My husband and I just returned from an anniversary trip to Banff National Park in Canada. As much as we loved seeing the massive Canadian Rockies, the crystal clear blue lakes and charming old hotels, it was the wildlife that made the trip extra memorable.
What is it about sighting wildlife that gives us such a thrill? Maybe it’s because each encounter is so unexpected. Also because it’s nothing that can be planned. No matter how many tourists ask the park rangers, “What time do you let the animals out?” that’s not how it works, folks. No travel agent can guarantee a wildlife sighting either. It’s the very serendipitous nature of it that makes it seem like such a joyful gift.
On our drive down Sunshine Mountain from the high vista lodge where we stayed for two nights, we were surprised to round a corner and see a mountain goat staring at us from the side of the road. “So, you folks are checking out,” he seemed to be saying. “Hope you enjoyed your stay. Come back and see us, eh?” No doubt he knew we were tourists by our rental car with the Alberta license plates.
A day or so later we were driving from one mountain lake to another when we came upon a bear seriously going about searching for the thousands of berries he needs to sustain himself. Unlike the goat, he didn’t seem to give us any mind at all. Canada is having a late summer this year, so it’s possible he just came out of hibernation. Food was his biggest priority and we were too encapsulated in steel to be enticing.
We also saw a herd of elk from a distance, and though we didn’t spot a moose, we had such a good sighting of one outside of Jackson Hole last year that we didn’t feel at all deprived. When Jim shared a bit of his lunch at a café near Lake Moraine with a chipmunk, he delighted a family with children nearby. We are certainly hoping the fine we saw posted later for feeding wildlife doesn’t apply to chipmunks!
I have a friend who sees every sighting of a hawk as a special message and gift from God. If she sees a bald eagle, she feels blessed beyond belief! We are all blessed to share this earth with God’s marvelous creatures, and when our paths cross unexpectedly, my gratitude abounds.
Patricia McCune says
as FABbulous as you! Reminds
me of the Smokies…remember
when as kids we used to run up
to Gatlinburg looking for Brown
Absolutely, Patty! And on Monday morning the teacher would ask how many bears everyone saw over the weekend. It was usually in the teens or higher!
Beth Lueders says
Wonderful, Nancy. I’m so glad Jim and you took the time to notice and ENJOY all the delightful creations. You’ve encouraged me to pause and praise when I see the deer, bunnies, and yes, even squirrels, right in my own neighborhood.
I know Maisie appreciates them all also!
Elizabeth H. Van Liere says
Wish I could have been there.
Good one 😁. Glad you got to make the trip ❤️❤️
JoBeth Wachtman says
Happy Anniversary! Looks like a memorable trip in many ways.
Thanks, JoBeth. It truly was!
Ben Ross says
Loved this edition Nancy. My most unexpected and exciting wildlife siting occurred in the spring of 1995 in our own back yard in Richmond, Indiana. I was just standing in the yard not doing anything in particular, and I heard a very powerful and unmistakable downdraft like a giant hand fan pushing a lot of air. Before I could look up, what caused the whoosh sound came into my line of sight not 15 feet above my head. It was a bald eagle heading toward a limb on a tree in our neighbor’s yard. It was just coming in for a landing. There was a smaller bird, one which specie eludes me, but which flies nearby those large birds ( a literal wing man).. It rested for a while, and then resumed flight for only God knows where. You are so right. Such experience is a special gift from God!
Amazing, Ben. No wonder you still remember it! Thanks for sharing.
Peggy Lovelace Ellis says
Nancy, I had to laugh about your husband feeding the chipmunk. Several years ago, my Jim and I spent a week on Lake Ely in Minnesota. One evening, I was in the kitchen preparing our meal when I heard Jim talking to someone. I stepped outside to be friendly. Well, I wasn’t the only friendly one. He was talking to “George” a chipmunk, which promptly left him and crawled up my bare leg. Thanks for the memory!
Oh gosh, Peggy! I’m glad that didn’t happen to us, We had on so many layers we’d probably still be wearing him! LOL