A bonus pic for #MooseMonday showing one of the handsome fellows I spent this weekend with in his home domain. At 10,300 feet, this spot is just below timberline and affords some amazing views of the wildlife and those dominating Rocky Mountains. There was a hint of smoke in the atmosphere on this morning aiding in casting everything in a golden glow.
Another weekend spent camping in the Colorado high country is in the books. Once again, moose were the primary focus of my lenses. Each evening and morning was spent watching the big boys as they lazily grazed just below timberline.
For the time being, they are playing nice and getting along but very soon that will change. Within a week or so, the velvet on their antlers will start to come off and soon after that, the testosterone will rage and the rut will be on.
This good-looking guy was initially intent on staying in the shadows making it difficult to get a nice shot of him. Finally, as the sun rose above the horizon, he decided it was time to move on to the cooler environs of the forest and stepped out into the light.
This guy wasn’t too concerned about me but he didn’t care too much for another, nearby bull. As that other bull ascended the hill, this guy was keen on keeping an eye on his potential competitor.
Taken soon after sunrise a few weeks ago, not only do you get a good look at the handsome fellow, you can again see the damage caused by the East Troublesome Fire last October.
What was once a stand of pine is bare above ground level. Beneath though, the fireweed is taking advantage of the sunlight and the moose really seem to enjoy eating it as an alternative to their preferred willows.
Following a full day of rain, the next morning brought fog to many of the valleys in this area of Arapaho National Forest. As I ventured out and navigated the dirt roads, I alternated from clear conditions to visibility down to less than a few hundred feet.
With the fog so thick in the places I had been seeing moose, I didn’t figure I would have much luck spotting them. As I drove back toward camp through a clear area, I saw I was about to enter the fog again and said, “Sure would love to see a nice bull up there on the hill.”
No joke, 10 seconds later I turn a corner and there one is, silhouetted nearly perfectly, tall and proud. Serendipity! With the fog there was virtually no color or detail to the scene so I converted this image to black and white to add some drama and focus on the form of the big bull.
Check out this dude – and notice the drop tine on the right antler. Kind of unusual and in such a nice setting.
Sadly, the surrounding scene around him wasn’t quite as pretty as this was taken within the burn area of the East Troublesome Fire. That blaze last October devastated 193,000 acres of forest and at its worst, threatened Estes Park.
We just returned from six days in one of our favorite spots in Arapaho National Forest, one we knew was well within the burn perimeter. It was very sobering, somewhat sad, but as you can see, recovery has already begun. The wildlife was as abundant as ever and the wildflowers, in this image, fireweed, covered the forest floor more than we have ever seen.
I have tons of pics to share in the coming days but this was by far my favorite. This handsome gentleman and four other bulls were regular visitors within a quarter mile of our campsite and, naturally, got their picture taken a lot. 😉
Who hasn’t wanted to just stick their head in the sand (or the water in this case) at the start of a workweek?
While it could be this pretty moose cow had enough and just wanted to hide, in reality she was just dunking her head to grab water plants off the bottom of the pond.
Moose can hold their breath for over 30 seconds, allowing them plenty of time to find the juiciest greens.
Taken in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Have a fantastic #MooseMonday.
Oh man, I really wanted a good look at this guy. Check out those massive paddles on his antlers and if you look close, he has a drop tine on the left one.
Unfortunately, he did not want to pose on this morning last week. After grazing in the near dark, once the sun came up, he was off and running, disappearing into the trees on the far side of the river.
Nevertheless, I kind of liked the scene he was in with what almost look like “layers” of various foliage from the riverfront willows to the grasses and then the aspens in the background.
It has been a while since I have done a Moose Monday so here is a two for one deal. 😉
Taken last August, these were two of four bulls all grazing in the same area. The rut was more than a month away at that point so everyone was friendly and nice to each other.
Every year I spend a five day stretch in this area of Arapaho National Forest enjoying the great outdoors, camping and of course seeking out the moose every morning. Sadly, about two months after this picture was taken, the East Troublesome Fire began raging.
It would take six weeks to contain the fire and not until it had scorched 193,812 acres. This area, one of my favorite in all of Colorado, was within the fire boundaries. I don’t know what I will find when I return but I do suspect it will look far different.
Well, this wasn’t Gandalf but I wasn’t going to push my luck and try to go around. 😉 One for #MooseMonday, taken in early August of last year and a shot I haven’t shared before.
My daughter and I had ventured out from camp in Arapaho National Forest and were having a fantastic morning viewing moose. We had been focused on a different bull when it suddenly stopped grazing, picked up its head and cast its eyes toward a nearby stand of trees.
We didn’t see anything initially but soon, this big boy emerged. He stopped at the edge of the road and cast a serious glance at the other bull.
I had hoped there might be some sparring on tap but both bulls never took it any further than giving each other dirty looks. Haha. That morning I think we ended up with a tally of 11 moose total – probably our most plentiful count for a single morning.
A handsome fellow enjoying breakfast in the Colorado high country. Taken back in August when three of these big boys were lazily grazing in Arapaho National Forest.
As you can see, the willows in this area are quite tall and as such can make it a challenge to spot the moose, even if the bulls are nearly 7 feet tall. Of course when they have a massive rack like this guy, it does make it a bit easier.
You’ll notice the moose’s bottom teeth in this image. Did you know moose have no upper incisors (front teeth)? Instead, they have a dental pad of sorts on the top front. They do, however, have molars in the back, something that is definitely needed to grind down the plants they eat.