Please End The Moose Drought!

Going into the end of Week #2 in Alaska and I can hardly believe that we STILL haven’t seen a moose!  This has never happened before … usually by now we’ve seen moose in and around Anchorage, cruising around the town of Homer, all along the Kenai Peninsula landscape, or at least on the Parks Highway on our way to Denali NP & Preserve.  So, when we arrived at the entrance of Denali, I told Tom that he had better find me a moose and fast!  LOL.  But first, of course, we were treated to some wonderful early autumn colors blanketing the landscape.

Autumn-kissed landscape of Denali

Autumn-kissed landscape of Denali

The drainage areas where the moose tend to be spotted easily

The drainage areas where the moose tend to be spotted easily

As we cruised the first 15 miles (aka “Troll Road”) of the park road, our eyes scanned through the trees, off in the distance, near the ponds, and in the drainage ditches.  Not to sound like a brat or anything, but I was getting discouraged quickly.  Where did all of the Alaskan moose go?  Finally, Tom told me to get my gear ready as he turned away our 28′ RV (not an easy task).  Sure enough, there was a cow and her young one in the drainage area.

_DSC6428

The drought was over!  We had a “two-fer”!  After some time, your eyes begin to adjust to spotting the moose … watching for movement through the brush and trees … looking for the “shine” of the bulls shiny antlers … and yes, looking for the “moose jams” along the roadside.  Maybe that’s cheating a bit, but locating the moose in the weeks before, as well as during, the rut season is big business.  We came across a young bull and his intended cow, though no one had yet informed him that he really had no chance with this lady.  LOL.

_DSC6606

_DSC6627

After some time, as dusk was approaching, the moose seemed to be out congregating just about everywhere!  By the time we finally called it a day and headed in for dinner, we had spotted I believe about 20 moose!  If you don’t believe me, you can ask our friends Darlene & Mike Bushue or Rebecca Tifft, who were also out trolling with us.  Now that’s what I call making up for lost time!

Sorting it all out

Sorting it all out

The next morning we set out to find more wildlife and wonderful landscapes within the parks interior.

Glorious light shining through the misty atmosphere

Glorious light shining through the misty atmosphere

We came across several bull moose almost immediately.

_DSC7707

When we entered the Primrose area of the park, we came across some caribou grazing on the trees, leaves, and tundra.  They simply amaze me with their antlers … so huge and sort of imposing … and I imagine how hard it must be for them to maneuver in the landscape.  They sure are beautiful in the fall.

_DSC6908

_DSC6915

One of my favorite areas of the park has to be the Igloo Canyon area, but this year, we saw nothing much.  Views along the way continued to be awe-inspiring!

Glorious light shining through the misty atmosphere

Glorious light shining through the misty atmosphere

_DSC1185

As we approached Toklat River, we were treated to some “close” dall sheep.  I say close because usually they’re either “microdots” or “rice with sticks” or right on the road.  These were simply hanging out on the mountainside – not too far, but not that close either.  Dall sheep and their protection is how Denali NP got its start, so it’s always great to see them!

Dall sheep rams

Dall sheep rams

Grizzly bear sightings were pretty good this year as well, though most were further from the road than normal.  Not sure why.  Most times they were grazing on the berries, which this year were in a boom crop … the bears should be happy with that.

_DSC7289

_DSC7353

At the end of the day, we always continued with our “moose trolling” and our luck continued.  Sometimes it would be just one moose …

_DSC8544

_DSC7367

… sometimes two moose; sometimes bulls; sometimes cows.

_DSC7570

A few of them were still shedding their velvet in preparation for the rut season, when the larger bull moose fight for the honor to mate with the females in the area.  Those poor younger males never stand a chance.  At this point, we were still a bit early for the rut, but we found it really interesting to watch them following around the females.  Soon it will be a frenzy of hormonal surges with these guys!

Notice the velvet still hanging on his right paddle

Notice the velvet still hanging on his right paddle

We spent about 10 or so days in total at Denali this year, so I will have several posts on our Denali adventures.  Stay tuned for more!

What an amazing creature!  GORGEOUS!

What an amazing creature! GORGEOUS!

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Please End The Moose Drought!

  1. Great pictures and commentary ! Brought back fun memories of hanging out with you guys and seeing more moose than I’ve ever in seen in one evening in 13 summers 🙂 Still in disbelief !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s