(serene music) – [Coyote Voiceover] As children we are told to follow our dreams To work hard and never give up until they come true This long journey north is one of my dreams (fire crackling) (serene music) Lost in the shadows of the Alaskan wilderness, I step into the tree line and take in the smell of the forest This is wolverine country and finally I am here (dramatic music) (gentle music) – Endless miles of dense forest, rushing rivers, and towering mountains encompass what is considered the last true frontier in North America Welcome to Alaska, a place where the wild stretches as far as the eye can see Staking claim as the largest and most sparsely populated U.S. state, it boasts a staggering 663,000 square miles of land, which also happens to be home for some of the continents most iconic animals If you look up, there is a good chance you will spot a bald eagle watching as you roam along a river’s edge This elegant bird of prey is a symbol of vision and if one sours across your path, it’s a sign that you should trust where you were going and what you will become My path in life had landed me here on the search for an animal so elusive that they are only ever seen at a glance, as a flash of fur in the underbrush or a shadow moving out of focus that you barely happen to catch from the corner of your eye To encounter a wolverine in the wild is next to impossible, but for me, part of the dream was to at least try The wolverine is a spiritual symbol of persistence, an animal that never surrenders, that never gives up, and which defies all odds when it comes to survival I knew that by immersing myself into this wild place, I would allow my mind and spirit to become one with the wolverine I needed to place my hands where paws may have touched the boulders that had worn down over millions of years to become grains of sand I wanted to drink the same life-giving water that melts from the glaciers and flows through the forests I challenged myself to venture across the skeletons of fallen giants so as to find myself facing the exact same obstacles this animal conquered with ease – This forest is like a playground I can only imagine what it would be like to be a wolverine out here in all this I’m trying to find one, but man, this terrain is difficult – [Coyote Voiceover] For several days we searched riverbeds, forests, and boulder strewn grasslands (gentle music) The screw was with me every step of the way as I climbed trees, foraged raging waters – Come on, keep going Hand me the camera Woo, this is tough – [Coyote Voiceover] And watched in wonder as the sun set beyond the mountains leaving an eerie glow in an ever darkening summer sky I wanted to find a wolverine more than anything I have ever wanted in my life Yet, as the hours turned into days, I came to the realization that it could take my entire lifetime and I may never see a wolverine in the wild Alaska is simply that vast and this creature is truly that elusive But Breaking Trails is an animal show, and if there is one thing I’ve promised each and every one of you, it’s that I would be getting up close with a wolverine So it was time to shift the gears into plan B However, not all things go according to plan

Whenever the crew and I can’t find animals in the wild, we work with sanctuaries that have rescued or raised them in captivity And today, we will be working alongside Steve Kroschel – Oh man, it is beautiful out today and we’re about to meet Steve He is the man who can speak with all animals, but specifically the wolverine Pretty excited to meet him I’ve got my little stuffed wolverine here, Gulo, who I’ve had since I was a little kid Eight years old, my mom made this for me and I’ve been carrying it ever since I figured no better place to bring this stuffed animal than to Alaska Here he comes This is Steve Steve – I heard talking – Sorry, we walked through the gate We didn’t know if anybody was here yet – Well, I could hear things and the birds stopping singing so I thought, what’s going on here – I’m Coyote – Nice to see you There’re a few of those around here, too Coyotes – Yeah, no, I know Well it’s a nickname I’ve had since I was a little kid I know it’s kind of unusual, but it’s an original thing – Coyote Peterson – Coyote Peterson, that’s it – You’ve got a show on the internet – Yes, YouTube We’ve been doing it for about two years now All sorts of different animals And hopefully today – You got one here – Yes, this is my wolverine – It’s not alive though – No, this is not as alive as