Moose and frost

Moose and frost

We have not seen the sun down here in the Anchorage Bowl for over a week.  It’s not that the sun has not been shining.  It has simply being doing so above a fog bank that, at times, has severely limited visibility.  And with the temperatures lingering in the mid-teens, the fog and cold have sculpted millions of tiny ice crystals in the form of hoar frost on trees, bushes, and lingering plants. 

This wintery wonderland was the setting for a beautiful afternoon of Nordic skiing in the woodlands near the Campbell Science Center.  Michelle and I loaded up our classic skis and drove over to the parking lot near the gated entrances to the Campbell Science Center and nearby BLM complex.  Staying purely on the multi-use trails, which were a little slick from lots of use, we did a wide loop around the area.  It was so refreshing to be out in the frosty woods, burning the muscles while sucking in cool, crisp air, listening only to the silence of the woods and our movement through them. 

As we skiied to the west on the trail that runs along the Campbell Airstrip, we came upon a cow moose and her spring calf.  They were working their way along our trail, coming slowly in our direction.  We moved off to the right to get out of their way and gain a better vantage point for photographing them.  A couple of hikers came along on the trail and were not quite as cautious as we were in giving the moose a wide berth.  The two moose eventually moved far enough along for us to bypass them on a side trail and get back on course. 

The encounter confirmed two things for me.  One, it confirmed that Michelle is definitately “The Moose Whisperer” as I often call her.  She frequently calls me throughout the week saying, “I just saw a moose” or “There’s a big bull moose right outside our office.”  Of course, I am not always in the position to chase down the moose she is calling about, and she knows it; it’s part of her fun in calling. 

It also confirmed that I am lucky to live in one of the best larger cities in the United States.  Anchorage has so many wild places, so much habitat, where such animals can still live out their existences despite the city’s tendency to keep growing.  I can only hope that as the city continues to grow, that the city can continue to resist the urge to dispose of its wild places in the name of development. 

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