Zorro and I were SO CLOSE to encountering a moose (or two) on the trails yesterday morning.
So close, but no cigar...
|"My nose says 'Moose in the trees this way'!" declares moose seeking Zorro.|
Two things to note about the prior photo. First, notice how tall the snow wall is that Zorro is peeking over. When he was on the trail, the wall was too tall for him to see anything to the right. Yet, he stopped on a dime at this spot to peek over the wall. Clearly the 'scent of moose' drew him to stop and stand tall to look over the wall for moose. Second, those are fox tracks going up the trail in front of us. Once Zorro's nose caught the scent of moose, he had zero interest in the fresh fox tracks. "Who cares about a fox when the scent of moose is nearby?!?!?!
" states Zorro. Despite Zorro's intense stare in the photo above, neither of us were able to get a visual on a moose in the trees from this spot.
Our outing took us out & back in French Gulch. The lower part of the gulch has a heavily used trail with high snow walls as you see in the prior photo. Eventually, we out ski the heavy usage and the trail transitions to seldom used and narrow. We were first tracks on the lower trails and still first tracks as we transitioned into the deeper & seldom used terrain, until.... Moose tracks intersected the trail!!!!
|"Oh my, these are FRESH!!!!" declares Zorro sniffing the tracks to test for freshness.|
As you see in the previous photo, a moose sauntered from the forest to our right and onto the main trail. He (or she) then proceeded to walk along the French Gulch Trail for quite a distance. This gave Zorro and I a little extra energy to be second tracks to a moose for a long stretch on the upper trail:
|Second tracks on the trail behind a moose.|
Zorro's engine got a healthy dose of 'moose juice' as he was pulling as hard as he
could to tow me along the moose trail.
We skijored out upper French Gulch as far as the moose trail led us. Eventually, though, the moose left the trail and went up into the trees. Despite Zorro's desire to follow the moose, I used my veto power to reject the idea of going into deep snow and thick trees after a moose! So, we turned around and headed back down the gulch expecting the moose excitement for the day to be over.
But, my oh my, it was not over. We transitioned from the upper, narrow trail and back onto the wide, lower trail and started a fast skijor in the lower gulch. Then, all of a sudden, Zorro launched himself off trail to our right and landed in a moose trough! Apparently the moose had done a loop. He went out the upper gulch trail, turned into the trees, started back down (while in the forest) and then cut back onto the main trail in the lower part of the gulch. His path out of the forest and onto the lower trail was quite impressive - take a look for yourself:
|Zorro standing in a moose trough as this is the trail he carved out of the forest and back onto|
the main trail. Moose sure are tall :)
Well, the moose stepped out of the deep trough you see above and proceeded to walk down the main trail. As I mentioned, Zorro and I were first tracks on the trail yesterday morning. So, the ski tracks you see in the photo below are the tracks we set on the way out. The footprints you see in front of Zorro are moose prints going down the trail. These moose prints were NOT on the trail just 15-20 minutes before when we were laying the fresh ski tracks. That is, we were at most 20 minutes behind the moose!!!!
|"This way, this way! Hurry, hurry!!!!" says Zorro launching us after the 'less than 20 minute|
old' moose tracks on the trail!
The moose walked down the main trail for a bit (with Zorro and I in hot pursuit :) until he eventually left and went into the deep snow in the gulch. I had good visibility into the gulch, so, with no moose in sight, I let Zorro follow the moose trail for a short distance (until visibility diminished as we approached the thick trees across the gulch). I knew there was no way we would catch up to moose now that we were in super deep snow; but Zorro was very entertained and willing to try :)
|"This way now! This way! I don't care how deep it is, MOOSE!" declares silly little Zorro|
trying to keep pace with a moose in 2+ feet of snow :)
But, as I said in the beginning, "so close, but no cigar." Despite the fresh tracks and knowing we were at most 20 minutes behind the moose at one point, we failed to get a visual again today. So much great moosing (tracks, sniffs, stares); but no treasured visual. Oh well, back to the trailhead to tell Jack about how much fun we had searching for moose...
|"I have no idea what a moose is yet; but I DO know what 'end of run' pork treats are!" says|
little Jack mesmerized with the pork treats in my hands.
"So we failed to get a visual, I STILL earned my end of run treats!" declares intense Zorro :)
A very entertaining morning looking for moose with lots of deep moose troughs and trails to play in: 7.4 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.
2017/2018 Season to Date: 27 days on the trails covering 193.7 miles with 16,650 feet of elevation climbed.