Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bullwinkle They're Not


My wife Wendy wanted to see them on our recently completed trip to Nova Scotia, having missed them in our previous trips to the northeast. Seeing deer here in Michigan is a big thrill for her and seeing the largest member of the deer family would make her vacation.

So I checked guidebooks and figured the best chance would be on Skyline trail in Cape Breton National Park, a five-mile round trip hike that's also billed as one of the most picturesque along the Atlantic seaboard. They said we were almost "guaranteed" to see at least one moose and maybe more mooses (meese?).

We hit the trail early, having tent-camped nearby along the coast. We were the second car at the trailhead parking lot. Ironically, in the 'it's a small world' department, the first hiker we came across on the trail said he was from Ann Arbor too.

Then we spotted our first moose, a bull moose, feeding in the woods nearby. I told Wendy they were like dinosaurs in the forest, so huge for their surroundings. Later down the trail we came across a family of moose, the bull moose sporting a monstrous rack of antlers.

He didn't appear to like my maneuvering to get a better picture (what I won't do to post a good picture on my blog for my blogging buddies). When he started shaking his head and waving his antlers I decided we should move on.

As the morning wore on, we encountered more people on the trail, lots more. There was one boisterous group of French-speaking women who hustled past us, more interested in their conversation than what lie in the woods and hills around us.

When we got to the end of the trail, at a series of overlooks over the Gulf of St. Lawrence, I didn't see the women anymore. I asked some bystander with a distinguished French accent if he'd seen a large contingent of women pass by.

"The ones that scared the moose with all their talking--pop pop pop pop pop?" He nodded dismissively towards one of the overlooks below. "Down there," he said.

Later, I saw on a sign how to interpret moose moods. Head and ears up? He's listening. Waving his antlers? He's getting agitated (I could have used this information BEFORE I started taking pictures). Head down, ears up? He's getting ready to attack. Wow. Thankfully I didn't see that.

The pictures above show a few of the moose we saw--we saw five on the trail, one on the highway. Note the big guy eyeing me warily. My sister-in-law thinks it's just a "get lost" look. Also the overlook that I spoke of as well as part of the park signage on moose.


Blogger Nankin said...

You were smart to leave when you did. I hear moose can be very unpredictable. Great pictures.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Carine said...

Love the pics! sounds like you're having a great trip Dave.

Just stay away from the baby ones who might be interested in suicide. Son had a horrible experience with one.

10:39 AM  
Blogger Lynilu said...

Love me some wildlife pictures!! Amazing creatures, aren't they? I saw one a few years ago, from a distance not worthy of a photo, but I was astounded at their size, compared to the cattle they were near! Wow!

10:57 AM  
Blogger TechnoBabe said...

I agree with your wife, I would want to see a moose or a few if possible. You got some pretty good photos!

5:04 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

NANKIN--The moose seem so unafraid. Deer flee first chance they get when we encounter them. The moose just keep on munching.

CARINE--Didn't see any baby moose, but I think I saw the September and October are the mating seasons.

LYNILU--We met one of your neighbors, well, someone else from New Mexico. She said she had seen a mama moose and her calves in downtown Fairbanks.

TECHNOBABE--There were bears in the area too, but I'm happy not to see them.

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couple of great photos of you in the woods. You could use them as new profile picks for facebook.

8:31 AM  
Blogger Isabelle said...

How lovely to be on holiday. Have a great time.

12:42 PM  
Blogger MSU gal said...

These photos are wonderful

5:38 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

What a beautiful spot Dave, great photos.

5:52 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

ANONYMOUS--Seriously thinking of using the picture of me on the beach there at Cape Breton.

ISABELLE--Unfortunately I'm back, and wondering where to go next.

MSU GAL--I'll probably post a few more this week, though the ones of the moose are my favorite.

PETER--I wanted to go to Cabot Trail because it is listed on the best-seller "1000 places to see before you die." I think I still have about 990 to go. Better live long.

7:40 AM  

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