Last night I looked out the window and saw snow falling heavily. “Weird,” was my first thought. That goes to show how few heavy snowfalls we have had this winter! We woke up to a 4” blanket of fresh snow. With another full weekend ahead and three days of very April-ish weather behind us, the timing couldn’t have been better. I hopped in the groomer at about 6:30 am and groomed the trails on the North side of Flour. As is usual, I stopped by the lodge to update everyone on the trail conditions before heading to the South side. Typically, I groom across Flour and Aspen on the North-South Link trail, then proceeding on to Ridge Run and the other trails on the south side that are our responsibility, before heading home on West End Logging Camp. Today, due to the visible slush on the lake, I decided I would groom everything backwards, hitting the lakes last so my bar wouldn’t get iced up until the very end. As such, I was also grooming Wolf Point backwards.
As I headed up what is usually the long downhill at the end, I noticed one of our lantern posts was knocked over. I didn’t really think anything of it, assuming that the base rotted out and with the recent snow melt, fallen over. As I approached the next lantern post, I noticed fresh moose tracks coming out of the woods and onto the trail. Moose have a tendency to knock over anything and everything, so now the fallen lantern post made perfect sense. I was whistling away to my classic country playlist as I rounded the corner back towards West End. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye in my drivers side window, I saw something large crashing towards me. I’m not sure how it registered so quickly to press the emergency stop button, a button I’ve never had to push before, or how I had my phone out and on camera so fast, all while simultaneously realizing that I had just come within a foot of hitting nothing other than a moose!
I have never even seen a moose while out grooming before, let alone had one run dangerously close to the oncoming groomer. I was able to snap a couple of pictures when it paused on the trail in front of me, before meandering off into the woods again. This appeared to be the same young moose we sighted last week in the campground. I’m always so thankful for every opportunity I get to see one of these clumsy and majestic creatures. I’m also very thankful for Emergency Stop buttons!