A porcupine and an unusual visitor

Sometimes the strangest visitors show up.

I enjoy the view at Lake Louise but there’s a problem. The tranquil view is often disturbed by the less-than-tranquil throngs of people taking each others’ photos at this signature setting.

Before we left the region, we decided to check out Lake Louise in the evening when hopefully the crowds had thinned. We were wrong. As we turned the last corner, a crowd had gathered and one man was excitedly pointing. I was expecting a bear to be strolling on the knoll surrounded by water but what I saw was a lot smaller and a lot more prickly – a large porcupine! What a surprise.

I had never had such a good view this unusual visitor. As I surveyed the incredible array of quivering quills, I could imagine how the poor grizzly cub (see last blog) could land 41 quills with one errant swat.

The porcupine appeared to feel safe for good reason. No one could get close since access to it was blocked by quickly moving water and there was always the fall-back defense of sharp quills. It wandered around chewing on whatever looked interesting, oblivious to the sea of little cameras clicking away.

I had to get out my big lens to get close enough for a good shot. I expected to get a few sideways looks given the size of my equipment compared to everyone else’s pocket cameras. However, I was focused and tuned everyone out. Later my wife was laughing about a group of guys who exclaimed, “Would you look at that!” when they saw my lens. More than one decided I was as picture worthy as the porcupine.

Perhaps the porcupine wasn’t the only unusual visitor.

The porcupine seemed to be finding something to eat on the grassy hill where I found it.

Now there’s a face that well … maybe you tell me.

That’s an impressive number of quills on the porcupine’s back, and of course there’s always the tail that could inflict further pain.

The porcupine poses for a side profile shot – still looking for the best side.

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