Location & Date: Waterton Lakes National Park | 2015
Camera Set-Up: Nikon D800 w/ 70-200mm @ 200mm
Shutter Speed: 1/80th
You might recall that in the summer of 2014, Jill and I had our most memorable encounter in the wild: A month with a fox family in Waterton National Park. In documenting a snapshot of their lives, while trying to keep them safe, we gave them names to help tell their stories and better understand their individual behavior. Though we loved each kit, the one we came to know as Curious stole our hearts. When we returned to the den site a year later, we knew it had been in use, but that they had since moved on by the time of our arrival (which, given its location, was good news). We spent several days in the park looking for other wildlife, but on our last night, heading back to our campsite, we drove by the field adjacent to the den and spotted a fox. It was trotting through the field and looked just like our Curious. When I (foolishly) called out its named, it stopped and curled up into ball in a small dip and looked at me, before going to sleep. I sat with the fox for a half hour, only snapping a few images, but mostly just trying to appreciate what seemed like an impossible moment. Finally, getting up, I said goodbye and wished her well – and as I did, she got up too and walked back into the forest from where she came. Was it Curious? I can’t tell you that for certain, but the fox most certainly seemed to react to the name and seemed more at peace. Maybe I’m making too much out of a chance encounter. Maybe I’m not. But either way, it was the perfect epilogue to the most incredible animal I’ve ever known.