Forget the plan

Apparently all you have to do is hope and wildlife magically appears.


A contented look off into the distance – just happy to be a moose in a creek. The willows added some spectacular colour to the scene.

My research had led me to believe that the Lamar Valley would be the best place to find wildlife in Yellowstone – I nearly drooled over the many photos and reports of bear and wolf sightings in that famous locale. In order to maximize our time in the valley, I booked substantial time at Cooke City, the nearest location with accommodation.

_MG_8618, moose, creekWe ended up finding lots of bison and pronghorn antelope. That  was nice but those animals were plentiful in many locations within the park. We spent many hours driving up and down the valley and mostly found people with spotting scopes. I learned to keep driving past those folks because even if they were watching a bear, it was so tiny in my camera it could just as well have been in the next state!

Every evening we would leave the Lamar Valley empty handed and head back to our cabin. Just outside the park was a beautiful area that seemed like perfect moose habitat. The locals confirmed there were lots of moose there – except, of course, when we drove by. I kept trying to will the moose to come to that beautiful spot. They simply belonged in the scene.

Our daily ritual felt a little like Groundhog Day (a movie where the main character is forced to keep reliving the same 24 hours). After a few days, we would drive through the Lamar Valley not really expecting to see anything, then wander through the moose habitat and repeat the disappointment.

On one of our last days in the area, we had been skunked again in Lamar Valley and arrived at the moose habitat when it was almost dark. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw the moose! I was worried about the lack of light but wildly adjusted my camera and hoped the photos would survive. Excitement ruled.

The moose co-operated with me, the photos turned out and I came up with another theory. Maybe hope trumps a good plan when looking for wildlife!

_MG_8637, moose, creek

The requisite photo of water dripping from the moose’s mouth. I think it’s a rule that you have to include one of these.


Latest Comments

  1. Jeff | Planet Bell says:

    Hope usually works best. The other day I was debating whether to go out shooting or stay at home and drink wine with my wife. Then a mother moose and two babies came up to my cabin and hung out for an hour or so, plopping down outside the bedroom window for a nap (post to come).


  2. Jimmy vs. World! says:

    Cool pics! I always thought a moose of that size would have antlers!


  3. LB says:

    I found your blog after you commented on Callie’s blog … and what do I see when I arrive here? Moose! My absolute favorite wild animal! Moose used to walk through my Ranger Station in Northern Idaho … I so miss them now that I live back in Virginia! This post has made me happy!!!


    • lylekrahn says:

      Welcome to my blog! Over the last few years I have had the pleasure of encountering a few moose and it has been quite a thrill. Living in a place where they wandered through would be quite special.


  4. Deb W. Trotter says:

    Water or a big clump of dripping wet plant material from the bottom of a pond!! Great photos of a beautiful moose specimen. I’m glad your lack of planning paid off!


  5. Phil Lanoue says:

    Well those photos sure did turn out amazing, so glad you did finally find this impressive animal.
    I sort of work on a hope method at times as well. But I’m not sure if hope is the right word for what I often go through. I kind of go with an optimistic attitude similar to how I expect to find a parking spot at a crowded event where none should be available.


  6. Mike Powell says:

    Someone once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, which sounds a bit like the way that you spent some of your days at Yellowstone, waiting and hoping, hoping and waiting. I’m glad to see that you eventually got your moose shots–they are wonderful. I love the last shot. Do moose always have such a goofy half-smile on their faces?


    • lylekrahn says:

      I checked some of my other moose shots and they do seem to have that same expression. Our wanderings did truly seem like we were testing the definition of insanity except that we were looking in the right places at the right times so eventually our luck would turn. If I recall correctly, that same day we came upon a photographer packing up spending quality time with a grizzly just a few miles from there. In the end I got lots of wildlife shots at Yellowstone and an abundance of bears in Banff a few weeks later so it turned out well.


  7. 1107photography says:

    Spectacular! Well done!


  8. Honie Briggs says:

    He looks like you caught him off guard.


  9. Gunta says:

    So glad you follow the rules about prerequisite shots! 😉


  10. artsifrtsy says:

    Gorgeous! Nothing better than a moose up a creek! I visit and revisit places hoping to see creatures show up – occasionally they do.


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