WINNIPEG — A night hike in the Spruce Woods Provincial Park took a terrifying turn for a Manitoba couple who were forced to hide in a washroom after being chased by what RCMP believes was a pack of coyotes.
Michael Addaway and his girlfriend Demorie James were camping overnight in the Spruce Woods Provincial Park on Sunday. The couple decided to go for a night hike to see the stars on the Devil’s Punch Bowl Trail.
“We were the only couple in there. We heard a few howls, and I thought it was coyotes and I really wasn’t that worried,” Addaway said.
As the couple hiked on, Addaway said his flashlight died, so instead of continuing with the hike, the couple said they climbed a hill, put down a blanket and settled in under the stars.
“Everything was good for about 10 or 15 minutes, and all of a sudden we heard a howl in front of us,” Addaway said, adding more howls joined in.
“As they’re howling, they’re getting closer like they’re running at us.”
Addaway and James left their blanket and ran, eventually coming up on a washroom that was unlocked.
Addaway said he looked down the path, and asked James to howl to see how close the pack was behind them.
“As she howled, it was like a wolf, it came around the corner and the rest of them were behind it and they started running right at me,” he said.
The couple hid in the washroom as they heard the pack of animals circling outside. Addaway said he called the RCMP and at one point he was transferred to Manitoba Conservation, and was told there were no conservation officers in the park overnight.
Manitoba RCMP told CTV News officers received the call shortly before 11:50 p.m. local time.
“Officers attended immediately,” RCMP told CTV News in a statement. “Those trails are accessible by vehicle, so the officers drove to the location. When they arrived, no animals were present.”
The officers helped the couple back to their vehicle. Given the close call, the couple decided to spend the night in their car.
RCMP said there are no known wolf sightings in Spruce Woods Provincial Park, but there has been lots of coyote activity. RCMP said it is believed the couple were chased by coyotes.
Regardless of what had been chasing them, Addaway said the night could have ended very differently.
“We probably would have died, there’s no way we could have fought all those off,” he said.
While he is thankful to have made it through the night unharmed, Addaway said he still has concerns, given that there were full garbage cans along the pathway that night.
“Everyone knows that draws the animals in,” he said.
CTV News has reached out to Manitoba Conservation for more information.