutes after the program was due to start).
I parked along side the lone car but from the thick layer of snow that covered it, it was clear the car had been there for several days. It appeared as if I was the only visitor. The gate was wide open though so I wondered if maybe the group had been asked to drive to a second location, maybe some place where the neighbor's houses weren't so close. (As an aside, the Conservancy is situated up on a hill with neighboring houses all around.)
I walked up the steep driveway, icy snow crunching under my feet, to find someone who could explain where the group had gone. To my left, down the hill, I could see a large fenced enclosure that I guessed was where the wolves roamed free. I didn't see any of them at the moment but I had nagging feeling that they were there and that they could easily see me.
"Hello!" I yelled meekly when I got to the top of the driveway but when no answer echoed back, I yelled it again with more volume. Again, there was no answer but thankfully there was no howling either.
I wandered around the grounds, to the cabin where the wolf classes were supposed to be held but it was locked up tight. Then I started towards what looked like a caretaker's house and that's when I noticed there were no footprints anywhere on the grounds and that the snow on the walkway to the front door had not yet been shoveled. Before I let myself believe that I could be a trespassing on a federally protected wildlife sanctuary and that there may be a few guard wolves lurking around somewhere, I snapped a few pics and then slipped my way back down the steep driveway to the car.
After only a few slips and thankfully no falls, I got back to the car to call the Conservancy again. Before dialing them up again, I used the browser on my phone to look again at the events calender where I had signed up for the event the night before. That's when I discovered the program I had signed up for had been scheduled for Saturday morning NOT Sunday morning!
I was a day late so no wonder there was no one around. Why the website let me register and pay for the event that had already taken place...why I thought the calendar said Sunday when it clearly said Saturday...and why the conservancy gate was wide open, I still don't know. I do know that I had actually been a trespasser on a federally protected lands. That truly was a first!
To cover my tracks and just in case they had surveillance cameras, I called the Conservancy one last time and left a long rambling message about my mistake and the fact that I wasn't really trespassing. I feared I protested too much and that a federal marshal would show up at my door in NY but instead, I got a call back and an invitation to use the registration fee I paid for any future visit. So this NB4 is "to be continued" and hopefully sometime very soon.
A second NB4 for this week is that I bought my first MAC laptop! I'm writing on it at this very moment and loving every minute of it! Go MAC!