The wolf showed up around Shannon Cartwright’s place in October 2014. She never saw it, but a neighbor did. That’s how she knew it was black. By then, Cartwright had lived off the grid nearly 40 years. She’d seen about 30 wolves, maybe more.
“This one,” she said, “it wasn’t normal.”
Each morning, she woke in her cabin off the rail line north of Talkeetna and went out with her dog, Coda. Each morning she found new wolf tracks in the snow. With each passing day, the wolf was coming closer to the cabin.
Cartwright, a longtime Alaska children’s book illustrator, was in her mid-60s, and lived alone. Her nearest neighbor was a mile away. Her satellite phone was unreliable. She had a rifle, but it had been years since she was steady enough to shoot it.