A scene from National Geographic unfolds in front of my breakfast table this morning. Two coyotes come from the area of the DeLonde homestead heading along the road. Both watch me warily before moving to what I have come to think of as the moose willows. There is some very intent listening and then a pounce with both front paws. This repeats a few times before the coyote comes up with breakfast.
I can hardly believe that my time here will be coming to an end soon. I need to make the best use of my time and decide a hike up along the Switzerland trail will be how I spend the morning.
I am bundle up against the cold. It doesn’t take long to warm up and my jacket is making way too much noise as I walk. I have learned this is not a good way to wander around, being unable to listen to my surroundings. I stop just before the sign that talks about the wetlands. I think I have been observant but I am taken by surprise by yet another moose. It’s the grumbly bull just on the other side of the fence. Thank goodness for fences!
He watches me as I scramble to get my camera. I must not be much of a threat as he puts his head down and ambles along grunting roughly every 5 seconds. I’m surprised at how quickly such a big animal can blend into skinny willow branches and disappear.
Farther along the trail I hear a noise behind me. I turn to see what it is and trip over a tree root. It may not have been the most graceful fall but I am only concerned with protecting my camera. Whatever was behind me is long gone by the time I pick myself up. A quick check of the camera and I think about how better prepared I was when I left the cabin this morning. There is food, water and bear spray in my pack and had I been hurt there is a note on the table with the time I left and where I was intending on hiking.
Returning along the trail I run across a sandy spot not far from where I tripped. Crossing on top of my boot tracks are the tracks of an elk. The earlier noise had brought to mind someone or something brushing against a branch. I think the mystery has been solved.
I was talking to Jack this afternoon. He asked what my plans were for the evening. I jokingly said I would go look for moose. All I needed to do was stand up and look out the window and there was a bull down by the willows. I’ve become so accustomed to them now I grabbed the binoculars instead of the camera. It took me awhile to get a good look at the length of his bell and determined that this was not Mr. Grumbly that I ran into this morning. I think this is a younger bull with a much shorter bell and brings the moose count up to at least 5 individuals. Two cows, a calf and now two bulls.
And to think I would have been happy seeing one moose from a distance.