Sitting in class while all your fellow students chatter about the trip to New York they’re taking next October that you can’t go on is no big deal. I’m not jealous at all. I’ll have my fresh twin babies to take care of, and I won’t even miss the walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, or sight seeing tours, or any of the museums packed full with art that I’ve been studying from afar for years…. OK perhaps I’m a little jealous I can’t attend. There’s a second opportunity, happening during our spring break, from February 24-26. Lo and behold, of the dozen or more that threw their names in the umbrella, my little note is chosen for the incredible, opportunity to travel on a bus to Parc Omega, Montebello, Quebec, courtesy of Photo Tour Trekkers! www.phototourtrekkers.com
Very quickly, my instructor Dave Chidley introduced me to James Cowie of Photo Tour Trekkers. Not near soon enough, I’m on the bus, sitting in the back row making new photography friends. We made our way to Chateau Montebello, and how incredible is that place?? It’s the largest log cabin in Canada. The next morning, we wake up and make our way to Parc Omega. The first creatures we encounter are deer. It took a minute or two for me to get used to the lens I had borrowed from a classmate (who was generous enough to trust me with her fancy pants Canon EF 100mm-400mm), but I figure it out because I don’t want to miss these pictures! As we move deeper into the park, we meet many more deer and wild boars, a sweet little Arctic Fox, big Black Wolves, wild turkeys, and some bison.
I see some from my group on a trail so I follow them. That led to a very large wood structure with a big staircase. At the top, it turns out to be a lookout into a Grey Wolf enclosure. Jackpot! There are plenty wolfies hanging out, chasing each other around, being lazy, and being curious at the one fella in our group who keeps howling to get their attention (a risk I was not willing to take! Haha!). I click away, succeeding in getting some nice photos of the main attractions. We come back later as a larger group, but I am glad to have been there before because now it’s raining pretty hard.
Underneath my garbage bag umbrella, I watch through the lens as a woman explains in English and French everything they do to take care of the wolves, and the dynamics of their pack. We all guess who the alpha, omega, and female alpha are. I like to follow around the 9 month old (with my lens, not literally!), because he didn’t seem to care who the alpha was, he’d bite their ears just the same. We clicked away as they are given food chunks, and as they fight for the attention of the food-giver.
It was an amazing experience, and I’m so grateful to have been there, despite rain, snow, sleet, and hail. I’ve learned so much in such a short time, and met so many fantastic photographers, it’s impossible to not be excited for the next opportunity to join something like this again.