THE TWO WOLVES emerged like specters from the tree line and crossed a field of snow. From that moment, and even after everything that followed, no one disputed their penetrating beauty. Silver on white.
Two men watched them approach. The men—a pilot named Todd Svarckopf and an aviation worker named Chris Van Galder—worked at Points North Landing, an outpost that serves local mining camps in Saskatchewan province, about 750 miles north of the U.S. border. On this particular day in November 2005 a low cloud ceiling prevented aerial surveys for signs of uranium, so the bored men had struck out, walking toward a nearby junkyard to kill a few hours looking at a collection of abandoned airplanes.
They had crossed the camp's snow-covered airstrip and started across the moss-sprung landscape when the wolves appeared. One darker, one lighter. The darker one approached Svarckopf. He yelled at it, and it retreated a few steps.
"Whatever we do," the pilot told Van Galder, standing nearby, "we don't turn and run."
Since they stood just a few hundred yards from the camp, the men tried to back away toward safety. As they did, though, the wolves grew more aggressive: The light gray one approached Svarckopf, and he turned to face it; when he did, the dark wolf moved on Van Galder, the smaller man. He shouted at the animal, but the wolf held its ground, squatting on its haunches almost within arm's reach. Van Galder called to Svarckopf, who…