Delany answered the phone as she was running out the door to meet Miquel. Drake, her brother, only called if he needed something at the office. He asked her if she could come back in and find the Westchester report. Delany reiterated to her brother that her assistant, Mary, would be available during her absence. Drake asked her where she was planning a trip; Delany knew he was only feigning interest but thought it might be a good idea to let someone know where they were going.
Miguel had arranged a vacation to Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. They had cross country skied at many resorts in the US and wanted to experience new trails. Miguel was meeting her at the airport in Seattle; they would take a flight to Alberta. The couple chose an Air Bed and Breakfast close to the park. Delany found them more interesting than a local motel and took every opportunity to experience as many as possible.
After they got settled in and had a late dinner Delany and Miguel retired for the night. The waiter had recommended one of his favorite trails Redearth Creek. He said it was 10.5 kilometers each way and had an elevation of 335 meters. He assured them there would be spectacular views, and they would thoroughly enjoy it. Besides restaurant and entree recommendations, the couple always appreciated the locals. Their input always warranted an extraordinary trip that would have been missed if they had only gone by the resort brochure.
After a pleasant night's sleep, Delany and Miguel woke at 6 am and were excited to start their journey. They packed plenty of water and protein snacks and ate a quick breakfast. Dinner was excellent the night before, and they planned on returning that evening.
Cross country skiing in Canada was exhilarating. The temperatures were cooler than in the United States, but both had dressed accordingly. Into the trek about five kilometers, Miguel asked Delany if she would like to take another small adventure. He said according to the trail map, a waterfall was adjacent to the area. Both Delany and Miguel loved to travel and experience new adventures. He led the way.
The waterfall they were chasing never appeared, and they thought it would be a good idea to turn around before they were lost. Delany looked up to take in the beauty and snapped a picture with her phone as she saw it. The snow on the mountain started cascading down, and she screamed for Miguel to get out of the way. He didn't hear her as the avalanche carried him down the mountain. The next shelf was triggered and poured down on her as she tried to grab hold of a branch. She grabbed the tree but not before she slammed her left leg into the trunk. The pain was incredible, and she knew instantly that she had shattered her leg.
After the snow settled and the danger of stirring another avalanche had passed, Delany tried to walk. The pain was unbearable, and she could not take a step. Her head started to spin, and she went unconscious. Several hours went by as she laid in the snow until she was awakened by a wet tongue pressed up against her face. Astonished by the animal, Delany jumped. As she opened her eyes wide, she realized it was a wolf, but not totally. There was certain domestication to it. A wolf wouldn't lick its prey; it would attack it. Delany had always been a dog person and knew it had to be at least part one.
Delany fell back to sleep, thankful that she had dressed warmly. She wanted to help Miguel, but she couldn't even help herself.
She didn't know if he had survived the fall. Her skis were gone, and she didn't know how she would be able to get off the mountain. Venturing off the cross country path proved unfortunate; She didn't know if anyone would realize they were missing. They had reserved the bed, and breakfast for a week. The owners assured them they would have privacy, which she feared would cause no one to be looking for them.
Night came, and the temperature began to drop; Delany continued to go in and out of consciousness. When she awoke the next morning, she was surprised to see her friend again. The wolf/dog had spent the night with her supplying her the benefit of its warm coat. Delany was amazed the animal was so docile and wondered if it was a figment of her imagination. After contemplating what was real, he came to her again and brought her a small rabbit. Delany had a lighter and pieces of paper in her backpack; she piled up twigs within her reach and started a small fire. She skinned the rabbit and cooked it quickly while sharing it with her new wolf friend.
She still had the protein bars but didn't know the extent of her stay or whether she would ever be found. Another night went by, and the wolf came to her again to offer his body heat. Delany decided to name her friend, Blanket for the comfort he was giving her during the night. After a couple more days of him bringing food, she shortened his name to Blake. It sounded more like a friend which he was becoming than Blanket. Blake came to Delany several times a day bearing gifts. He brought her sticks, which she was able to make a fire. He brought her rabbits and squirrels to eat and extra mittens he found along the trails. One of the best gifts that Blake found on the trail was one of her skis she had lost in the avalanche. She realized he was intelligent, and she had him sniff the ski and tried to coax him into finding the other one.
It took a couple more days for Blake to find the ski. He went out every day in search of the missing ski until he finally returned it to her. Delany had a plan; she thought if she could attach her backpack to the skis and make a makeshift stretcher, then maybe her wolf/dog could pull her off the mountain. It was a long shot, but she would have trouble convincing people that her friend had fed her and kept her warm. Delany had been up on the hill for several days without a single search party; she felt this was her only hope of surviving.
With the straps tied tightly around the skis, Delany took off her scarf and tied it to the sled and then around the body of Blake. Blake slowly started the descent. It took several hours to reach the bottom, but her wolf/dog had succeeded. Delany was taken to the hospital, where her leg was taken care of. The local Mounties searched the entire park for Miguel and found his lifeless body over a cliff covered in snow. Delany was devastated by the loss of her husband. She asked the Mounties if she could adopt the wolf-dog. They told her Canada's law prohibited owning a half-wolf. She told them she would do and pay whatever was necessary to send him home to the United States, for she owed him her life. He was closer to her than a brother.
Miguel, Blake, and Delany flew home to Seattle; Drake met her at the Airport and expressed how worried he was when the Mounties called and said she was missing. The Canadian police told her, the bed and breakfast called them about her and her husband missing and that no one knew of their location. If they called Drake, he knew where they went cross country skiing and failed to tell them. Delany was now seeing clearly her brother's interest. He would have been happy if she hadn't been found. The entire company would be his.
Delany went home and made arrangements for her husband, Miguel. She decided to sell her portion of the company and leave her partnership with her brother. The trauma of the accident, helped Delany see clearly; Her brother's loyalties were not with her. Blake, her wolf-dog was the only family she needed.