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Thursday, February 12, 2015

A hike to remember - elk, moose, and a fiery sunset

The Labraduo and I set off for our evening hike. Within about 100 yards of our house, I first smelled and then saw the entire elk herd in an aspen grove next to the trail. I kept the dogs on leash (that's where I often let them run), and we went around the herd. Here's a photo of about a third of the herd that I took earlier today.
This evening, we were hustling up to a plateau where we could see the sunset. As we emerged from the forest onto the open plateau, we discovered that a moose pair was standing in our sunset photography spot.
We were a long distance from them, and I didn't have my wildlife lens with me so that was a very cropped photo. However, it showed me immediately that this is a different mother moose than the one who charged me last week. Last week's mother moose had an old injury to her right ear that gave it a "clipped" look.

So, now we have two mother-calf moose pairs spending time in the forest near us. I think that the introduction of moose to Colorado has been a success! During today's encounter, I tried making some noise from a long distance away to see if this pair might move away from us. Nope - they just stared. And, then R decided to bark at them. So, we retreated. They are the first wildlife who live in our forest who don't run from humans or dogs.

Since the moose were occupying our sunset photography spot, we went over a ridge into the forest, where the difference between the two dog's reactions to seeing the moose was obvious. I have never seen Shyla so wide eyed!
In contrast, R seemed puffed up with confidence, and he continuously stared intently in the direction of the moose. He seemed to think that he needed to protect us women-folk from the huge animals we'd just seen.
Needless to say, the dogs didn't get any off-leash time this evening.

We did get to see a glorious sunset. While Shyla and I sat on a boulder watching it, R stood sentry behind us, continuing to stare in the direction of the moose.
It is the wild west here. I love it.


  1. R is SO intense! sweet shyla. i'm a little worried about those moose not being afraid of you, though, based on your earlier encounter.

  2. Hari Om
    Oh my word Shyla's eye-las!!! Mine perhaps looked similar upon seeing your skyshot... I get some fabby ones here but that takes some beating!!! YAM xx

  3. Love it! The sky was amazing. And moose are funny. I think they are just super confident in who they are, and why should they move.

  4. Eyes ahead!!! Stunning herd, moose? mooses?? and your sunset, all wonderfully gorgeous.

  5. Oh wow! Look at all those elk! I'm glad the other moose mamma didn't charge you! Shyla and R are so cute! I love the look on R's face! He's such a good boy for taking care of you girls!

  6. Holy elk poop that's a lot of elk.

    Aroo to you,

  7. Very cool to see that wild life--- so close to where you live!
    Beautiful photos!
    What a difference in the expressions of R and Shyla..
    R looks like he has seen them before!

  8. Another mother moose and young. That's exciting.

  9. I don't blame you for loving much to explore!

    Just love that R stays alert and protective over you "women-folk" :-)

  10. I think it is sweet how R looks after you two.

  11. Every day is a different adventure for you guys! Your wide-eye look is crackin' us up, Shyla!

  12. I'm not sure moose were necessarily a good addition to Colorado if they are so fearless in the face of humans. They add an extra element of danger for hikers that's for sure. I wonder if they just stand there and stare at the hunters? They won't last long that way .

    Have you ever had either dog run off for an extended time due to chasing a surprise wildlife sighting?

  13. Love the moose shots - they really are not afraid of humans at all, are they? Hopefully that doesn't cause trouble in the future. About the only wildlife we've encountered that won't budge when they see us are the geese at the preserve. Those geese frighten me and they aren't even that large - so I can't imagine sharing the forest with moose that aren't worried about people!

    Sounds like you took the proper precautions. I probably would have said, "Hey, moose, that's OUR spot". hehehehehe

  14. Shyla's eyes are amazing - so intense! Wow. Those moose are huge animals, they must have left quite the impression on her. On R as well - but in a different way. I love both.
    We had seen moose in Rocky Mountain National Park some years ago. The same year we saw many of them in Maine - it was fascinating. I really like moose, so my eyes probably were like Shyla's at times...

  15. Oh Shyla that face!! Those are big whatever they are......elk
    Lily & Edward

  16. Shyla, we'd look the same way too seeing all those large critters in your forest. Except we'd be barking our heads off for hours on end at them. Good thing R is there for your protection. He's a good boy!

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  17. Beautiful pictures! What a breathtaking place you call home! I'm thrilled I came across your blog and will be visiting again and again! Have a great day!!

  18. Beautiful eyes - both of them!
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  19. BOL! Good boy, R, protecting your womenfolk!

  20. Sounds like the moose are making themselves at home in your hiking territory. I've seen a moose charge a barking dog (she also had a calf).

  21. We sure hope the moose will remain safe there and also stay far away from you and the duo. Happy Valentine's Day weekend from all of us.

  22. My goodness, they were having a Valentine Day Party!

  23. Today I have been wondering how large a herd of goats (and suitably vast acreage) would theoretically be needed before all the fisticuffs and crankiness of the group would sort itself out by sheer abundance of available options for companionship and space. I think your elk herd may have given me a clue to the answer.

  24. How many times can I say I blimmin' love your posts without boring you! But I BLIMMIN' love your posts I do! Thank you so much for sharing all the beauty that surrounds you, including your incredible labraduo!

  25. How rude that those moose didn't move from your favorite picture taking spot. ;-)

    At least you got to enjoy a beautiful sunset.


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