the wolverines you’re used to I told myself if I ever actually make it to Alaska to see a wolverine, Gulo is coming with me – Oh God Well, you want to see a live one? – Yes If we can get close to live wolverine today, that would be pretty awesome – What do you mean by close? – As close as you’ll let me get – [Coyote Voiceover] So who is Steve Kroschel? Well, to put it simply, he is a man who cares about animals, so much so that he has dedicated his life to building an incredible wildlife sanctuary that is home to many rescued Alaskan animals, including moose, lynx, weasels, and, of course, the wolverine But we aren’t allowed to see that yet Aside from being the man who cares for and speaks to animals, he’s also an incredibly successful filmmaker Steve has produced and directed several award winning documentaries and is world renowned as being the master of avalanches That’s right, if you have ever seen an avalanche on screen, there is a good chance Steve is the one who filmed it – This has been a dream of mine since I was eight years old and you can help me realize that today If you’re willing to train me and let me get close I know, it’s crazy, right? – How much time do we have? – [Coyote] Well, we need to get this episode today So it’s eight o’clock right now and I’d like to be working with the wolverine by– – Today, today, today? – Today, so let’s say eight hours Can you turn me into somebody that’s ready to be in an enclosure with a wolverine in eight hours? (laughing) If you’re willing to train me, I’m willing to do whatever it takes – Train you? – Train me to the point where you feel I am ready to be in the presence of a wolverine – I mean (laughs) – Is that a yes? I think that’s a yes I think that’s a yes, guys – All right, let’s try something here – All right, let’s let the training begin Yeah, dude, we’re in So Steve, I noticed that you don’t wear any shoes Is there a reason for this? – Yeah, actually I can afford shoes, but I don’t like to wear them I really feel better, and this is scientifically backed, your physiology changes immediately when you connect to the Earth And all creatures, all animals are connect to the Earth Fish, birds, everything except people because of the rubber sole shoes So you’re missing out – OK, well, because I am walking in your steps today– – [Steve] No, no, no, don’t do that – [Coyote] No, no, no, no – [Steve] No, your feet aren’t Do you do this a lot? – No, but if I’m gonna learn from you, I need to be walking the same way that you do and connect with the planet OK, this is where it begins – [Steve] So we got, like, a day? Is that it? – Yeah, eight hours Eight hours before wolverine time – [Steve] Little wheels are turning in my head – [Coyote] OK Cool, are these all your skulls? Check this out Wow – [Steve] Here’s a wolverine skull right here – [Coyote] That is a wolverine skull – [Steve] That’s wolves here Anyway – [Coyote] Wow, can’t I hold it? – [Steve] Yeah, sure, yeah – OK, so I’ve seen wolverine skulls in museums This is actually the first time I have ever physically held one – Really? – Yeah, honest to goodness OK, so Steve, I know this is gonna seem a little bit weird, but hold onto the skull Trust me OK, I’m gonna put my hand inside of the jaws and I want you to just apply a little pressure Now press down I’ll tell you when to stop Keep going, keep going, keep going, keep going

OK, that’s good, that’s good – Yeah, well, Jiminy Christmas – Wow, those canines are unbelievably sharp Look at the indentation that that put into my hand OK, now that I feel like I know what it’s like to be slightly bitten by a wolverine, let’s get into the training – [Steve] Oh, Jesus – [Coyote Voiceover] I think at this point, Steve either thought I was completely crazy, or that I was simply willing to do whatever it would take to get face-to-face with the wolverine Then all of a sudden, I was presented with my first test – Uh oh – What was that? – Got a little (mumbles) coming here Relative of the wolverine – In that pipe? – Yeah – [Coyote] Is it a weasel? – [Steve] No, it’s a mystery animal – [Coyote] Mystery animal – [Steve] You know what? I’m gonna get a little jar of jelly and I’ll reveal it How’s that? – [Coyote] That sounds really good OK, Steve, whenever you’re ready – I went in the cabin and got this jelly I need to find a stick – About this long? Is that good? – [Steve] Just get a little bit on the end – [Coyote] Like that? – [Steve] He’s growling again He smells that Hurry, hurry, hurry This is a mini wolverine