What are the most dangerous creatures in the wilderness? Bears? Wolves? No, it’s men. Or teenagers, delinquents hellbent on getting rid of any adult trying to help them. So goes William J. Pardue’s recollection of the real-life events that transpired in “Wolf Creek.” There, he served as a wilderness counselor for troubled juveniles and found himself tested by both the unforgiving forces of nature and the very misguided youths who he swore to rehabilitate.
For one year he lived in the remote woods with ten emotionally-disturbed teens determined to kill him or run him off rather than accept him as their leader. At this time, Pardue was fresh off of college and had no idea what he was in for when he took the job. The boys were from the Southside of Chicago and were hardened gang members, killers, and mentally troubled individuals. The only thing they shared was abandonment, by their parents and by society itself.
Pardue had to contend with their violent natures and their unpredictability. These were troublemakers rejected by Chicago's juvenile detention systems and passed on to the Boys' Ranch in Austin, Texas, where Pardue had to pacify them and render them fit to return to society. Not the easiest task, for sure.
Pardue and the youths had formative experiences together, slowly and painfully forming a surrogate family unit built on trust and love — something the teens had been deprived of. Of course, along the way they had to go through gang fights, barefoot mountain climbing, deadly flash floods and more. In these moments, these trials and tribulations, readers will see the process in which Pardue finally turned the youths around.
It was literally do or die, as they were bereft of any modern amenities, surrounded at night by predators on the hunt, and of course the harsh elements. Yet the boys were still the most significant threat — to themselves, not to mention Pardue. Their histories, violent ways and ingrained hatred and trauma formed the ultimate adversity they had to overcome. Survival went beyond lighting fires or making shelter, it involved the process of the youths' self-discovery, and their introduction to concepts such as community, compassion, love, and forgiveness. Only by learning such things could they emerge from the night.
All in all, this transformative wilderness adventure in "Wolf Creek" will show readers how even the most damaged of people can grow and become better. As Pardue says:
"I wanted people to know what could happen when love met hate when human degradation met compassion and emotional support. I wanted to write a story so that these boys lives could make a difference, could tell the story of love conquering hate of salvation from the slavery of emotional abuse which eats away at the core of the soul but is defeated by trust, love, and forgiveness. These boys became my heroes, my friends, my brothers, my teachers and to this day I love them. I want the reader to know their stories, to feel their emptiness and to celebrate their discovery of people who cared for them and who loved them."
Reviews and What Readers Say
" I did not know what to expect when I started this book. I was rewarded with a great read about a young man who learned to cope with and love the boys from the back streets of Chicago.”
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WILLIAM J. PARDUE; WOLF CREEK IS THE TRUE STORY OF WILLIAM PARDUE'S EXPERIENCE AS A WILDERNESS CAMPING COUNSELOR IN 1971. He was recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Zoology. His experience during this year of wilderness camping shaped his entire future. He is now 67 years old and has with the help of his son written a novel about his experiences with these boys. He is currently an attorney in Northern California and has had previous careers as a Social Worker and a building contractor. He has written two other books, Why God and Visionary Perspectives Reincarnated.