All right, flashback over. Now that we know Miyax's backstory, we can get back to business with her on the tundra. Remember, our wolves have gone and Miyax is all alone out there. We're getting scared just thinking about it.
Back on the tundra, Miyax scopes out the now-empty wolf den. She picks up a piece of bone she wants to carve into a comb, and an antler she wants to use as a weapon. Standing there, she wonders if she'll ever see her wolves again. We hope so, Miyax.
She heads back to her house, but when she gets there, she's horrified to find it completely destroyed.
And she was only gone for a second! Her food is gone, and her supplies are strewn everywhere. Yikes. This is seriously not good. In fact, it's really, really, really bad.
Miyax, naturally, starts to get super scared. Her stockpile of food was the only way she was going to survive. She's just beginning to wonder who did this when Jello arrives.
Jello! What a jerk. Miyax is seriously ticked off, so she attacks Jello, and bites him on the nose, causing him to eventually run away.
She takes stock of the damage. Most of her food is gone, except for a little bit she had kept in her backpack.
All alone, and even more helpless than before, she takes just a moment to feel sorry for herself before she gets back to work. She packs up everything, looks at the directions in which her pebbles point, and hits the road. Point Hope or bust.
Pretty soon, the sun sets, and Miyax makes camp. As she nods off, she wonders about what Amaroq and Kapu are doing at this very minute.
When she wakes up, the sun is shining. But she has that creepy, hairs-on-the-back-of-her-neck-standing-up feeling that someone is watching her. Plus, something has taken a rabbit from her pack in the middle of the night.
All day, she can't shake the feeling that someone is watching, so she distracts herself by singing songs as she moseys along.
That night, as she's cooking dinner, two huge caribou pass by, and she realizes that she has set up camp in the middle of caribou mating grounds. Oops.
She picks up her things and makes a new camp by a pond. Wide awake, she decides to kill some time by carving that comb she wanted to make. Miyax sure knows how to kill time. Is she ever bored?
That night, as she snuggles into bed, Miyax she sees a star, which is awesome news. It means that soon the North Star will appear, and that will help her navigate.
She hears a wolf call, and she thinks the wolf is sending a warning that there is danger nearby.
Then the entire wolf pack joins in, and the song is a happy one. Miyax recognizes her beloved pack. She hears everyone, except for Jello. Uh oh. Where's Jello?
Sure enough, a bit later, Jello appears in her camp, growling. He steals her pack. What did Miyax ever do to you, Jello?
Her pack has absolutely everything in it – Miyax's knives, her needles, her food, her boots. This is not good. This is really not good. Miyax begins to cry, and wonders how long it will take her to die. Okay, this is getting seriously depressing.
But when she wakes up a while later, she's filled with hope again. A wolf has urinated near her camp, and though this seems pretty rude to us, she knows it's a good sign. It's good urine. Nice urine. Hey, whatever gets you out of bed in the morning, Miyax.
She jury-rigs some new boots out of her sleeping skin and goes off in search of her pack. As she stumbles around awkwardly and worries about how she'll survive without her things, she realizes just how impressive it is that the Eskimos managed to survive off the land.
Suddenly, she comes upon Jello, who is dead as a doornail. What happened?
She figures it out: Amaroq has turned on him because he stole meat from one of his pups – Miyax. If that's not a sign that Miyax is officially a part of the wolf pack, we don't know what is.
Her pack is there, and when she opens it, she finds all her things (minus the food, of course).
Thank goodness. She's filled with gratitude toward Amaroq, her "adopted father" (3.52).
She realizes now that reaching Point Hope is not as important to her as it once was. Now she knows how to survive on her own in the wild. But still, she heads toward the town.
One evening, as she imagines beautiful San Francisco to pass the time, it occurs to her that the tundra is even prettier. We're talking seriously gorgeous. It's winter, but she's not afraid.
She stops to make some tent poles out of frozen cylinders of grass with some awesome Eskimo wizardry. She knows every trick in the book! She pitches a tent and settles in for the night.
When she hears Amaroq call, she responds to tell him where she is. Soon after, Kapu appears, and she's super happy to see him, and not just because he's brought her a caribou leg. She sees just how strong he has become.
Miyax is feelin' good. How 'bout a dance? And dance she does, right out there on the freezing tundra. The dancing makes her very warm.
Next, Miyax goes to work on her caribou skin. She cuts it into four strips and a circle. But then she sinks them in the icy lake next to which she's made her camp. What's this all about?
During the night, it begins to snow, and when she wakes the next day, the tundra is completely white. It's also very cold, but that's no big deal for Miyax.
After she's eaten, Miyax retrieves her caribou skin pieces from the lake. She does some wonderwork with her knife, and lets her creation freeze in the air.
