The Moose is Loose!

I have always wanted to shoot a moose… with my camera. They are huge animals which can be aggressive and dangerous. They are also majestic and fearless, qualities I have always admired.

A few years ago, I freaked out and fumbled with my phone as a cow and her calf pranced by the liftline in Breckenridge. By the time I pulled off my mittens to take the shot, they had dashed into the forest.

Last Friday night, Danny and I walked the Pearl Street in Boulder after dinner. We stopped in a shop and I overheard a conversation about a moose encounter. The man and his wife had dropped off their daughter at CU and then hiked Brainard Lake, about forty-five minutes away in the mountains.

“I want to see a moose,” I whined like a two-year-old.

He pulled out his phone and showed me the extraordinary photos of a bull moose whose antlers were in velvet. Can you imagine stumbling over them in the spring? Whoa…

I Jonesed for a moose encounter, but Danny planned to play golf on Saturday afternoon. He doesn’t doesn’t have the opportunity very often. He had a meeting on Sunday. Hiking would have to wait.

With rising temperatures Saturday morning along with smoke from Western fires, he hoped to finish some yard work in the morning while I hosted a Drop and Hop Party on my blog.

Then divine intervention occurred.

He cut his right hand with the hedge trimmer. I sent him to Urgent Care and then found out how it happened. I won’t laugh because the last time, this happened…

After four stitches (only a flesh wound between his index finger and thumb) he was told to skip tennis and golf for the next ten days.

Now the afternoon was WIDE OPEN!

“You want to hike Brainard Lake?” he asked.

“Yes!” I abandoned my party. We packed water and snacks in one backpack and then stuffed jackets into another. We drove up Lefthand Canyon.

Like we had expected, the temperature was in the low 70’s. There were others hiking, but it wasn’t crowded like Rocky Mountain National Park. That place is a zoo in the summer.

We hiked on a trail through the aspen and evergreen forest up a thousand feet to another small lake in the high alpine environment.

moose munch

It was ablaze with wildflowers.

We avoided loud conversationalists and listened for breaking branches. A dude with a boom box passed us with his posse. Okay. This is a wilderness area and the third time this year someone has blared music while hiking. What are they thinking?

I had to say something this time.

“Dude. Although I appreciate that your music is turned down to a reasonable level, this is a place where people go for peace and quiet. You should turn it off.”

The group kept walking. He yelled something back at me. I think he said, “Thanks! Have a nice day.” Pshh.

The temperature dropped and the wind picked up. I didn’t want to get caught in a storm. It was hard to tell what kind of weather was afoot with all the smoke. We turned around.

Indian Peaks Wilderness

Most people had headed home before us. Dusk approached sooner with the height of the mountains blocking the sun.

moose hunting

Then I heard it. The snap of a branch. Then another.

It was a cow and her calf. This time, I didn’t freak. I took a few pictures, but they spotted us and headed in the other direction.

Do you see her?

Moose

How about now? Do you see the calf’s legs

Moose and friend

I was so excited to get a shot of a moose. I didn’t fumble this time.

While walking back to the parking lot, we took a wrong turn. Look who we ran into? Yes. A bull moose muncher.

bull moose

I snapped pictures until my fingers became numb. It had dropped twenty degrees in the three hours we hiked.

There were several photographers, a young family and hikers who stopped to admire this amazing creature. He never lifted his head. The moose lived up to its reputation of being majestic and fearless. Everyone gave him his space, so his other known qualities weren’t challenged. Whew.

What started out as a setback ended in a very good day.

This is a response to the Weekly Photo Challenge.

87 thoughts on “The Moose is Loose!

  1. #%%$^^&&& Susie…Susie,…. I thought this was a wonderful blog == but I sit here thinking my friend could have been hurt. Around these Canadian parts—- moose do charge people… Especially one with her baby.. My god woman.. you are the bravest person I ever did see.. but heck what beautiful vistas..:)
    HUGGGG

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  2. WOW, Susie!! What incredible photographs and amazing how a day can turn around from ho-hum into spectacular. PS: I was jsut hiking in Oregon and a family passed us blaring that song Who Let The Dogs Out on an iphone – we could not stop laughing …luckily they were soon away from us or we’d have complained too!

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    • Thanks so much, Liz! I do love living here in Colorado. Any day can be turned around by stepping outside to go on a adventure.
      I let it go the first few times. This wasn’t like some overused trails we’ve hiked this summer. This was a wilderness area! I’m sure he said something nice like, “Thanks, Lady! I’ll leave it at home next time.” Ha!

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    • Thanks, Carla! I love living here in Colorado. Adventure awaits right outside my door. This is the time of year when animals are foraging before first frost, so there’s a lot of activity. They shooed a bear out of Boulder a few days ago! They are next on my list to shoot.

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  3. He is very handsome. And music on the trail…ugh. I won’t tell you that we regularly see three huge bull moose, but maybe you should bring your camera to Wyoming.

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    • That is so cool! They must have the strongest necks with those enormous antlers. Road trip!!!!

      Rangers will have to post “Don’t play music!” along with leash laws. You would think it would be obvious. I don’t mind it at all at campsites, but not on trails. Sheesh!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Erik! With the smokey haze and dimmed lighting it was tough to take decent pictures, but it was so exciting to see them. I would love to hike another trail in the same area. Maybe next time, we’ll see a bear!

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  4. Pingback: Perfect Day on the Fringe | litadoolan

  5. You certainly saved the best for last. That is a great shot! I have to admit, the whole time I was reading I was worried about grizzlies. I’m such a wimp. But I admire you all the more for your courage.

