Preview: Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is a true wilderness. Red wolves prowl its forests, alligators slither under the clear black water, and black bears, bobcats, otters, and deer wander among the woods and swamp of this pristine refuge. More than 150 species of birds, including the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, wood ducks, warblers, herons, and ospreys, make the refuge their home. It’s undeveloped, remote, and left pretty much to itself. This wilderness, only thirty minutes away from the salty, sandy Outer Banks, is the northernmost home for the American alligator. Look for them on the banks of the narrow creeks. The refuge is also home to the red wolf, once classified as extinct in the wild. Efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have resulted in the reestablishment of a population of fifty to one hundred wolves. The wolves are mainly nocturnal, but there have been sightings during the day.