Monday, October 19, 2009

Moose Scouting

Sunday 10/18/09

Some friends from work, and some not from work, drew tags for a moose hunt close to town and decided to take advantage of the nice weekend to get the lay of the land. Even though I'm slow and out of shape they invited me along. After a lot of back and forth in my head I decided to go with them. I'm glad I did.

There are no easy ways into this area. You have climb across a pass unless you want to fight miles of Alders from the bottom of the bottom of the valley. My friends picked the shortest way in that involved 1100 feet of vertical in 1.1 miles (if I remember correctly)

Above is everyone glassing for moose in the valley below. We didn't get a super early start, but it was still very crisp in the shade. We worked our way around until we found a nice spot to sit in the sun and spy on our prey.

After the top of the pass the trail follows a drainage down to the valley floor making it impossible to see much of the valley floor. We decided cut across the side of the mountain to keep our elevation the same but make it to a spot where we could see well. This part reminded me of monkeying around on the bluffs of Mackinac Island on Free day. I think the bluffs are a little steeper than this picture though.

Looking back towards town enjoying the day.

We also saw an ultralight and a Blackhawk Helicopter poking around the valley. The Blackhawk could have very well been doing training, but I think they were also looking for moose. I wonder if I could file a FOIA request to discover how many moose they saw.

It was a great way to start the day. I slipped going down on our way back, didn't hurt anything except my pride. As soon as I picked myself up a guy following us down the hill Bounded past me going about 15 feet for each leap.

Hopefully these guys get their moose on Sunday.

Please take a look at the rest of the pictures here.
My Smug Mug :D

Sunday, October 11, 2009

PowerLine Trail 10/11/09

PowerLine Trail

I'm going to warn you at the top here that I'm tired and there are probably many run-on sentences, misspellings, and incoherent thoughts written below. It was a really good afternoon though!

All of the pictures in their original size may be found here My Smug Mug :D
Take the chance to zoom in if you can and get a closer, yet possibly blurry, view of these magnificent creatures.

Since I knew I wasn't going to have to work this weekend I had decided to go for a hike on the nicer of the two days. Saturday I was lazy and it rained so this afternoon I got my stuff together and headed up to the Glenn Alps parking lot to hike the PowerLine Trail. Glenn Alps is the same trail head to Flat Top, the subject of my last post.

I chose PowerLine because its relatively flat and because I about killed myself on Flat Top being so out of shape. As I got to the main trail I looked up the valley and remembered why I like mountains so much. They are big and when I get close enough and look up I get a little dizzy, like looking up at sky scrapers in big cities. These valleys go what seems like forever and are just so big compared to anything most people encounter in everyday life.

About a half hour in I met a couple from work. They told me about a huge moose up in a bowl farther down the trail. A guy on a bicycle who had also stopped decided he was going to go see how close he could get and headed off. When I got to the trail leading to the moose I thought "Why should that guy hog the moose, I should go up there too!" So I did.

As I crested the last rise I saw there was not one but two nice bulls bedded down across a small stream. Decideing to circle around the back of them and spy on them from the knobs above walked past and crossed the stream where I met a photographer who told me he had taken 400 pictures of the pair. We parted ways and I headed up where I got a few pictures and just relaxed on the tundra leaning against a rock.

It didn't take long for me to notice a cow moose heading towards the two bulls. I stayed very still to make sure I didn't interupt anything that might happen. The moose are in the rut right now and with two bulls I figured they might actually fight a little. No fighting but I did get to see how much of a tease cow moose are. The big one really had to work at it and in the end they went into the bushes. I hope the big guy got lucky.

On the way out I saw the photographer again. He was snapping pictures of the big moose who had crossed the river and was very close to the trail. I greeted him and we stood there for a while taking pictures and watching. The moose crossed the stream with his ears back, raking the bushes with his antlers. Again we thought that this was it, Moose battle at 100 feet!

It took a while but they eventually clashed antlers and the smaller of the two decided the big one could be boss until next time.

I decided to take off as it was getting dark and the photographer followed soon after. We walked back to the parking lot together talking about Alaska, business ideas, etc... He had some really good "Alaska" stories and is planning to write a book. We saw about 15 moose in the valley on our way out. Too bad moose season is over and you can't hunt them up there.

On one of the power poles an owl Who'd at us and screeched while it ruffled its feathers. We probably were messing up his hunting, oh well.

Overall it was a great afternoon. I felt very comfortable hanging out on the rocks and can't wait to do it again.