on steroids – Right First task, I can do this You do the countdown for me – No, I can’t do it – I hear it, I hear it, it’s OK, it’s OK I got it, count me down – It’ll bite you It’ll bit you on the face – It’s OK, count me down – One, two (laughs) – Did you see how fast that pine marten came out of that little box? And I still have all my fingers How’d I do, Steve? – Oh, that’s good enough (laughs) – [Coyote Voiceover] In my mind, I was certain that it was time to meet the wolverine I was barefoot, I felt the power of the wolverine’s teeth, and I passed the pine marten test with flying colors In my second test, Steve needed me to cut a gift for the wolverine out of moose hide – That is your offering to the animal It’s a peace offering This’ll help you to understand what size the wolverine would like and you’re gonna put feeling into it Even while you’re cutting it, you’re gonna think about wolverines You’re getting into the wolverine’s frequency You’re dialing in Right now, go ahead Don’t cut yourself – [Steve] Bigger – [Coyote] Bigger? – [Steve] Yeah That looks like you’re insulting him – Oh boy OK, he says bigger It’s still wet down here Absolutely stinks OK, and this has gotta be the one That is all still rotting right there Almost looks like the face of a Sasquatch All right, Steve, I think I got a piece – [Steve] That looks good – [Coyote Voiceover] There is no greater stench than rotting moose hide Steve instructed me to literally rub the rotting skin all over the inside of the arena – The sense of smell in a wolverine is very, very, very keen One molecule per five million OK, yours is, like, one in a 125,000 – [Coyote Voiceover] The only thought going through my mind other than washing my hands was when in the world am I going to see this wolverine Next, he had me carry a 40 pound slab of cow ribs for nearly a mile I was to place it in the arena as an offering to the wolverine and a sign that I came in peace After that, he said I needed to work on my speed, so I sprinted Next, it was my balance, so I balanced Steve believed that conditioning me both physically and mentally was the only way I stood any chance at surviving an encounter with a wolverine I knew I was getting close and as Steve headed off on his own, he instructed me to enter the arena and take a nap He said that if I fell asleep listening to the call of the raven that it would guide me to a dream that would tell of my destiny (raven squawking) (tranquil music) (raven squawking)

– [Mark] Coyote, what’s up, man? What’s going on? – Well, it is mid-afternoon at this point It’s hot We haven’t seen Steve for hours I’m beginning to wonder at this point is Steve turning me into Steve, or is Steve turning me into a wolverine – [Coyote Voiceover] The crazy thing about Steve is that even when you don’t think he’s listening, he’s listening My feet were weathered and worn My hands ached And just when I felt that I couldn’t go any further, Steve sat me down and told me that my training was complete He said that I still wasn’t read to meet the wolverine, but that it was time to learn how to speak their language And if I could accomplish that, or at least get to a point where I wasn’t asking for my face to be clawed off, that maybe, just maybe I would be ready to meet the phantom of the north This next part is probably one of the strangest things I have ever done But when the teacher instructs, the student would be wise to listen to his teachings – [Mark] What’s going on right now, Coyote? – [Coyote] At this point I am going to learn a little bit about the vocalizations that it takes to interact with the wolverine – If the wolverine comes at you, it’s (screams) Can you do that? (screams) – OK, that’s good enough I can tell you can do it You gotta remember that because he will do things to you in which you won’t like – But I noticed you have a whole bunch of variation in everything that you do and I want to make– (screeching) – That’s when he’s coming at you and he’s got that meat and you’re trying to (screeching) That’s it, that’s it And then if he’s chewing on it, if he’s doing what you want him to do – Just give him positive reinforcement? – You got to keep talking the whole time because he doesn’t know you Yeah, at some point (screeching) No, no, no, no, only if he comes at you No, no, that wasn’t good enough – What if he makes full contact? – Then you just (growls) (growls) – OK, that’s good and I’ll get there Oh God, that’s good Don’t do anymore – It’s good? – Yeah – You hear that, he