The Bull Moose

My fascination with moose started after a train excursion to British Columbia. The passengers on the train were encouraged to call out “moose on the right” or “bear on the left” when wildlife was spotted.  It built camaraderie among the passengers, and led to some good-natured competition: who could spot the most animals.   Well, it wasn’t me!  I never seemed to see the animals that were “called out.”  I was either on the wrong side of the train or the animals had moved out of view already.

I wanted to see a bull moose!  Like forbidden fruit, the fact that seeing one seemed to be out of reach made my goal all the more desirable.  And so I looked forward to our camping trip last year. We spent a week on the “backside” of the Teton National Forest-an area of great hiking and abundant wildlife. We hiked daily, saw tremendous forests, majestic mountains and rippling streams. And no moose.

There was a “close call.”  DS and Amy were driving down to join us for a few days, but they had left Reno late, and so arrived on the desolate back road leading to the campground late at night.  As they searched through the moonless night  for the poorly marked site, a large animal crossed the road directly in front of their small car.  Steve at first thought it a bear, and said, “I didn’t know bear were that tall!”  He realized after the fact that it was a bull moose.

The last day of our campout came, and though the vacation was restful and we had seen great sights….I still longed for my moose– but resigned myself to the fact that it would have to wait for some other trip….

In the evening of the last day, I stood at the campstove, warming water for our MRE’s.  The two dogs were on their tethers—a campground rule—lying near the warm fire.  Off to my left I heard campers start to yell…the dogs leaped to their feet as one, and nearly ripped the tether stake from the ground as they spotted him: a bull moose about 50 yards from the picnic table at which I stood.  He strolled through the middle of the crowded campground, tugging at some leaves as he did, oblivious to the furor that his appearance roused. He wandered down the middle of the grassy common area, then disappeared into the woods at the far end of the camp.

Psalm 145: 15-17:  The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all his ways  and loving toward all he has made.

I went home, literally a “happy camper,” having had my fondest desire met.  In my kitchen there is a souvenir of my trip:  a gold leaf moose nightlight.