Fall bull moose encounter
Just over a year ago I found myself face to face with a bull moose. I was wrapping up a fall color photo blitz. The colors were hitting peak and, although I had a myriad of responsibilities facing me, I hopped in my car on a Monday afternoon and headed north. I only had about 24 hours before I needed to be back, so I had to make it count. I hit Caribou Falls, then Section 13, finishing the day watching the sunset from Oberg Mountain. The day didn’t end with sunset, as I drove to Sugarloaf Cove to photograph the Milky Way. Sleep was low on my priorities list, but I managed to crash for a few hours in the back of my Subaru before heading out for sunrise at my favorite lake along the Superior Hiking Trail. Sunrise was spectacular and while I had a whole day ahead of me, I already felt content with what I had captured. Once the sun was high enough that the lighting was harsh, I began my hike out to my car. I passed a photographer on his way in, which I thought was unique considering the lighting had gotten so harsh. We paused to chat for a minute and he shared that he had been looking for moose not far from where we were. He graciously shared the location and I decided to check it out. There were several clearings that he suggested I check, so I made my way along a back road through Superior National Forest, hopping out at each clearing to see if anything was hanging out. First clearing was quiet and I didn’t see any signs of moose. The second clearing was quiet as well, but as I wandered around I noticed a couple of tracks that looked relatively fresh. My tracking skills are very poor, but these few tracks were enough to intrigue me to visit later in the day.
Then I was off again. It was Cascade State Park, White Sky Overlook, and some time spent along the shore of Lake Superior. Late afternoon was turning to evening and it was time to either set up for sunset or return to my moose search. I was pleased with the shots I had gotten, so the search for moose was on. I again stopped at all the cleanings. Listening. Waiting. All was quiet. At the second clearing I decided to hike up a ridge for a better vantage point.
I drove by that spot again this year. If nothing else, to reminisce on the experience. The growth is significantly higher than it was last year, and I did not find any fresh moose tracks. Perhaps this clearing has reached a point where it no longer provides the nutrients moose seek out. Or maybe I came through at the wrong time. Either way, I will be forever grateful for that unexpected encounter.
Keywords: animals, explore, forest, mammal, minnesota, moose, national, nature, north, shore, superior, wild, wilderness, wildlife
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