said that He said it’s good I think I’m there, guys I think I think he’s ready and I think I’m ready I’m sure you’re sitting there in front of your screen thinking to yourself, Coyote, what goes through one’s mind before they get into an enclosure with a wolverine? I’m excited because for 25 years, I’ve been trying to get to this point But at the same time, my heart is moving at about a million miles a second And I am nervous, I’m not gonna lie But I need to make sure that that wolverine does not realize that I’m nervous because if it does, it’s going to completely control the situation I need to keep my cool and get this animal up close for the cameras Gulo, my little buddy, it’s been a long journey to get to this point This is where I leave you behind and I get in with the real, living, breathing wolverine Mark, are you ready for this? – [Mark] As ready as I’m gonna be, man Let’s do it – We’re about to get into an enclosure with a real live wolverine (serene music) This is the wolverine coming out – [Steve] See if he’ll go up this log here Here we go – [Coyote Voiceover] The animal was incredible, just as I had envisioned in my dreams And as it scaled the log and came to a stop, there was no hesitation between us as instantly, we came face to face My dream of meeting a wolverine had come true

– [Steve] Here you go – [Coyote] Ready? – [Steve] All right – Cool, did you get that? – Yeah – That was incredible That was it I just made a connection with a wolverine This is good, right? He’s accepting the fact that I have him on the tether – [Steve] Yeah, OK, just let him walk Let’s let him meet your wolverine You got a hold of him He’s meeting your wolverine that you had as a child Oh my God – [Coyote] It’s OK, it’s OK This is completely natural Look at that What is that? What is that, (mumbles)? It’s OK, it’s OK Wow – [Steve] Let him go, go, go That’s good, that’s good, that’s good Let him be there, let him be there Let him be there, that’s good, that’s good OK Now we’re gonna go back – I can’t believe it Now we gotta see if Steve will actually let me into the enclosure and get it off the harness – [Steve] Go ahead, gulu – [Coyote] OK, now Mark’s coming in with us You know that, right? – Yep – [Coyote Voiceover] I was about to be the first animal show host in history to enter an enclosure with an unharnessed wolverine – In an enclosure right now with a wolverine I want to turn this GoPro on and just set this over here by the moose skin and the cow meat – [Steve] So Coyote, you’re over there now Get that moose hide Get that gift – This is my gift – [Steve] And then Mark is right behind Coyote – [Coyote] OK – OK, I’m gonna let him go now – OK – There we go – OK – Now I’m gonna get over on this side and be behind you and I’m gonna watch – [Coyote] OK – [Steve] I think he’s so preoccupied – [Coyote] OK, at this point, the wolverine is off of the harness We are in an enclosure with the animal – [Steve] Here he comes to you OK, let him pull it Let him pull it – Do I let go? – [Steve] No, no, just let him pull on it OK, OK, let go – [Coyote] Oh, he likes that I knew it, that soft part of the moose’s belly– – [Steve] Watch your hands, watch your hands – [Coyote] OK – [Steve] Very nice, that’s your gift to him Now, I would get up and walk over here with me Just watch him I wouldn’t get any closer He’ll defend his kill – [Coyote] I am about two feet away from the wolverine right now – [Steve] No, it’s OK Let him do whatever he wants What I want you to do now if he gets a little bit further, I want you to grab that piece of meat, take it and put it over here and see if he takes it and puts it back If you do that, you’re developing a relationship with him without insulting him Hurry, hurry, hurry, pick it up and throw it back Throw it over here Hurry, hurry, hurry – [Coyote] Here he comes, here he comes He now sees that the meat is not there It’s right here – [Steve] OK, pull on it OK, let him have it, let him have it Let him have it, that’s enough That’s very nice – [Coyote] Didn’t struggle too much – [Steve] Well, he didn’t jump from the meat to you so this is a good sign that he’s accepting you in a sense of he’s letting you into his private world now – [Coyote] OK – [Steve] That is incredible That’s like I just can’t believe what I just saw – Damn, here it is OK, I’m watching him Here you go – [Steve] Watch your hand Go ahead, go ahead Be careful – [Coyote] I’m gonna let him drag, that one was his – [Steve] I’m gonna give you my shirt – [Coyote] OK, put that