One of the best parts about traversing the outdoors is animal sightings. There is something so special about witnessing an animal in its natural habitat opposed to the confines of a zoo. It feels like a reward resulting from the long miles hiking/backpacking.
One animal stands above all other sightings for me. You can probably guess from the title of the blog that it is the moose. These huge, beautiful creatures hold a special place in my heart.
The connection for me runs through my parents. Their favorite place in the world is Isle Royale National Park, an island famous for its moose and wolf populations. My dad had been there two times, once in 2002 and again in 2007, and never saw once saw a moose.
Fast forward to 2016 in Yellowstone. We were driving along, hust barely in the park and immediately pulled over in the morning because there were many other vehicles stopped. We came around a clearing and sure enough, through the brush was a mother and her calf eating vegetation just off the road. We admired from afar being sure to stay a safe distance so the mother didn't get agitative and protective of her young. It was awesome to finally see a moose for the first time in my life. Even more special was to be there with my dad who watched in amazement.
Again let's fast forward to a few months ago, June of 2021. For graduation, I wanted nothing more than to backpack Isle Royale with my parents. I was about to move to Utah, and this felt like the last chance to explore the national park before I moved away. My parents had always spoke so highly of their experiences on the island so it was always in the back of my mind. The plans fell into place, and our journey began with a long drive to the upper peninsula of Michigan where we would embark on the adventure.
We climbed aboard a seaplane, our excitement and enthusiasm quickly growing as we grew closer to actually being at the island. We were about to spend 6 days on the island and the moose population was higher than it had been in a long time. It was the best chance for my dad to see a moose at the place that was so special to him. I invite you to watch a video I made recapping the experience.
In summary, on our last full day, we finally saw a moose, three of them in fact. It was so incredible to see my father glowing with excitement. My mom, right there with him, so happy to finally see him achieve his goal. This was truly a special moment that I would remember for the rest of my life.
Since moving to Utah my moose sightings have skyrocketed. After the very first weekend hike, I was driving back to my apartment and ahad to slam on my breaks for a moose crossing the road. After working so hard to see one in Isle Royale, it was surreal that I saw one just 30 minutes from my apartment.
My first backpacking trip in Utah also led me to seeing two moose. Then a few weeks later, I saw a moose just 20 ft off the trail of my hike to Lake Blanche. Finally, few weekends ago near my buddy's cabin in Idaho another moose interrupted our bonfire! It trotted along the driveway and we quickly cleared out to keep a safe distance from the huge creature.
The amount of sightings still have not dilluted how special every moose I see is. Every single time I think of my parents, and I am sure I always will. So thank you moose, I look forward to seeing many more of you.
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Until next time!