I've now officially been living in Waterton for a year, April 4th. Over this year, there have been many great opportunities to see to wildlife. I've seen bears, foxes, beavers, wolves, coyotes, bunnies, longhorn sheep, elk, deer, to name a few...but I hadn't seen the one animal I really wanted to spot: a moose.
I think my curiosity started when we first got here and people told us to watch for wildlife on the roads, when we were coming to and from Pincher Creek or Cardston. We were told to really watch for deer, as they like to surprise motorists. We were also told "hit a moose, and you're a goner." While the idea was mildly frightening, it stirred an interest in me and I began to wonder how often one does spot a moose around the park.
During the summer, my boyfriend Geoff and I went canoeing up at Cameron Lake. In the boat rental shop, they have photographs up on the walls of moose swimming in the lake (for the record the plural of a moose is moose...I doubted that for a minute there and looked it up on Google to be sure it wasn't meese or mooses. Haha.) As we paddled across the lake in our own canoe, I got really excited when we heard loud animal groaning noises, thinking we would also see moose. When we got closer, it turned out to be young bears swimming, which was just as thrilling to see, but a small part of me had hoped to see moose. (See previous blog entry Cameron Lake Cannonballing Grizzly Bears And Seasonal Transformations
Recently on a lunch break, I was sitting in the break room with Geoff and we were talking to one of the maintenance guys, Roy. Somehow we got on the topic of moose and I had said I was disappointed to have not to have seen one yet. Geoff had seen one on a grocery trip to Pincher Creek, and other times we had driven around that way near Shintangle Spring, before that big lookout point that rounds a cliff, looking for moose. I even recall seeing something on Parks' Twitter page about a moose living on one of the ranch properties just outside the park gate and going on that as a hunch to spot a moose. Yet, for all the times I've consciously drove around looking for one with my camera, or even just brought my camera along on a trip to pick up groceries in case there was an off-chance of seeing one, it just didn't happen. Roy told us that he had 2 moose living behind his property, just outside the park and that we were welcome to drop by to look for it. Added bonus: one moose is a partial albino, with white spotting on its legs.
Really excited, after work we drove out with two of our friends Troy and Trina who came along for the ride and to go for dinner in town afterwords. I wore my big galoshes and Troy was wearing Crocs, which just goes to show, he wasn't expecting to be trudging around in mud and snow down a hill, into the bush and near a ravine far behind the property. Trina waited in the car and the three of us set out to find a moose. However, the fact we chatted the whole way and stomped around quite loudly, probably didn't help our chances. We didn't see anything. We still had fun.
After all this, I think my expectations began to lower or it just sort of subsided to the back of my mind....BUT then it happened, and when I least expected it. I was having a not-so-great day and in a less than pleasant mood, when I had to drive into Pincher Creek for an errand. We were driving along when suddenly I saw something large and brown out of the corner of my eye. I turned and saw him- -it was a moose. He trotted along and stopped just short of the road. We hit our brakes and backed up hoping to get a photo on our phones (of course, the one time I didn't grab my Canon Rebel.) He ran out across the street behind our parked car and skipped, jumping over a fence. Then he ran off into the distance. Another one was on the other side of the street, but it quickly ran off too. All the horses on the farm stood still almost in shock, not sure what was going on- -our car and 3 others pulled over, people with cameras & camera phones, and two big moose darting across their pasture. I do have to say, my crummy day immediately turned around from the point. I saw my moose, plural.