on? You think he’ll feel a little more comfortable? – [Steve] Put that on Put that on You’re taking over my You see that’s all the holes in there – [Coyote] I’m gonna drag the meat back again just real slowly See if we can do that again – [Steve] Do it quickly – [Coyote] Let’s just let it be natural Trust me, just let me let the wolverine come up to me – [Steve] Don’t – [Coyote] Here, look, look (suspenseful music) Look how strong He actually pulled me forward He definitely got it from me That’s OK, I’m gonna let him – I’m gonna let him eat – [Steve] That’s enough, that’s enough, that’s enough Really, serious – [Coyote] Come on, close, close, close, close Look at that, and from right at this position, you can see just how powerful those jaws are He is just razoring through that meat

– [Steve] All right, we’re done – [Coyote] We’re not done, he’s OK, he’s OK – [Steve] No, no, no, no, no, no, no We got meat and you I need you to go this way – Go this way, OK, I’ll get behind the meat – [Steve] OK, open that door – Well, when Steve says that’s enough, that’s enough At this point, the wolverine’s getting a little too rowdy and Steve said out of the cage But that has to be the coolest thing that I’ve ever done while hosting an animal show My heart is racing and it was absolutely unbelievable – So what you did there, the relationship that I’ve had with this wolverine its entire life and for 36 years working with wolverines, what you did, unprecedented No one’s ever done that I haven’t even done something like what you just did And it touched you with its teeth, it nose You had made contact, also, he allowed you What we did today is we pushed all the knowledge I had and you pressed down all that that wolverine will give me, the benefit of the doubt, benefit of the doubt of being a nice animal, being with proper etiquette protocol for a human being and you brought it to that far from reality – [Coyote] OK – That far from reality – That’s pretty close That’s pushing the envelope Steve, I cannot thank you enough for that experience, my friend There are no words that can come out of my mouth right now that can truly explain what it was like to be in that enclosure with the wolverine I can see the relief on your face All that stress I know how hard it was for you to let me get in there All my fingers are still intact I made contact with the wolverine Today, you helped me realize a dream that I’ve had since I was eight years old I don’t know how I could ever thank you enough for what today was All those kids out there that just watched this episode that experienced and got to see a wolverine for the first time, you helped me do that Thank you, thank you so much – I’m gonna hug you – [Coyote] This has been so much fun – I want my shirt back though – Yes, no, you need this I can see what it was like for you to be having that wolverine jump all over – Maybe I’ll send it to you when it has a few more holes in it – Yeah, I love the big, huge paw mark that’s on the back here and all those claw marks – Oh my gosh, there really is a wolverine track there – There is – Yikes – That is awesome I’m Coyote Peterson Be brave Stay wild We’ll see you on the next adventure – [Coyote Voiceover] The realization of a dream is a powerful thing, and in some cases it may take your entire life before you achieve a single one For the crew and I to reach the far northern state of Alaska, it took many years of incredibly hard work and the persistence to never give up on what many thought was impossible The days I spent working alongside Steve will always be held dear in my heart as he truly is a gift to this world His love and appreciation for animals and his connection to the planet is unlike anything I have ever known I am proud to call him my mentor and I am blessed to have him as my friend I will never forget the moments I spent in the presence of the wolverine and I truly consider this phantom of the wilderness to be my spirit animal Looking back on it all, I now have a new dream, to one day return to Alaska And I hope that when I do, the north welcomes me back with a smile and a sharp pair of claws If you thought this adventure was epic, make sure to go back and watch as we kayaked into the Alaskan wilderness to get up close with a sockeye salmon And don’t forget, subscribe so you can join me and the crew on this season of Breaking Trail – [Coyote] Got one, got one! Woo, here we go There we go, got one It’s strong, it’s heavy Get the (mumbles) That’s a pretty good one (coyote howling)