08/22 - Started the day off with a breakfast at the lodge. The lodge has photos hanging up of many animals I hoped to see on this trip, but all taken at the lodge. The photos included moose, black bear, a brown colored black bear and a mountain lion.
After breakfast I headed straight to the visitor’s center where I chatted with a lady for about 20 minutes about what to see and where to go. I purchased a hiking guide and a forest service map and was on my way, moose hunting. I drove down a pretty boring mountain road (gravel) for some time before I decided to hit some of the real mountain roads. Eventually I made my way to the Wyoming High Country Ranch and Lodge which was incredibly nice where I met Corey and his friend (girlfriend?) who were seemingly in charge of the empty lodge. They made me lunch and shared some photos of a bull, cow and calf moose they had taken earlier that morning before their dogs chased them away.
After eating I realized I forgot to bring my super dose of ibuprofen, for my back. So, I jumped on 14-A which is a stunning (paved) state route that runs through the forest, back to the Arrowhead lodge. When I arrived I saw a guy, named Dave, drudging around in the pond, raking out algae. He explained that the boss didn’t like the algae in the pond (which was just a dammed stream), but he went on to tell me, that they haven’t had enough rain so the pond is leaching water faster than the stream is filling it. Dave liked to curse a lot :) I also met his dog, a black lab, who instantly pinned herself to my hand for any petting I could give her. I said good-bye to Dave and headed upstairs to my room where I grabbed my meds. As I walked out of my room, I realized that, not 30 feet from where I was talking to Dave, there was a bull moose standing and eating vegetation in the dry creek-bed. I assume he was there the entire time Dave and I were talking, but neither of us knew he was there, you couldn’t see him due to the bushes being in the way.
So, after driving around all day to see a moose, I see one right next to where I park my Jeep! I raced down the stairs to my Jeep to get my camera and tried to figure out how to get a good shot of him, as he was mostly covered by a thicket and you couldn’t see much of him other than his head and back. I walked around the thicket and took some photos. I tried to get his attention to see what he thought of my presence, but he could care less I was there. Eventually I walked out to the road where I could look down on him and get some pictures. Of course, me standing on the side of the road, pointing a 400mm lens gathered some interest of passers bye and soon a group of us were standing there taking pictures and talking about the moose. “Why wouldn’t he step into the sunlight?” “Why won’t he move out of that thicket so we can see him better?” These were questions asked by myself and others, but the moose didn’t care. He was chowing down, until he grew full and laid down to relax.
After he laid down we stuck around for awhile longer and then dispersed. But we realized we could see him even better from the picnic area since he laid in a path. We got closer to him, but he could really care less, he just laid there chewing his cud. I eventually decided he wasn’t going to move until it got to dark to see him, so I headed back out 14-A to try to catch some wildlife while there was still sunlight.
I didn’t have much luck while the sun was up, but did get some good landscape shots. As I was heading back it was getting dark, but then, two more moose! This time, a bull and a cow. I got some photos of these guys, but it was very dark outside and they are quite grainy and blurry. After taking the night photos of the two moose, I stopped at the Bear Lodge which is about 10 seconds from where I saw the moose and grabbed some supper and then headed back to the lodge.
So, so far on my trip I saw my first bison, followed by hundreds more. And I saw my first moose, two bulls and one cow. Hoping I can keep the streak alive when I head out to Yellowstone next week. Really want to see a grizzly.
Tomorrow evening is check-in for the Jamboree. I’m off to bed.