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  6. With that opening sentence, I thought I had maybe dialed up a Sarah Palin blog by mistake. Glad you were referring to your camera. Gorgeous photos! I’ve seen elk up close, but I bet they are dwarfed by the size of moose. The biggest thing I’ve seen in the woods was Sasquatch. But he smelled so bad, I didn’t want to get close. Hence, no photos. 😉

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    • Yep. Sarah Palin and me. I can’t see Russia, but I can see the mountains from my house. We don’t own any guns, just cameras…
      Dang! I would have loved your photos of Sasquatch. 🙂
      Thanks so much. It was pretty amazing. It’s hard to tell how tall they are. I hope I don’t ever get up that close and personal. Ha!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, great photography Susie! I am glad you shot your moose, sorry about your man’s hand though. Ouch! The country is so beautiful there. We are seeing smoke in Las Vegas Valley too from the California fires. It just adds to the smog…

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    • Thanks, Carrie! I kept imagining one while using the secret. We would have missed the bull, but sometimes wrong turns end up being the best mistakes!
      The boom boxes have got to go. I wouldn’t have said anything, but it was so obnoxious. I was polite and I’m sure they yelled, “Thank you so much! Have fun today!” We couldn’t hear them over their boom box. Ha!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Our first & only encounter with a moose was when we were driving the Cabot Trail a few years ago. Yelling at me husband “STOP THE CAR”, I stepped out to catch a few shots. I could have stood there & watched them all day!

    Looks like you had an amazing hike. With the exception of the music of course. Good thing he was so nice about it….did the last word he utter start with a B?

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    • Wow! That is so cool! They probably just hung out and kept grazing. They seem to have no fear as long as they get their space.
      I really couldn’t hear what he said over his boom box. I’m sure it was something really complimentary. Ha!

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  9. Yay! I can totally relate to this form of wildlife stalking. When I was in Costa Rica last summer, my girlfriends and I were on a mission to see a sloth. When we finally did spot one, it was like we uttered the secret password to a speakeasy because we just saw more and more after that. I’m so glad you got to see you moose, Susie! Hopefully, Danny’s healing well.

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    • Sloth must be hard to spot! At least they don’t run away very fast because, sloth… 🙂
      That looked like a fabulous trip. I remember your photos!
      Thanks so much! It was really amazing to see them. Danny is almost back to hedge trimming! Thanks!

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    • Thanks, Catherine! He’s at the itchy stage, but doing really well.
      That seems odd that you don’t have hiking trails. Bring a compass and strike out on your own! Make sure you have cell service, just in case….

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  10. So cool, Susie — I’m envious. My family and I come to Maine as often as possible and we’re always on the lookout for moose (meeses). No luck so far!

    But good for you and terrific pictures!

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    • Thanks Elyse!
      It was around dusk. The bull didn’t seem to care about the number of people around. Kids were hooting and hollering from a picnic nearby and he never looked up. The cow was waaay more skittish. I bet you’ll see one some day! Listen for branches breaking….

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Fantastic! We came upon the most handsome bull moose near Grand Lake last August. We admired him for at least 30 minutes while he feasted on vegetation in a small pond and I snapped more photos than I can count. Always nice to find a beautiful trail to enjoy. Those leaves should be changing soon.

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    • I bet that was amazing! I would have taken tons of photos too. I love capturing moments like those. Good thing we have a blog where we can share them.
      The leaves are lightening up a bit. Soon I’ll be out capturing the gold!
      Thanks for stopping by, Ingrid!

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    • The only kind of moose tracks anyone should experience should be in a bowl! Ha! There were a lot of twists and turns on the trail, so I’m sure many hikers have come face to face with them. Whoa. That would be a story!

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  12. MOOOOOSE! Nothing more fun than to stumble across one – with enough distance that you aren’t perceived as a threat. The moms with babies like you say are a tad skittish, but unless it’s dating season, the big guys seem pretty self-confident and tolerant…but still keeping a distance. Remarkable pictures! (It’s always a surprise when you start out on a sunny CO hike in short sleeves and end up in sweatshirt and jacket wondering just how fast frost bite sets in… Animals coming down early this fall?)

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    • You know it! Animals are foraging big time, so I’m predicting an early winter. There are wooly caterpillars everywhere and the squirrels are going nuts. We’re hiking again today. I wonder what we’ll discover this time!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. You should come to Anchorage during the winter! There’s lots of moose 😀 I miss seeing them, now that I live in Seattle. I love that you called the male a muncher… I feel like that’s all moose do all day, munch!
    Definitely don’t want to get between that momma and baby though…

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    • I would love to go to Anchorage. When’s the best time to visit?
      That bull was all, “Nom, nom, nom…” and didn’t seem too perturbed that we watched. Good thing!
      Thanks for stopping by! How are the fires in Washington? The smoke finally cleared out of our state.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hopefully better after yesterday’s storm but I haven’t heard yet.
        The best time to visit for enjoying the weather is summer (especially May and July in my opinion). If you like snowboarding/skiing and northern lights and don’t care as much about tourist attractions then Feb/early March probably. And if you go early March you can catch the Iditarod! Which is always exciting 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  14. It’s that time of the year when I miss stuff – I miss reading posts by other bloggers because I have my head down and I am in the grind. Sometimes I have to look up and read, and comment too. I liked the post when I saw it Friday, but a post like this one deserves more. I am going to get out and walk today, but I won’t see a moose. I might see a squirrel or a rabbit and certainly some birds, but a majestic moose. WOW> It’s gonna be a great day, enjoy the week ahead. Thanks for the inspiration.

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    • Thanks Clay! I’m always glad when you stop by. I know you’re super busy.
      It was quite a moment, two moments actually. We’re hitting the trail again today. I would love to see a bear! They are foraging all over the state, big time. There was one in Boulder last week!

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  15. Pingback: Backpacking Challenge in the Rockies | Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

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