We are clocking up a serious amount of miles at the moment!, partly as at present we are some distance from Jasper NP where all the action is happening and where we have decided to head each day.
We have experienced some quite dramatic changes in the weather. The last couple of days have been cloudy and very cold compared to the previous days. In contrast to the 22 degrees we had experienced in the last few days the temperature had now plummeted to around 1 degree C in the morning and barely reached double digit at midday. In some higher areas there were even light snow falls. At least we could now justify lugging our cold weather gear from the UK!
We have once again found the 4 month old black bear cubs with their mother in a dark forested area, nearby to where she has been in the last few days, very close to a main highway which is always a slight worry, but for her a great place to feed on the lush green verges and where we are currently finding most of the bears as this is where the best food sources are at present.
This morning was the coldest yet, and now the clouds had shifted revealing a beautiful blue sky and more great views of the mountains above the crystal clear lakes. Taking a trundle toward the beautiful Athabasca Falls we encountered a male black bear and later in the day another black bear sow with two tiny cubs, that tracked deep into the forest by the time we had mobilised lenses and tripods. She was much shyer than the other sow but we certainly hoped we would get to photograph her before the end of the trip.
Although we have seen a good few bears in the last 48 hours the highlight for us was today seeing a wolf that was fortunately close enough to photograph. We had hoped that we may encounter one at close range but we knew due to their huge territories and their constant transitory behaviour this could be a challenge. Sometimes it’s just a case of luck and today proved exactly that, a case of right time, right place.
As we were looking again for the shyer black bear sow and her cubs we turned a corner and there it was, a lone wolf moving at speed along a small mountain road. Quite dark in colour it appeared to be an older wolf and we think the Alpha female (given it was collared and it’s size). We moved ahead of the wolf and had around 15 minutes with it as it trotted along, occaisonally disappearing into the woods and then reappearing.
It had been a very quiet morning on the ‘photography front’ so we were over the moon to have encountered this beautiful animal and. The light was a bit of a challenge,
but even so we were able to get a couple of images before it exited the road and into the forest where we could no longer track it. We could see this was a different wolf to the one seen a couple of days back from afar. Given we were not that far from that area we suspected there must be a den in the area.
At this point we were starting to feel pretty ‘burnt out’ from the previous 7 days of driving literally thousands of KM and barely any sleep so we decided after this lovely wolf sighting now was a good time to stock up on supplies in town and take our usual daily trip to Tim Hortons coffee shop before heading back to the cabin for a bit of a ‘recharge’ and R&R. Tomorrow we intended to rise even earlier at 4:45am and so this seemed a sensible plan even though we were relucant to miss out on an evening shoot!