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Monday, January 18, 2016

A Winter Day in the Mountains

The sky was heavy with clouds at sunrise today although the rising sun brightened the clouds fleetingly.

This was the last bit of brightness we saw this morning...

Then, we were plunged into a world of gray.

It was the kind of day that can make me feel sleepy and lazy. However, a near-miss with three moose spiked my adrenaline. We were riding along just like usual when I heard rustling and grunting from the hillside above us. I saw three moose, who seemed to be fighting among themselves. I couldn't see much detail through the aspens except that the moose were moving fast, back and forth, perhaps charging one another.

But then I did see detail as the mother moose ran toward us from 75 yards away with her head down. I've never had a moose care about our presence at such a long distance. We could head downhill so I took off on my fat bike with Shyla ahead of me at top speed. After a little while, I looked back, and Mama Moose was returning to the other two moose, who were now also further down the hill toward us.

I grabbed my camera but my hands were shaking so I got only one decent photo before Mama Moose looked over her shoulder to give us another warning "look". That made us depart for good. The one decent photo shows last year's calf, with his asymmetrical antlers. I wonder if he tried to rejoin Mama Moose and her new calf, but Mama Moose was rebuffing him.
It was the only time I've ever heard a moose vocalize (the grunting when I first saw them). I wish I'd had a chance to record it.

Shyla and I were more than happy to completely change our planned route to stay away from the crazy moose. We went up high where the sparkling white mountains jumped out from the gray sky.

It was windy up high, as you can see from the snow blowing off the ridges.

It looked less windy more to the north, where the clouds hugged the mountain that Shyla and I like to climb in the summer.

On our way home, we saw no more moose but we saw a flock of robins! I'm guessing that means it's spring, right?
Happy Martin Luther King Day!


  1. That would be awesome if spring is on it's way early!! The gray day is still pretty in your pictures.

  2. Very beautiful photos, but keep away from the crazy moose!

  3. If your morning started out sleepy, it seems to have had a major turnaround. Glad you and Shyla were able to make a fast getaway. With the cold we have had, robins would be a welcome sight for this old lady too:)

  4. Those moose just sound terrible! I love the robin, so pretty!

  5. Love all the changes in color as the sun rises and sets. We have plunged into a world of grey out here as well. Occasionally we have some sun in the morning, but then it fades as the day goes on.

  6. Wow! I'm glad mamma moose decided to head back!

    Your grey world today is exactly what my world has looked like for too many days now! I am really hoping spring comes soon!

  7. I loved the purple in the sky.
    You know you are a photographer when . . . you stop to get a picture of an angry moose lol!

  8. You're channeling my hero Ansel Adams today!!

  9. Gorgeous photos! I am glad you and Shyla made a clean getaway! They are so territorial, eh? Stay safe!!

  10. Lovely pictures. Please give that moose a wide berth. Is there a way to avoid her part of the mountain or does she travel?

  11. Foley - She travels a lot! I never know where I'm going to see her. If I could just avoid her, I would!!!!

  12. Wonderful post. I think you may be correct about the activity with the moose this morning....keeping junior away from the new calf... What I really find interesting is that you have become part of their world as much as they have become part of yours, and you and Shyla react, as you should, of course, but as any other animal that had attracted the attention of Mommy Moose. When you venture out into the forest you truly do become a part of 'their ' world, and you are such a smart and aware steward that you blend pretty seamlessly.....well, then there's the bike.....

  13. Wow...a bit too much excitement today, huh?! Love the snow blowing on the mountains, it reminds me of the way the waves look here when the wind kicks up and blows the salt spray!

  14. When our moose settle in to an area, they too become possessive. The problem is that their "area" is HUGE. It is not just one mountain but it is several. And they work it from one end to the other, back and forth and you never know when you will come across them and where.

    I love that you are seeing them, but that particular momma sounds pretty moody to me. Be safe, keep your wits around you (as you always do) and I know you'll master the beast.

  15. I'm of the opinion that if moose want your space, you best give it to them. Still, that is a scary situation. And yes indeed. The Robins mean spring is on its way. Might take a while but it's definitely on the way.

  16. I'd love it if Spring came early. Beautiful photos.

    Aroo to you,

  17. wow, what a day you had.
    magical morning light.
    rightful fright with the three moose.
    then gorgeous mountains cloaked in mystical clouds.
    robins! usually does mean spring.
    some friends had red winged black birds at their feeders in Whitefish, they said that also means spring. we shall see.

  18. Such gorgeous of the sky and clouds. Such a beautiful day. We love all the colors and we love your mountains,. Yes,, we see the wind.
    I know our adrenalin would be flowing too if we saw that mama moose and hear the grunting sounds!

  19. The whole moose thing would scare me I have to admit. The photos are beautiful.

    Anne and Ziggy

  20. Such gorgeous photos! We are so happy to hear that you and Shyla escaped safely. What a scary start to your day!

  21. the color of the sky is super beautiful... wish I had a dress in that color :o)

  22. I guess you would be shaking after being charged by an angry moose!!! The sky photos are lovely but you and Shyla be careful out there :)

  23. Gray days are hard, that's for sure. I bet the older moose calf was disturbing that mom and her yearly. When she saw you, she was already riled up and you were an easy target. Scary for sure.

  24. No matter the weather it is always beautiful where you are!
    Careful with that momma moose
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  25. Oh boy we can't top that adventure except we saw gooses at the park
    Lily & Edward

  26. My goodness! Can't believe you stopped to take a photo - a true photographer. Hope you guys get some peace from all the moose run-ins! Lucky Shyla is such a good girl.


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