Sunday, February 23, 2014

Moose Day

Normally an outing of breaking trail all day in Indiana Creek would be the highlight of the day...
Normally, that is, as today's trail breaking was trumped by nonstop scents & sights of MOOSE!

Breaking trail all day long!
Normally the highlight of any skijor outing. Normally...

Our plan for the day was to tour the trails in & around Indiana Creek. Much to our surprise, we encountered fresh moose tracks within the first mile of the outing! Moose tracks are easy to recognize; but you might wonder how I know they were "fresh". Well, fresh moose tracks are the only thing that can cause my skijoring pair to come to a dead stop on the trail. Old moose tracks will get a glance from them as will other wildlife tracks (fresh or not). But, fresh moose tracks bring an immediate halt to the Siberians and moose inspection must begin! So, within a mile of our outing and Max & Zorro's "moose radar" was ON for the rest of the day!

Within the first mile and we encounter fresh moose tracks. Nothing can put a stop to the
skijor engines except fresh moose tracks!
As my partners were inspecting the fresh tracks, I was scanning our surrounding for moose.
Immediately to my right and "Ah-ha - Moose!" There were two moose in the trees watching
us inspecting their recent tracks (it was a mother moose and her child).

We know there are at least 3 moose living in Indiana Creek as we have seen a mother plus kid and a huge male moose with big basket on his head on the same outing before. After today, though, I am thinking there are more than just 3 moose residing in Indiana Creek. There were too many "fresh tracks & scents" setting off the Siberians' moose radar for there to be only 3...

About a mile from the original moose sighting and my partners come to an intense standstill.
Surveying the terrain, I spotted moose tracks on the opposite side of this meadow. The Siberians
could not see the tracks, of course, so the "scent of moose" must have been fresh enough in the
air to bring them to a halt. A third moose? Probably...
About 1.5 miles later and another intense halt. Both noses went up in the air and all focus
went to the trees to our left. A fourth moose? It is seeming so...
About another mile and a pair of EXTREMELY FRESH moose tracks. You could tell by
the reaction from Max & Zorro that these tracks were just recently made!
"I'll take one moose, you take the other!" say the moose seeking pair.
A fifth and sixth moose? Really....

The above tracks went into the shadows of the trees as I stopped for us to turn around and head back down the trail. I swear I heard the breaking of branches that would be caused by moose moving through the trees.
"Turnaround? BUT the moose went this way!" say intense Max & Zorro who are not too
keen on my idea to NOT pursue the moose tracks :)

"Well, ok, I guess we'll turn around." say the happy pair (eventually).
"But, we are willing to turn around because we know there are 4 more moose back this way!"

Amazing that trail breaking shots like the one below were not the highlight of the day!
Cruising along an untouched 10-12 inches of snow!

An exhilarating 6.8 miles with 800 feet of elevation climbed as we were breaking trail all day in the search for moose!

2013/2014 Season to Date: 97 days on the trails covering 829.7 miles with 96,450 feet of elevation climbed.

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