Going off the grid in the wild is a tempting course of action in our modern, tech-heavy age. But know that when you venture into the great outdoors, it becomes hard to control things the way you’re used to at home. Nature is full of surprises. Joanne Barnaby discovered this while morel-hunting with her dog and a friend in Fort Smith, a small Canadian town along the border of the Northwestern Territories and Alberta.
According to CBC, Barnaby’s mushroom hunting ground was a few hundred miles north of the Fort McMurray wildfires. Mid-adventure, she and fellow mushroom picker Tammy Caudron were separated, at which point Barnaby and her dog Joey found themselves being stalked by “a long, tall, very, very skinny wolf. A black wolf.” The dog tried to fend off the wolf, but the beast stood its ground.
“It took me a while to realize that he knew what he was doing. He was trying to wear me down. He was trying to separate Joey [the dog] and I,” Barnaby told CBC. “I think he was weak. He didn’t look healthy. He looked old to me… I don’t think he wanted to take us both on… He was dogged. He was just determined [and] I was in trouble.”
Over the next 12 hours, the wolf pushed Barnaby and Joey farther from the highway. That’s when, at around 4:30 a.m. local time, she discovered an adult female bear and her cub. The bears are out of sight of one another, which Barnaby realized she could use to her advantage (though it was a huge risk). She decided that by walking toward the cub she could encourage the hungry wolf to follow suit. It worked.
I heard this big crashing behind me and realized that the mama bear had attacked the wolf, or maybe the other way around, I don’t know, but they were fighting and I could hear the wolf yelping and I could hear the mama bear growling and I could hear all this crashing and I just took off!
Soon after sneaking away from the fight, Barnaby and her dog slowly made their way back to the highway. All Barnaby had with her was a single can of beer, which she drank for sustenance. “That little can of beer ended up saving my life.”
The pair finally reached the road Saturday morning and were promptly rescued.