She's made – wait for it – a sled! Miyax has got some serious skills. She's officially on our list of whom we'd want to be stuck with on a deserted island. As long as that island is in the Arctic. Then it gets even more impressive: next she rigs herself up a pair of snowshoes. She's a handy girl, indeed.
Later that day, as she's traveling through the tundra, she thinks she sees the wolves, and is totally pumped to see them. But it turns out to be only a mirage, or "frost spirits" (3.81). (That means it was just in her imagination.)
During her travels that day, Miyax notices signs that she's getting closer to the coast. She even sees an oil drum, which is a sure sign of approaching civilization. She's stoked to see these things.
Or is she? Now she's not sure she even wants to go back to town. She had started to enjoy herself all alone out in the wilderness.
Miyax hears Amaroq and the others barking and howling to each other. Their barks turn angry, so Miyax heads toward them to see what's up.
A grizzly, that's what. Yikes. The wolves are trying to scare away a great big bear. Unfortunately, their plan doesn't quite work, because the bear heads straight for Miyax. She runs away until the wolves are successful at heading it off. They were looking out for her, she realizes.
This whole incident totally freaks out Miyax, but it also makes her very grateful to have the wolves around. But then she starts to worry all over again. After all, she's getting closer to civilization, and wolves don't like civilization. Civilization, in fact, kills wolves.
She's even more horrified when she realizes that the fact that the grizzly is awake and about means that the hunting season has begun.
She's scared for her wolf friends, so she invents a song to tell them to go away. No sooner has she sung this song than she finds herself in a white out (i.e., a blizzard so bad that you can't even see right in front of your face).
Trapped inside her tent, she starts to work on her comb again. But she realizes that the bone is not a comb – it's Amaroq, so she begins carving it to look like him. Okay, she carves, too? Is there anything our girl can't do?
Miyax gets into bed, but hears a bird chirping up a storm outside her tent. What's a bird doing out here all alone in winter?
She lets the creature in her tent and decides to take care of it, because it's clearly lost, like her. She names him Tornait, the Eskimo word for bird spirit.
Tornait and Miyax wait out the white out. When it finally clears, she sees that Kapu and Amaroq have stopped by for a visit. They are alone because Amaroq is teaching Kapu how to hunt.
Again, Miyax worries about how to convince the wolves not to follow her on her way to civilization. She tries using wolf language to pass along the message, and then she resumes her journey with Tornait in tow.
Later, she sees an airplane. It's following a river, which excites Miyax. She might be even closer to Point Hope than she thought.
But the plane isn't as promising as it originally seems. The passengers are hunters, shooting down at the tundra from the sky. And Amaroq and Kapu are nearby and in danger. Uh oh.
To be fair, Miyax is also worried about herself because she kind of looks like an animal in her fur parka. So she takes shelter near an oil drum.
The hunters open fire on Amaroq, who senses danger and shoos Kapu away. Miyax tries frantically to call Amaroq to her, but it's too late. She watches as the hunters shoot him down. Amaroq, her wolf father, is dead.
Clearly scared out of his wits, Kapu runs to Amaroq. He, too, gets shot by the hunters. But he has survived. For now, at least.
The hunters open fire yet again and Miyax looks up at the plane. All of civilization flashes before her eyes. The plane is a monster. She sees men laughing in the cockpit. It's nothing but awful.
Suddenly the plane is gone. They don't even stop to retrieve Amaroq, which appalls Miyax. She doesn't understand why they killed him, if they don't get any money from it. What's the point?
She has more pressing matters to worry about, because Kapu is bleeding buckets. She tends to his wound, and sets up her tent around him.
Miyax wants to go say goodbye to Amaroq, but it hurts too much, so she focuses on taking care of Kapu. She even stitches his wound while singing the healing song of the bent woman.
That night, the northern lights (http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/northernlights.html) begin. Miyax hears Nails howling from nearby, and she answers him. She also hears Silver and the pups. They're all looking for Amaroq and Kapu.
Finally feeling like she's up to it, Miyax goes to say goodbye to Amaroq. She sings him a song and asks his spirit to enter the totem she has carved of him from the bone she found at the wolves' den.
She feels just a bit better after this. She stays up all night long listening to the other wolves howl in mourning for Amaroq.
On November 10th, the sun goes down completely for the rest of winter. Miyax nurses Kapu back to health in her tent and continues to care for Tornait. To pass the time, she carves a sculpture of her wolf pack out of the antler she had used as a weapon.
Miyax knows she can't go to San Francisco anymore. Amaroq's death has made that much clear. But where can she go, then? Not back to Daniel, that's for sure. And not back to Martha, either. This is gonna take some thinking.
