After the previous success in finding moose a couple of weeks ago, it was back for another shot, this time with some friends who hoped to see moose for themselves. Our goal? To find some moose without freezing. Surprisingly, despite the recent storm and new snowfall, the temperatures were actually more mild than our previous trip.
Expectations were set extremely high when one of the small kids with us decided he wanted to see a moose and prayed that Jesus would show him a moose on the drive up. My stress level immediately shot up because who wants to disappoint a little kid? Determined to find moose, we picked one of the area trails and started hiking. Returning hikers suggested that moose were recently spotted on the north side of Long Lake so off we hustled.
Keeping moving to stay warm, we were making good time around the lake when something interesting was spotted. Moose tracks? Nothing else in the woods is that big...
Where do they lead?
Following the tracks carefully off trail while moving very slowly so as not to surprise a moose at close range, I carefully moved closer to the clearing alongside the lake. Emerging from the trees, I froze and carefully looked around.
About to proceed, I heard a commotion and saw three moose charging about. One turned in our direction, and I was just about to look for a tree to duck behind when it abruptly turned and galloped in the opposite direction.
Carefully bringing the kids down to show them the moose, I was glad when the big animals froze near the edge of the woods. Everyone was awed at the size of these beautiful animals. Before long, the moose moved on into the woods. We followed the trail further and inadvertently intercepted the now spooked animals. Can you find the moose in this picture?
It was actually standing right on the trail. In this next picture, you can see the moose clearly through the magnification of my zoom lens. Notice the color immediately behind the moose. A pair of hikers were coming the other direction and were probably no more than 30 feet from the moose when they rounded the rock to see it standing in the middle of the trail. They took a broad detour far up the hill above the trail while the moose alternately laid its ears back only to perk them up to listen better again. These signs had me a bit uneasy again and our group kept a very respectful distance. No use to precipitate a confrontation with one of these wild creatures.
Later, on our drive out, we found 4 more moose! Yes, you read that correctly, FOUR more!!! This brought our total to seven and one of the last 4 had a nice set of antlers which was another Colorado first for me in the moose department.
Now that I'm quickly becoming a moose expert, I'll probably have to start charging for tours... Three options available. The leisure package will consist of a lazy drive through the mountains were you can spot these animals from the comfort of the Trout Mobile, now converted into an elegant Moose Wagon!!! The beginner adventure package will allow you to get off the roads and hike into the wilderness in search of these beautiful creatures. Safety will be emphasized and we will always stay at a reasonable distance from these massive animals. Finally, the interactive adventure package will include stalking moose at close range through heavy brush. Surprised animals will likely charge at this range meaning you will need to have professional training in moose wrestling. I'll demonstrate the proper method to take down a moose with your bare hands during our first encounter and give you the option of trying it for yourself thereafter!!! For any clients who survive, a hot meal and beverages will be provided after we return to the Moose Wagon.
Need more moose pictures to convince you to take the adventure plunge? Check out these from my friend Catherine who was also along on the adventure.