IN THE FIELD: Lake McDonald

On our last trip to Montana, we spent several days in Glacier National Park touring, hiking and horseback riding. On our last day there, we went on a half-day horseback ride in the pristine wilderness. The trails were not too difficult, although we did travel up and down some rather steep slopes and traversed a few mountain streams. No other horseback riders or hikers were seen the whole time we were on the trails.

The last few hours of our visit were spent resting on some benches near the main lodge until our weak-in-the legs feelings subsided.

A young couple and their dog approached us to say hello and ask us a few things about the park. I guess judging by the photo equipment and the clothes we were wearing, we looked like we had been there often. The nine month old puppy they had with them was more like a full grown dog. And a big dog at that.

I canโ€™t remember what itโ€™s name was…something like Lakota. He was a friendly fella and we marveled at how soft his fur was. The pup was quite fond of my wife and licked her face as if he had known her all his life. At first we thought he was some kind of sled dog such as a Husky or a Malamute. Turns out, he has a full blooded wolf.

The couple explained that his mother was found injured and pregnant in Maryland, expecting to give birth in a few days. The woman who found the female wolf was a vet, and nursed the expectant mother back to health. The pup we met was one of her offspring. The couple told us they were on their way to Alaska to habituate the wolf to a more wild and natural surrounding. After chatting for about a half an hour, we all parted ways.

My wife and I then headed down to the shores of Lake McDonald to do a little more exploring since our legs were now feeling close to normal. We found pieces of driftwood, wild flowers and polished stones on the lakeshore that made for interesting photo subjects. When the light was getting too dim for photos of land based items, we found a gravel beach to sit and watch the sunset. It was a great ending to a great day.


  1. February 8, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Cool story and a really cool surreal image. The sky and the water have this green cast to them. I love sunsets over water.

    • February 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      That trip was a blast…I just wish I had gotten a photo of the wolf licking Sharon’s face. I like how the sunset looks too…I underexposed it quite a bit and the thick clouds helped with the color cast.

  2. February 8, 2012 at 9:00 am

    This is amazing… I loved it so much, the colours and the contrast amazing, I haven’t seen such a moment like that… Thank you dear David, with my love, nia

    • February 8, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it Nia, it was eventful trip to say the least. I underexposed the shot to silhouette the mountains.

  3. February 8, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Beautiful photo! I just started my own blog and would love your feedback on it!

    • February 8, 2012 at 4:07 pm

      Thanks James…I checked out your blog and found some neat stuff there. Welcome to the blogging world and thanks for stopping by!!!

  4. February 8, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Great post and a nice story. I really enjoyed readingit. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Great photo, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • February 8, 2012 at 4:11 pm

      Thanks Bob, glad you enjoyed it. Montana holds a special place in our hearts.

  5. February 8, 2012 at 9:42 am

    What a great story! I love the idea of being licked by a wolf, all unknown! I hope he went on to thrive in his new environment.

    • February 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      Thanks Lee, it was an unbelievable trip (one of three to Montana actually)…I wish I had a photo of the wolf. Guess it will just have to live in the memory banks. You just gave me an idea for another post about the flight home from Missoula! Funny story!

  6. February 8, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Nice story!

    • February 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      Thanks Cornel, it was a great trip !!!!

  7. February 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    What a lovely story! The photo is wonderful. I like the monotone color and the peaceful feeling.

    • February 9, 2012 at 8:52 am

      Thanks Fergie, Montana (along with quite a few other places) tugs at the heart! Best thing was…we had the whole area to ourselves that evening so we could just soak it all in!

  8. February 8, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Great photo and great story. Not far from my neck of the woods.

    • February 9, 2012 at 8:56 am

      Thanks Gerry, we really had a great time in Montana! (three trips) We had our own private guide at times. A friend of my wife’s brother is half Salish, lives in Missoula, wants to be chief, etc. took us to some really cool places on the res. and elsewhere (nine mile) etc. I miss Montana!

  9. February 9, 2012 at 1:20 am

    great story, David, and the photo tells a story about a peaceful ending to the day.

    • February 9, 2012 at 8:57 am

      Thanks Jane, it sure was a great way to end such an eventful day in a spectacular place!

  10. Nandini
    February 9, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Nice story, David. And a brilliant beautiful ending to it. This is such a peaceful photo. Loved it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • February 9, 2012 at 8:58 am

      Thanks Nandini, The whole time we were there was an adventure and this was a great way to end the day. We had the lake to ourselves as far as we could see and hear!

      • Nandini
        February 9, 2012 at 9:59 am

        That’s the dream… ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. February 10, 2012 at 5:03 am

    What a great day! I can’t believe it was a real wolf, so cool ๐Ÿ™‚ The picture is so beautiful and peaceful, very enjoyable post! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • February 11, 2012 at 10:37 am

      It sure was a great day…one I won’t soon forget. I wish I had a photo of the wolf liking Sharon’s face…it was the coolest! The wolf was the sweetest critter…incredibly strong but a sweetheart!

  12. February 11, 2012 at 6:35 am

    A real wolf! you lucky dog! and what a beautiful story and photo!

    • February 11, 2012 at 10:40 am

      Yup…a real wolf indeed!!! He was beautiful and had the softest fur I have ever felt!!! When we went down to the lake it was hard to interrupt the silence…so we just sat there till it was dark. What a day!!!

  13. Steve Barnes
    February 12, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    That’s a very nice story and a great photo. Love how the low-key look simplifies the scene, letting the wonderful light do it’s magic!

  14. February 13, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Thanks Steve, This is pretty much how it looked although I did under expose the shot a bit. It almost looked like moonlight due to the heavy cloud cover. Ending such an eventful day with a quiet sunset was just perfect!

  15. February 13, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    It sounds like the perfect day to me, too! Riding and photography…it doesn’t get much better. My aunt and uncle had a dog who was half wolf and half husky when I was growing up. He was so gentle with children and a great companion. You tell a nice story!

  16. February 13, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Thanks Tricia, It was a day I’ll never forget…not only was the wolf a really cool part of the day, but the ride was incredible. I didn’t go into detail…lack of space…but it was 4 hours long or so, deep in the woods, saw no one else and there were only four of us. Crossed mountain streams, heard bears…horses did too, rode in valleys and up over low mountains…it was just the coolest ride I was ever on!!!

  17. February 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    What a great experience! And that’s a great tone to the photograph. I’ve been there on days like that and you’ve captured the “feel” just right.

  18. February 20, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Thanks Melmanphoto, boy it sure was a great day…actually all three trips out to Montana were special! Each one was full of new experiences and wonders. Montana pulls at the heart! Thanks for stopping by!!!

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