Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Winter's Knockin'--Here Moosey, Moosey

Winter came knocking on the door this weekend.  There was snow above 8000 feet on the mountains--the Beartooth Pass was closed down, the Red Lodge Ski Area got covered, and the moose made a grand appearance in the area.  Fortunately for us --in Joliet--we only received cold rain.  That is how our day began this morning at 6:30AM as the wife, daughter, son-in-law and I began our drive to the mountains down the road.  We drove through rain, fog, and then eventually snow.  We were on the Great American Moose Hunt.

In the three years since we moved to Montana the daughter is the only one of us who had not seen a moose.  She determined that these creatures did not exist and that they were magical, mythical creatures only found in stories.  In less than a month she and the son-in-law head off to Alabama where he begins pilot school for 18 months.  It was detrimental that the daughter see a moose before they headed south where winter (at least winters like Montana has) are a myth.  Thus our early journey to the mountains and the snow.

Despite her lack of belief the journey was a huge success.  The daughter saw five--yes, five--moose!  As is the rule in the family a "moose sighting" only counts if there is photographic evidence.  Luckily for the daughter both her husband and I had our cameras.  Those magical, mythical creatures were all captured in photographs in all of their glory.  It was hard to wipe the grin off the daughter's face.  So here goes, from first to last, the moose:

Moose One--this fella was unique in that he was missing half of his antlers.
 It was just beginning to snow.

 Moose One had enough of us and began to leave--note about his rear end,
at the edge of the woods stands Moose Two.

Moose Two.

After obtaining photographic evidence of the first two moose--and feeling pretty darn good about our luck--we heading further down the road in search of even more moose.  We were only at the start of our journey and there was still a long way to go before we would be done, plus the snow was starting to come down hard creating a winter wonderland. 

Moose Three was a little more of a challenge to spot as he was covered with snow, walking through the snow covered trees, and not really wanting to be spotted.  This big guy we caught twice--coming and going.  He was a big boy.

Moose Three . . .
 . . . trying to ignore us intrusive humans . . . 
 . . . until we got to our turn around point to begin the journey back.
After a short potty break, a few quick snow pictures with Flat Stanley--a guest of the daughter and son-in-law--we headed back knowing that we would have an excellent opportunity to catch Moose Three once again.  Our hope was that we would be able to get clearer and better pictures.
  Moose Three trying really hard to lose us . . . 
 . . . until he finally succeeds and slowly disappears into the snowy woods.
Moose Four was the youngest of the five moose spotted thanks to the quick eyes of the wife as we were driving down the road.  This young fella was fairly anit-social and really wasn't in the mood for getting a picture taken.  The best he would do for us was to give a rear shot, but photographic evidence is photographic evidence--front of back.
Moose Four, a young bull without antlers.
 Moose Four.
Feeling pretty blessed at having spotted four moose in one day, we sort of got greedy in hopes of seeing more as we continued back from our turn around point.  The wife, daughter, and son-in-law were all in "high moose alert mode" and looking out all sides of the truck as I drove down the road.  That is probably why they missed the next one until I pointed him out--he was standing right in front of the truck, right by the highway.
Moose Five . . . the oldest of the moose we saw . . . and one who was not going
to stick around us humans as he took off up the slope to the left . . .
 Going . . .

. . . gone!
It was a record day for moosing--five moose!  As winter comes the moose head down out of the mountains and this first real snow of the season brought out a bevy of moose to observe.  To top off the perfect morning we stopped in Red Lodge and had breakfast at the Regis Cafe--a five star eating establishment in an old grocery store where the food was delightful.  The daughter kept babbling about this being the happiest day of her life, the wife kept stopping strangers and telling them we had seen five moose . . . and I would have to admit that it was a special day.  Not bad for the daughter and son-in-law as a year ago they were married on this weekend.  I think seeing five moose is a pretty cool way to but an exclamation point on the first year of marriage.  Five moose--its got to be some sort of blessing.  Yeah, winter came knocking and we got the moose--we even have pictures to prove it!

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