Photography: Deer at Mokowanis Lake

This is Mokowanis Lake in Glacier National Park. I took this photo in August 2012. You can support my blog by ordering prints in my Etsy store. Use coupon code 5OFF2013 and receive $5 off any purchase of $15 or more.


To access Mokowanis Lake you must get off the main loop and stroll down a quiet spur trail, so it was a peaceful, less frequented, spot to set up camp.

The distant sound of a waterfall gave a constant background of white noise while I sat by that unbelievable turquoise lake for hours reading a book. Occasionally, I saw a deer grazing on foliage or sipping the lake water. It seemed as approachable and unafraid of people as a stray Labrador Retriever. It even wagged its white tail.

After the sun set, I retreated to my tent. I was still reading after dark under headlamp light when something moved outside my tent. I slowly poked my head out to see what it was. It was just the deer. I zipped the tent shut and went back to my book. Then I heard my trekking poles clack against a log. I stuck my head back out and saw the deer with one of the handle straps in his mouth sucking on the accumulated salty sweat.

“Hey! Stop that!” I yelled. Its eyes shifted over to me and it paused for a moment as if contemplating its next move. Suddenly, it grabbed the pole's handle in its teeth and took off into the woods.

“I paid $80 for those you son of a bitch!” I yelled while shoving my bare feet into my shoes. She didn't care though, what’s $80 to a deer? Chump change is what. I ran into the woods after it, leaping over logs and trampling through leaves. After a short chase, she stopped with the pole hanging from her mouth. She looked at me with that long dumb deer face.

“Drop the pole, you stupid deer!” I yelled and the pole dropped to its feet.

“What? I ain’t got anything,” its expression seemed to say. “Nah, nah, man. That was that other deer.”

For a moment, we stared each other down like it was high noon in Dodge City. Suddenly, she bolted into the woods leaving my saliva-drenched trekking pole on the ground.

I walked back to my tent with my pole in hand, victorious.
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A Backpacker's Life List by Ryan Grayson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.