Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Moose on the Loose...

I had a totally different subject that I was going to write about this evening but instead, I am going to write about our close encounter with a moose.

This morning when Zack and I went out for a hike, we hiked into an area of the Gore Range that is known for having a population of moose.  As we hiked through the dense forest we crossed and re-crossed the middle and south forks of a stream called Willow Creek.  Due to the spring snow melt, these streams are full to the point of overflowing their banks.  In many places the streams have spilled out and have turned meadows into marshes that are just filled with dense green vegetation.  This got me to wondering if we were going to see any moose while on our hike as the conditions were exactly what moose like.  But unfortunately we did happen to spy any moose.  Bummer.

After our hike we went back to our condo and spent the afternoon relaxing.  Both Zack and I managed to take naps.  It is almost unexplainable how great it feels to take a nap at the condo.  After a day of strenuous hiking it is the greatest thing.  My bedroom faces towards the forest and when I take a nap, I open the blinds and the window.  This allows me to get a nice breeze into the bedroom and see the tops of nearby aspen trees swaying in the wind.  Sunlight floods into my bedroom in the morning, but by the afternoon it is deep in the shadows.

It was almost 5:30PM when I awoke from my nap and got about the rest of the business of the day.  There wasn't really anything major to do except feed the dogs and taking them out into the forest so they can do the things that they need to do after eating.  Given the amount of space around and the fact that my dogs normally listen when I call them, for the most part I leave them off leash for these walks.

As we were coming back to the condo after this evening's walk, I was focused on calling the dogs and keeping them close.  For whatever reason as we get closer to the condo they tend to be less obedient, but today they were following my directions very well.  Given the focus I had on the dogs, I wasn't concentrating too much on the situation around me.  That lead to the big surprise.  As we were getting close to the steps to go up to the condo, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a massive shape coming around the corner of the building.  It was big enough that it caused me to do a double take and quickly realize that it was massive bull moose!  Once all this dawned on my brain, I practically jumped out of my skin.

Thankfully the dogs were close at hand and I managed to quickly grab them by their collars to keep them from rushing him.  Lex didn't seem to care at all.  He stared at the moose and didn't do a thing.  Finn on the other hand, decided he needed to make a fuss.  He got down on his haunches and started to growl.  At that point, Mr. Moose decided he wasn't too pleased with me and the dogs.  He gave us a thorough stare down and started to make some snorting noises.  The end result of all of this was that I kept a strong hold on the dogs and got them up the stairs to the condo!

 Once I had the dogs on the steps up to the condo, I called out to Zack to let him know what was going on.  He came out of the condo and stood on the deck.  Of course he was utterly amazed when he saw the moose in the courtyard below.  When the dogs were safely in the condo we both went down to the deck of the unit below us to look at this amazing and beautiful creature.  Our neighbors, having heard me call out to Zack about the "moose in the courtyard" all came out to get a look.  Everyone stood around watching this massive animal feast on the lush green grass and dandelions that fill the courtyard of our condo complex.  It was amazing to watch him tear massive amounts of foliage out of the ground and devour them.  If he decides to keep coming back to our condo complex, our management company isn't going to have to mow the grass this summer!

He must have stayed in the courtyard gorging on the plentiful grass and dandelions for a good 30 - 45 minutes.  All of our neighbors were respectful of him and no one got too close.  He seemed to feel safe, comfortable and not threatened as he kept munching away without a sideways glance towards anyone.  When he was done with his meal, he causally meandered over to a small grove of aspen trees, lay down and chewed his cud.  It was an amazing experience to see all of this!

I managed to take a whole bunch of pictures with my camera, but unfortunately I do not have my memory card reader with me.  Instead, I can only post the pictures I took with my cell phone and a bit of video footage.  Regardless, I really wanted to share this story with you all!

I sincerely hope everyone is having a safe, happy and fun Memorial Day Weekend!

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

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