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Friday, January 22, 2016

A Moose Trio Joins our Photoshoot

As we rolled out the door this morning, I reminded myself repeatedly to watch for moose because I'd somehow overlooked two moose yesterday, riding right past them. We rode up to the high area where we watch the sunrise, and there were no moose anywhere in sight!

So, I left my bike by the side of the trail, and we started our usual routine - a combination of playing, training, and photographs. The sunrise light was rich.

I played with the light some, facing to the east so that Shyla was like a golden ghost.

Then, when we were deep back in a pocket of the forest, Shyla's eyes got very wide, and she fixated on something behind me.

It's not easy for me to "look over my shoulder" due to my surgically fused spine. However, her wide eyes convinced me to turn my whole body around to see what was behind me. I expected to see a hiker or a runner but I saw no one.

So, I went back to training. I had Shyla in a "stay" (and note that she still didn't look at me but looked behind me).

And I called her to come to me.

She almost bowled me over, running straight into me with wide eyes.

That convinced me to look behind me again. And guess what I saw...

Not just one moose, but THREE. From left to right, it was "Lefty" (the yearling calf), this year's calf (the light colored one), and Mama Moose. They seemed utterly oblivious to us or else not interested in us. These photos were not taken with a long lens. The moose were very close to us.
What you can't see is that they were very close to my bike, which actually was a major consideration in this situation (yup, I'm completely crazy about my Meriwether).

I stopped taking photos, and I told Shyla to heel. We went to the south of the moose trio, behind a series of boulders, so that Shyla would be invisible and wouldn't anger Mama Moose. I kept talking in a conversational voice so that Mama Moose wouldn't think I was trying to ambush her calf.

We made it out to the trail and walked away from the moose trio. But my bike was still near them. I really didn't want it to be trampled. So, I had Shyla scale a tall boulder, and I had her do a "down-stay" on top of it. My logic was that she was safe from the moose up there, and I had tremendous faith that she wouldn't break a stay, especially not with moose around.

Then, I walked meekly back in the direction of the moose, trying to figure out what to do. I just stood still, pondering the problem of my bike being next to three moose. Well, my problem was solved for me.

Something spooked them. It wasn't me - because they paid no attention to me. They cantered, so powerful and huge, into the forest enclave where Shyla and I had been when we first saw them. I quickly walked over and took my bike. I rode to Shyla and released her from her "stay". Needless to say, we got the heck out of there.

Some of my friends have started calling me a "moose magnet". They might be right.
I thank my lucky stars that we got out of that sticky spot without even being charged. I have to wonder what made the moose come so close to us. When they arrived, I was talking loudly to Shyla, calling out cues like "SHYLA COME". I think the moose must have known that we were there, yet they chose to forage within 25 yards of us.

Let's hope next week involves no moose encounters! Happy Friday!


  1. I tend to agree with your friends,
    saying you are a moose magnet.
    Glad you were able to retrieve you bike and get outta there.
    You got some awesome photos. :)
    xo Cinnamon

  2. What a great job both you and Shyla did, glad you got your bike back!

    Love the second shot of Shyla!

  3. I believe they have seen you up close often enough that they know you won't harm them, however I'm glad you stayed clear until the left. What a beautiful couple of days we've had, we've got a long bit of winter left but I'm looking forward to spring and more walks & biking.

  4. Yep you attract them. I've seen photos of my momma WAY to close to moose.... on purpose. I am convincing her (through you) to rethink that. Glad you both are safe.

  5. Maybe those three moose are getting used to you and Shyla!

  6. Good question, Haley and Zaphod! We really only have had moose for a year so it's hard to see whether there's a yearly cycle. However, there certainly have been more moose around this autumn and winter than there were in the spring and summer. We'll see if that pattern holds in the future!