When Silver shows up one night with only a hare, Miyax knows the wolves won't survive long without a leader. They need bigger game, so she decides to move to the river, where there are more and larger animals to hunt.
Eventually, Kapu gets healthy again and returns to the wolf pack. Now he's the leader. And now it's just Miyax and Tornait again.
She keeps heading toward Point Hope – it's as good a direction as any – and the oil drums grow more and more frequent. Miyax doesn't like it at all. She decides she wants to live like an Eskimo, and never go back to civilization.
So she builds herself an ice house. She wants to be a true Eskimo, and that's what true Eskimos do. She passes her time hunting, carving, dancing, sewing, chopping wood, and making candles.
Honestly, she seems pretty content. She even makes Tornait a little bird jacket.
One night, she hears footsteps outside. People! She sees an Eskimo family – a man, his wife, and their baby. They're out on a hunt with their dog sled. She's excited to meet "one of her own pack" (3.190), so she invites them to stay in her ice house.
They introduce themselves in English, but Miyax pretends not to understand, so they speak to her in Upik – her Eskimo dialect.
The man's name is Atik, and his wife's name is Uma. Their baby is Sorqaq. Miyax tells them about her life in her ice house (but she leaves out anything about her wolf pack), and they tell her they come from a town called Kangik.
In Kangik, there's a mission, a school, electricity, and snowmobiles. That doesn't sound too bad. Miyax thinks it might be nice to live there and teach children. She likes the idea of living in a town full of Eskimos.
The next morning, Uma tells her that a man named Kapugen taught Atik how to hunt in Kangik.
Wait. Did she say Kapugen?
Eagerly, Miyax asks for more information. She finds out her father is alive, and lives in a green house on the outskirts of Kangik. He breeds and raises musk-oxen, which raises money for the town.
Right then and there, she makes up her mind to travel to Kangik and reunite with her father.
Just a bit later, Atik, Uma, and Sorqaq head off to continue on their hunt. As soon as they're out of sight, Miyax packs up all her belongings and heads out for Kangik.
Only a mile into her journey, Kapu appears. Miyax is terrified. She doesn't want him following her to civilization, where he might get killed like Amaroq. Then all the wolves appear, and call her to them. But she tells them she can't follow, because her "own Amaroq lives" (3.226).
She puts her wolf language to use and tells them all to stay.
And these are her last words to them. It's okay to cry.
Soon, she approaches Kangik. But instead of heading straight into town, she makes camp just outside of it, so she can get her thoughts together. She sees two green houses, and she wonders which one is Kapugen's.
Then, three children come out of one of the green houses, so she realizes he must live in the other one. But a woman comes out of the other green house. Oh. He must have gotten remarried.
Miyax understands, even though this throws a bit of a wrench into her plans.
The woman heads to the church and Miyax decides that this is the time to go visit, because Kapugen will be alone.
When Kapugen opens the door to Miyax, she's speechless. But she finds her words soon enough and tells him she has a present for him – Tornait, the bird.
Even though he doesn't recognize her, he invites Miyax in, and immediately she feels right at home. It reminds her of his house at the seal camp.
Tornait hops out of her coat and Miyax tells Kapugen that he's a golden plover – the spirit of the birds. Kapugen asks her where she heard this, and then he pushes back her parka hood. He asks who she is. She gives him her full name.
He tells her she is beautiful like her mother. They hug. Yay!
Reunited at last, Kapugen tells Miyax that when he sent her off to school, he got so sad he had to go start a new life for himself.
Then, the woman comes in. Miyax is upset to see that she's a white woman, with red hair. Kapugen has changed, somehow. The old Kapugen would never have married a gussak (a white woman).
Miyax looks around and notices that his house is filled with modern things like radios and curtains and an electric stove. She sees a helmet and goggles on a chair.
Kapugen sees her staring at these things and tells her he owns an airplane. Uh oh. Miyax is having trouble swallowing all this information.
Could Kapugen be the one who shot Amaroq?
The white woman speaks to Miyax in broken Upik. She tells her that she will enroll Miyax in school where she can learn English.
But Miyax tells them that she's on her way to San Francisco. She says she has the transportation all arranged. Is she lying to her father?
The phone rings and Kapugen takes the call. He has to run out, but he tells Miyax to wait for him, and then he tells the woman, Ellen, to make Miyax some food.
Ellen heads off to the kitchen to get to work, and Miyax takes the chance to leave.
She returns to her camp outside of town and packs up her things. She heads back to her ice house on the river, planning to live like an Eskimo for the rest of her life. It's not a bad plan.
But something's wrong: Tornait is sick. She tries to feed him but he refuses to eat.
She pitches her tent and tries to take care of him, but he dies, and she buries him in the snow.
She touches the Amaroq totem in her pocket and sings a song to Amaroq in her best English.