Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Many Glacier’s Magnificent Moose

©Bert Gildart: “They’re coming after me,” hollered Janie, referring to two calf moose now trotting up a game trail adjacent to Fisher Cap Lake in Glacier National Park’s Many Glacier Valley.


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Mountains, rivers and ponds of the Many Glacier Valley provide haven for wildlife.


That was last week, so obviously Janie survived, but not without a few moments of consternation.  But at this time of the year you always expect something — the reason why we generally always find ourselves towing our our Airstream travel trailer to the park’s east side in October. There’s a sense of adventure and beauty is everywhere. Typically, snow caps the mountains engulfing the valley and this year was no different. And, as usual we rediscovered what a wildlife haven this area can be.

During our three-day stay we encountered a grizzly bear, saw sheep and goats – and were now seeing a family of moose, albeit much, much too close. That was not something we had hoped for, for mother moose can be very protective of their young. That thought kept Janie on edge, and she later told me she expected the old cow to charge out of the bush. Meanwhile, it looked like these two young calves — probably weighing about 250 each — wanted to adopt her.

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One of the two calf moose that preferred Janie's company more than that of its mother.

Earlier in the day, we’d made the mile hike from the campground to Fisher Cap, and immediately had seen a family of moose on the lake’s far side.

Our companions included three Idaho-based photographers, and we were all anxious to capitalize on the opportunity.

AND THE FAMILY MOVED CLOSER – AND THEN CLOSER

All of us had long lenses, but nevertheless wanted to be a little closer so we hiked a small trail that took us to the upper end of the lake. The family saw us, but continued moving in our direction, so we settled in and waited.

Over the next half hour the family moved closer and then closer, feeding as they approached. Back dropping us was Grinnell Point, a huge monolith covered with a fresh dusting of snow, and the incredibly sky, which was a dark blue but blocked up here and there by threatening clouds of snow.

Oblivious to our presence, the three moose continued feeding (Also see Moose feeding techniques), inserting their heads through a layer of mush ice and into the water, where they’d feed off the bottom of the lake. When they lifted their heads, often they’d hold huge chunks of vegetation in their mouths. Heads were wet, and streams of water cascaded down their long noses in parallel rivulets. Sometimes slivers of ice clung to their ears.

PERHAPS WE SHOULD MOVE

We continued with our photography of the family’s feeding routine, until the cow, quite inexplicably, decided she wanted to move further along the lake’s shore toward us — but wanted to use our trail. Prudently, we elected to move, and soon joined Janie who was waiting along the shoreline, but further down the lake.

Though there were now five of us, the cow moose continued to advance. We moved up the hill and quickly the cow trotted by, but not so the two young calves, who for some reason proceeded directly toward Janie… their new mother?

None of us could figure out why the calves felt such an attraction for Janie, but Todd, who was closest, jumped in front of the pair and waved his arms. That sent them back toward the lake shore and as they went, we could hear them calling for their biological mother.


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For the most part, this family of moose at Fisher Cap Lake grazed on, oblivious to our presence.



Fifteen minutes later we returned to the shore of Fisher Cap and saw that the group had reunited. Though the family was still close, we put our cameras up and sat there and simply watched, concluding that simply watching can sometimes be quite rewarding, particularly in a place as beautiful as Glacier’s Many Glacier Valley — and where affections seem misdirected.


________________


THIS TIME TWO YEARS AGO:

*Reflections –  West Point

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2 Responses to “Many Glacier’s Magnificent Moose”

  1. Rich Charpentier Says:

    Bert,

    While living in NH my favorite subject was moose. I too came across a cow with two calves one year. One was very energetic, and almost seemed to pose. The other hid behind a small evergreen, knowing that it was safe behind the tree. The cow totally ignored us and continued eating grass. Great opportunity, and some great images.

    Having two calves decide to follow you would be very unnerving! Glad you’re all okay!

  2. Is Glacier as Beautiful As It Was 4-years Ago? Who Knows | Bert Gildart: Writer and Photographer Says:

    [...] four short days Janie and I amassed a series of photographs that included bears, moose, several species of birds and absolutely stunning scenics that took in fall color and a [...]

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