Setting out into the woods for a morel mushroom hunt, Joanne Barnaby and her friend Tammy Cauldron were canvassing an area of the woods near Fort Smith, NWT that had been recently burnt by wildfires.
The long-time friends would soon become separated.
As Barnaby filled her bucket with prized morels, she decided to head back to her truck when suddenly she was faced by a grizzled attacker.
“I heard this growl behind me. There was a long, tall, very, very skinny wolf. A black wolf. And his legs were spread and his hair was standing, and he was growling, and baring his teeth,” Barnaby told CBC News.
The wolf quarantined Barnaby and her dog, seemingly attempting to keep the pair from heading toward the highway and safety. The noticeably hungry wolf displayed no signs of giving up on his prey even after Barnaby’s dog, Joey, charged the animal.
The stalk continued for about 12 frightful hours as the wolf continued to push Barnaby and her dog further into the wilderness.
Barnaby was beginning to be worn down physically and the mosquitoes began to take a toll on her mental health.
Just before the sun began to rise, Barnaby was alerted to the recognizable commotion and communication between a bear and her cub. Assuming that the sow and cub had been separated, Barnaby decided the mother might be the pawn she needed in what had become a high-stakes chess game of survival.
“I realized that there was a chance that the mother bear would tackle the wolf if she felt that the wolf was a threat,” Barnaby explained.
“So I made the choice of walking towards the cub.”
It took about 20 minutes to lead the wolf in between the bear and her cub and it paid off.
“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!”
After eluding the wolf, Barnaby and her dog came across a lake where she was able to re-hydrate by using a beer can she had brought along for the trip. Soon after the pair emerged on the highway and were promptly greeted by the RCMP and Parks Canada officials.