  7. That trio must recognize you as someone who will not hurt them. But best not to let up your guard. Shyla has a wonderful warning system in those eyes:)

  8. I love the second photo! You all really do have some serious moose issues.

  9. Crikey ..... those Moose aren't stupid. They know you and Shyla won't harm them. My bet is they see you every day and they like you!!!!! Just like Mum and I do. We too, try not to miss the sunrise. We were just thinking of you this morning. It was a really beautiful morning. Not a great sunrise but nice enough. Mum was wishing she had your photo taking skills.

  10. I hope Noreen is right. That the moose were aware of your presence but decided you mean no harm. But it is still disconcerting to think they were so near and could have charged had they been so inclined. Hope next week is moose-free for you and Shyla.

  11. Terrific photos!! And I have to admit, I was holding my breath reading your post! Glad you and your girl were/are okay, and those moose weren't out to pick a fight!

  12. it would be nice to think that the moose are getting used to you and know you are not a threat, but I would never let my guard down as I am sure you won't. Shyla is amazing, simply amazing
    Mr Bailey Hazel & Mabel

  13. I knew you and Shyla would be a great team KB, but you and Shyla have gone way beyond that,, You are a team... You trust her,, and she trusts you.
    Incredible story and photos! So glad your all okay,, got the heck out of there, and that your bike is okay too

  14. Oh wow! They really were close! That's pretty scary! I'm glad you were able to retrieve your bike and that Shyla was such a good girl and didn't break her stay!

    I love those golden photos of Shyla! She is so pretty!

  15. The moose must not feel threatened by you and Shyla. We are so relieved that you and Shyla got the heck out of there and are okay!

  16. They may have known you were there, but you don't scare them! I know I've read where you can spread the pee of a certain animal to scare off other animals. I just googled that idea and got the website LOL! The name made me laugh. You click on the animal name you want to scare off, so I clicked on Moose....and it came up with bottles of Wolf Pee (I don't want to know how they get it! Can't be good.) Maybe you need to mix up a little spray bottle of Eau de Wolf for you trips into the woods?

    Why aren't 3 moose....Meese? LOL!

    And finally, we've got almost two feet of snow here in Northern Virginia and it's still coming down like crazy! My world looks like yours today!

    I had a lot to say this morning :-)

  17. I've definitely learned to take advantage of my dogs' sharper senses whenever we're out together. If one of my dogs stops and alerts on something, I look to see what's caught their attention, just like you did. I can't always see what they see/smell (stupid human senses), but sometimes they point me at something I'd never have noticed on my own.

  18. That really was a close encounter of the moose kind!

  19. What a super photo of the moose! Sounds like you did everthing right to avert a charge.

  20. I think they are getting use to seeing you in the forest, and don't see you as a threat. Moose are smart. Whenever they see you, they aren't shot at, or harassed. So you are Ok in their mind, otherwise they wouldn't intentionally and casually get that close to you. (just my opinion)

  21. I agree that they clearly think you and Shyla aren't a threat, but I also agree one can never completely trust wild animals. I'm glad Shyla is afraid of them, and that she was also aware. Good luck!

  22. Too close for comfort! Shyla's expression sure told a story!

    Keep Calm & Bark On!

    Murphy & Stanley

  23. Those moose are amazing and beautiful animals. A moose magnet. Yes!!

  24. Maybe they're starting to realize that Shyla poses no threat? However, I find it amazing that the Mama would bring her new calf so close. Ours have been missing for well over a month - I see signs in the forest but no sightings.

  25. Holy moly, holy moly! I was tense just reading this post, you must have just about jumped out of your skin to turn around and see THREE moose!

    I'm laughing at your confession about how far you'll go to save your bike. I've read some of your old posts, so I kinda get it!

    (It brings to mind a rather different incident from when I visited the World Cycling Championships a few years ago... milling around before the race, I watched as one of the Spanish riders just leaned his bike outside a cafe door and popped in to grab something. There were a few double-takes from passers-by, I can tell you!)

  26. I'm thinking those moose live near you and are getting used to you and Shyla.


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