Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Some look for Sasquatch. I look for bull moose.

When I was in Alaska, I went out on snowshoes following moose track. I never caught sight of a bull moose, but when we would drive somewhere (the post office, even) there would be fresh tracks when we came back. Drove me nuts! Even when the car broke down on the way to the airport...we were in the office waiting for a ride and the man who ran the tow company asked if there was anything else. I just jokingly (I had nearly given up) said, "I'd like to see a bull moose if you've got one hanging around." "There was one here about a half an hour ago, but he's gone now."

All the way through Yellowstone I had my eyes peeled. Lots of cow moose and calves, but not a single bull to be seen.

A few years ago there was a young bull moose who had wandered down Fountain Creek and was seen wandering around in the area of Monument Valley Park. Never saw him. He apparently decided to head back up through the Air Force Academy and off into the hills, but he never made himself available when I was down looking for him. He made quite a stir in these parts, let me tell you, even had a naming competition of some sort. I think they came up with Bullwinkle or something equally original. Doesn't matter. It was a nine-day wonder and now I can't even locate info on it on the web.

I still want to see one. Need to head up to Estes Park. I read on the park website where there tend to be sightings, and a friend of mine just spent the weekend backpacking in another part of the park and has tons of pictures of bull moose.

Please don't write me about how stupid it is to go looking for moose. I know the dangers and am fully prepared to stay as far away as necessary for safety. I've seen a grizzly in the wild and didn't get close enough for danger--I'm not a complete idiot. I don't want to pet them or get close-up...I just want to see them in their natural habitat. Not a nature show, not at the zoo.

It's a reasonably harmless longing. It doesn't keep me from seeing what's right in front of me while I am out, but it does provide that little extra spark. Maybe, this time I'll see one. Maybe as I go over this ridge or turn the next corner, there will be one off in the distance.

I have to admit there was a thrill each time I saw fresh moose tracks in the Alaska snow. Knowing they were out there, less than a block from the house added to the excitement of the chase. Elusive, but clearly there. The evidence was all around me. It could only be a matter of time before I saw one.

It's only a matter of time.

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