Some of my fondest memories are those that came to be strictly by chance. Whether it be in everyday life walking down the street, spending time on the water, or traveling, I’ve had the very best of luck bumping into great people, finding great places and cool animals sometimes from good instincts but more often by a great twist of fate.
Although I travel out west every year, I rarely go in the spring. Instead I try to time my trip to coincide with the bursting fall colors and thinning of crowds at the very end of the fall season. Last year I wanted to switch it up a little thought and flew in at the very start of the summer season instead. I was hoping to find some late season snow banks and hungry bears with cubs, but instead I found a whole bunch of sunshine and abnormally warm days so that the creatures seemed to be more fond of snoozing in the shade than coming out for photo session.
On my second day in I drove south through the park as dawn was breaking to start a hike into one of my favorite lakes at the end of the Laurance Rockefeller Preserve trail. I arrived early enough that I even beat the rangers and there was only one other soul around who thankfully agreed to a hiking partner to make things a little more comfortable.
As we trekked along talking of this and that, my newly found hiking buddy asked if I’d been to the fox den yet. I did a double take because I had no clue what he was talking about. He went on to explain that while here the past week on a training project for the Department of Forestry, he was taken to a fox den under an old abandoned cabin near an area of employee housing.
Best. News. Ever.
I got really specific details and made sure I wasn’t going to be arrested for snooping around in an area designated for staff, finished that hike as quickly as humanly possible and hit the road in search of foxes. As luck would have it, finding the first den lead me to some tips about 2 other active dens in easy to access areas. Yay! Only thing better than one fox den is THREE.
So this photo was taken late one morning when mom had returned to the den and her kits of course were thrilled to see her, and have a nice ground squirrel bunch. She had 6 in all, and as rumor has it, they all survived through the season and grew into healthy, happy, independent little foxes. Never did I think I had the ability to sit for up to 12 hours a day at one specific site just waiting for cute things to come out and play, but never say never I learned as that’s what completely monopolized my complete vacation this past summer.
I flew home after a total cuteness overload and had booked a return trip a couple months later by the time I ended my first layover. Couldn’t resist spending more time with good friends, and finding more fabulous wildlife to capture portraits of.
Good people + good animals = good times.