I tracked wolves with some scientist friends in northern Wisconsin a few times in 2001. in the winter there was an eerie contrast between the stillness of the forest after a blizzard when there’s no wind or birds to a piercing series of howls from different directions - right at nightfall.
You spend hours feeling so completely alone in silence and stillness to suddenly realising that you’re surrounded by wolves you can’t see. It’s eerie but exhilarating, because you know they’re probably far way and probably looking for deer to hunt.
But tracking Siberian tigers seems different because like the winter stillness beneath snow, tigers are soundless as they stalk. The contrast, then is visual: an infinity of white and brown with a single orange flash. I don’t think there’d be enough time to feel exhilarated if you spotted one.
Related: the way that the cold, that bitter, heavy cold, absolutely fucks with your brain cannot be understated.
Big cats…in the snow…fuck man. FUCK!