A lake in Glacier National Park.

“Many years ago, my wife and I spent one day (not NEARLY enough time) visiting Glacier National Park. We were so struck by the park’s beauty and majesty, even on that short trip, that when I got the chance to go back to the park, this time with Nat Hab, I jumped at the chance. One afternoon, our Expedition Leader led our group on a hike to Red Rock Lake and Red Rock Falls. This is a pretty area not far from Many Glacier Hotel where we were staying. The walk was pleasant, with beautiful scenery, a pretty little creek with a mosaic of multicolored stones and several deer politely grazing beside the trail while we eagerly snapped their pictures. We spent an hour or so at the beautiful falls area, gasping at the spectacular scenery, taking photos, and just relaxing and enjoying each other’s company.

Red Rock Falls in Glacier National Park.

On the way back down the trail, most of our group went ahead while three or four of us lagged behind slightly, taking photographs of more deer beside the path. Suddenly, our guide came rushing up the trail toward us, urging us to hurry on. A big bull moose had been spotted in the small lake just up ahead. Sure enough, there he was, a big handsome fellow, calmly munching grass out in the lake. He was near enough that we were able to get some good up-close photos (little did we know what was to come!). We followed him along the bank as he meandered through the water, and then we sat down to watch.

A bull moose in a lake in Glacier National Park.

Then, our Expedition Leader quietly alerted the group that behind us, a young female moose was walking through the water in our direction. At some distance away from the newcomer, I sat down on the shore and began taking pictures. Suddenly I noticed that the images in my camera were getting blurry, even though I had not changed any settings. When I put the camera down to investigate, I saw why—the young female was right in front of me! My mouth must have dropped wide-open. The moose briefly looked over at our small group and casually continued on her way.

A female moose in a lake in Glacier National Park.
Our group sat, awestruck, and watched the two moose a while longer, but it was beginning to get late, so we finally had to leave the scene. As we walked back down the trail, each one of us, including our guide, was smiling and laughing. To this day, whenever I think of that moose, I break into a smile.”

— Thutmon Whitley | Glacier & Waterton: An International Treasure

All Photos © Thutmon Whitley