Saturday, September 12, 2009

Close Encounter of the Ruminating Ungulate Kind (AKA a Moose)

Actually, it was 2 moose. And actually, it wasn't this moose. This moose is at a nice safe distance. The moose my friend Suzie and I almost ran into was only about 10 feet from us. But the alders were so thick we didn't even see her. We were hiking along Rabbit Lake trail admiring all the fall colors. Her doggie Max was in front of us. He smelled her, wimpered just as I head a rustle in the alders. It took my mind a moment to compute that that sound was bigger than a bird. I stopped and said "there's something in the bushes". Suzie stopped. We backed away slowly. Then, I went through the mental rolodex in my mind of what to do in moose encounters. If your mind doesn't find the information it wants, it just fills in with the next best info. So, what to do in bear encounters kept coming to mind. But, bear and moose are much different and therefore, require different responses. After a moment of this back and forth in my mind one single idea came forward. RUN!! So we did. Not that you can out run a moose, but better than sticking around and finding out if they were gonna charge or not.

We ran a bit down the trail and ascertained that we were between 2 moose. They were both female and both adults. Great. Sandwiched between 2 thousand pound animals. We could hear stomping. These chicks were having some sort of dispute, probably since its fall and rut season. We didn't want to find out, just wanted to get out of there. We finally decided to make a break for it. We walked slowly past them. The smell was incredible. Anyone ever smell moose? Very distinct. Kinda like halibut, only gamey. We start strolling along then decide to beat foot it out of there.

Fall is a beautiful time of year in Alaska and can best be enjoyed by hiking. Running into wild life is just all part of the fun. That trip we saw about 5 moose all together, the rest were at a safe distance. We also saw a dall sheep. I love seeing wildlife. I just don't love (literally) running into it.

Here are pics from the rest of the trip.

Rabbit Lake

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