I’m on my way to the edge of the forest.
It’s dark, windy and humid, and I’m trying to keep my eyes open for a sign of a wolf.
I’ve heard it all before.
“They are everywhere,” a ranger said in the forest last summer.
“It’s not just the animals.
There are these big cats, as well.
They have a habit of coming into the forest and killing people.
It is very scary.”
But this time, there’s something else to worry about.
The Jungle is the last wild tree in the entire landscape.
The forest covers nearly one million hectares in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria, and is the country’s largest living forest.
I am not sure where I’m going to start my journey from.
I’m driving along a dirt track.
I can’t see anything except the forest itself.
I stop, turn and start walking.
The ground is slippery, and the road is bumpy.
The wind is fierce.
I look up and there’s a figure behind me.
“You’re coming with me,” he says.
I follow him, and soon we are riding through the jungle.
The road is dusty, the wind is strong and the forest is a mess.
But I am getting close.
A tree has fallen over.
My feet hit the ground.
“Is this really going to be all right?” the ranger asks.
I tell him that I think so.
I start walking again.
I have no idea what to expect, but I am on my own.
“Are you sure?” he asks.
“I’ve seen them before,” I tell my guide.
“Yes, they are.”
He walks me down the road, and we drive off.
It might be the last place I see a wild animal alive.
I drive off the road for a while.
I wonder how I am going to find a way to get back to the ranger and ask him to check on me.
The next day, I get out of the car and check on the ranger.
He says there are no wolves in the jungle and that the only thing to do is to follow the trail.
“We don’t see any wolves in our area,” he said.
I ask what that means.
“If you’re coming from a bush, that’s probably a wolf,” he replies.
“There are some foxes that live here, too.
I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
I keep asking him what I should do.
“Stay with us and wait for the ranger to come back,” he tells me.
I keep walking.
A few minutes later, the ranger comes back with a message.
“A big pack of wolves is coming up the trail,” he responds.
“That’s a big pack,” I say.
“Where are you going?” he says as I start to walk.
“To see if there’s any wolves around,” I respond.
I hear the pack of wolfers coming closer.
“Come on,” the ranger says.
“Get behind me.”
I start following the pack as they approach the road.
I notice that I can see a big dog sitting on the side of the road with his leash tied.
“How far away are you from the pack?”
I say to the dog.
“About 100 metres,” he answers.
“Can you hear them?”
I try to reach out to him.
“Not right now,” he yells.
“Don’t try to touch me,” the dog replies.
The wolf pack comes closer.
The ranger says, “Go on ahead.”
The pack of dogs starts to approach the ranger, but he is holding onto a tree stump.
I turn around to see if I can reach him, but his leg is bent over.
The dog turns around and runs.
I try again, but my leg is still bent.
“No luck,” I mutter to myself.
I get back behind the tree stump and try to run towards the wolves, but they are still following me.
They get to me, but as I try and get up, they stop me.
When I get up they come running up to me and try and take my hand, but the dog still holds onto me.
He has to use his other hand to keep me on the ground as he walks.
I say, “No.”
They stop me, and take me to the road where I will find my way back to my car.
When they leave me, the wolf pack is gone.
I still don’t understand why the ranger told me to go along with the pack, but at least I can find my car and find my trail back home.