Once a month, we’ll chronicle an elusive photographic goal. This month: Wolverines.
Yes, every month we chronicle the chase to photograph an elusive creature we’ve never seen before.
But this month’s focus – the wolverine – is a bit different.
It’s an animal I’ve actually been fortunate enough to see. Twice.
Both times were in the north and both times were with my parents when I was young.
On our second foray to the north, we took our rented Volkswagen camper (man, that was fun) up the Dempster Highway to the Arctic Circle.
About an hour into the drive, this odd animal ran across the gravel road in front of the van and stood in the nearby tundra watching us.
Imagine if that happened to adult Simon.
As Jill well knows, there would be swearing, shaking and screaming as I struggled to get my camera focused on the target and held still long enough to bang off just one quality shot of a creature few people ever see.
But back in the simpler days, I was a young boy looking through a mosquito net-covered window, alternating between looking at my animal identification book and the subject. When I finally realized what I was having a stare off with, I ticked-off the box next to wolverine on my wildlife checklist. And then on we went.
Oh, it was a simpler time indeed.
Later, on that same trip, I spotted another wolverine dashing across BC’s Sewart-Cassiar Highway. This one didn’t stick around to exchange glances, but was close enough to our van that I knew – veteran wolverine spotter that I was – what I was looking at.
Of course, by the ripe old age of 11, I was convinced that wolverines were more common than grizzly bears.
I’ve never seen a wolverine since.
And that last sentence might be the least shocking part of this entire post.
Because, afterall, who do you know who has seen a wolverine?
Well, actually, I know someone.
A good friend and former colleague of mine, Kerrie Lowitt, invited us to spend a weekend with her family at their home in northern Ontario.
I had to reschedule last minute due to health issues and what did they see? Of course, a wolverine.
So maybe they aren’t that hard to find.
People seem to see them with some regularity (by which I mean a few times a year) on Glacier National Park’s Logan Pass. We’ve spent hours on the pass, but only have goat and sheep shots to show for it (not that we’re complaining).
And then there is this photographer who has made it his life’s mission to document the animals in the wild. But though he’s seen them, he does spend months standing still in a blind during blizzards trying to the capture only a few minutes of footage.
Seriously, you think I’m patient? This man is patient.
So I really can’t complain that I haven’t captured a shot of a wolverine and I know I should be happy to have seen not one, but two in my life time. And I am.
But I really want a photograph of the largest member of the weasel family.
Waiting for a month in a blizzard to get a shot? Totally cool. Just tell me where to wait and I’ll be there with bells on (metaphorically, of course).
The chase is on!