March is becoming one of my favorite months of the year. The skiing is always FAST, the days are typically warm, and every day gets noticeably longer. This is the time of year when evening “lake walks” become a thing, because the snow melts and re-freezes to the point you can walk wherever you want on it without crunching through, and the sun is still up when we lock the door to the lodge. Of late, our managers, Roxy and Sarah, and myself, have been going out almost every night to tire the neighborhood pups by playing fetch with them on the lake while we walk. Usually, we walk along the edge of the skijoring trail to the Flour Lake Campground, where we turn around and head home.
Tonight was a particularly lovely evening, and we decided we would walk around the campground loop on the multi-use trail to get in a few more steps for the day. I’m always hesitant about having the dogs off-leash in the woods in the winter because of the wolves. But tonight, Roxy and Sarah convinced me that our chatter would be enough to scare them off long before we arrived. So, around the loop we went, chatting, enjoying each other’s company, and playing with the handsome hounds. Suddenly, as we passed site 22, we heard a crashing and snorting just ahead. I started, turning my attention from flying squirrel fetch toy Whiskey was flinging around, to the direction of the commotion. “MOOSE!” I exclaimed, as I lunged for Whiskey’s collar and the moose loped down the trail and into a campsite.
Dogs under control. Moose standing between us and home, caring very little about our presence. “Great,” I thought. Then, “Oh! I should try to get a picture for my blog!” So, I cautiously ventured forward, camera ready, to see if it was safe for us to continue. “I don’t see it. I think it’s gone!” I shouted back to Roxy and Sarah. My shout startled it, and it bolted out of Site 37, onto the trail, and then back into the woods. I managed to snap a quick picture as it ran by, far too close for comfort. It then planted itself just inside the tree line and stared at me. “Shoe! Go AWAY!” It took quite a bit of noisy persuasion for me to convince it to buzz off and allow us safe passage.
We got back to the lake just as the sun got ready to dip below the horizon. As we arrived back at the resort, it was starting to get dark. The lanterns on the lit trail glowed softly in the gathering dusk, and the dogs dragged behind, blissfully happy in their utter exhaustion. I couldn’t get home fast enough to tell Zach what he missed out on. Of course, he was all about the facts: “Bull or cow? How big? How old?” Not sure. Small. Probably a yearling. But a moose is a moose, no matter how small!