Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.
~Henry David Thoreau
This is a post about the final leg of our journey last fall on our truck camping adventure. From the deserts of Utah, we herded into familiar territory of Kebler Pass in the Colorado Rockies. We had camped there the year before in peak color of the aspens and it had been glorious. This year, we were just past peak and a wind storm two days before our arrival had stripped the trees of most of their leaves. But, the scenery is still magical and the wildlife put on quite a show.
We wanted to camp at the same site as before, with a view into a beaver dam filled creek surrounded by high mountain peaks. As we were driving to our site, we saw some folks gathered down by the stream and Melissa soon spotted a large dark shape in the tall willows. We pulled in and got the scoop from the others that a bull was following a cow as she was browsing in the dense vegetation.
She finally headed to the edge of the creek and broke out in the open in front of a beaver dam.
We waited, and, sure enough, he followed.
The next morning we drove back down to the site and found her again, out in the willows. She bedded down and we waited, but did not see the bull anywhere.
We waked around to the other side of the creek for better light and sat for quite awhile as she lay in the sun, but almost invisible to our eyes. She finally got up, and, then, nearby, so did the bull, who had been there the whole time but hidden from our view.
After crossing the creek, she began running in tight circles in the willows and snorting, and finally went into thicker vegetation and disappeared (maybe she had had enough of this young male?). The bull ended up crossing back across the creek and vanishing in the huge willow thicket upstream.
Having spent a couple of hours with these moose, we felt privileged and couldn’t imagine having that kind of luck again. But, when we found ourselves in a beautiful valley of the Taylor Park region, we picked a campsite along a meandering stream valley full of beaver dams with lots of moose and elk sign in the surrounding forest.
That afternoon, we went out looking for wildlife and Melissa soon saw something and whispered, “I see a moose, no, two moose, wait, three, no four moose!”. Indeed, there was a group of four moose feeding in a beaver pond downstream of our campsite – a cow, two young ones, and a bull. The late day light flooded the area and we spent a long time basking in the sight of these magnificent animals doing what they do, wading in a beaver pond, feeding on vegetation, and looking regal.
After the phenomenal moose encounter, we relaxed by a large beaver pond just upstream. Soon, we were rewarded with an eye level view of one of the inhabitants.
We decided to leave the beavers to their kingdom and retreated back to our chairs with a view of the incredible surroundings.
The next day, we headed out, bound for home, with three stops along the way at familiar types of campsites – a state fishing lake, a state conservation area, and the gorgeous Red River Gorge in Kentucky.
It’s always good to get back home after an adventure, but it definitely whet the appetite for more, especially in isolated-truck-camping-loving Melissa. So, stay tuned for more…