At 11am today, we leave Hot Sulphur Springs and wind our way north to Steamboat Springs up route 49. Our timeshare is at Hillside, but we can’t check in until 4pm.
From the Springs, we had about 70 miles of road, and I intended to take every possible opportunity to shoot wildflowers along the way. It was 80F, hot and sunny out as we left the Grill in Hot Sulphur Springs about noontime. There was a canyon with magnificent granite cliffs surrounding us and I found some blue or purple Lupine to shoot. A river snaked along parallel to our two-laned asphalt road.
About half an hour later, outside of Kremmling, I had to go to the bathroom. So we found a dirt road that over looked the river and pulled off. I was busy finding my ever-present Kleenex tissue in my shirt pocket as I squatted down below the hill facing the river, and Dave was downwind of me with the Nikon, looking for something to photograph. Just as I pulled my pants down and was slowly skidding down on the sand between two thick sagebrush, I saw a huge brown object down at the river, about 300 feet below me. I frowned, pulled down my pants, and squatted. I wanted to make sure no one from the road could see my white behind. I focused my attention back on the huge, brown, four-legged animal that was leaving a meadow of willows for the river.
My mouth dropped open. OH, my gawd! It was a MOOSE! And my hiking boots, with their thick tread, were stopping me from literally sliding down the steep slope of sand I was squatting on. Holy cow! It was a female moose!! She was HUGE! All legs and a brown bulk of 2,000 pounds of flesh combined with muscle. She moved gingerly into the river. I turned, trying to keep my balance and not pitch over or start sliding down off the vertical clime.
"Dave!" I whispered. "DAVE! Come HERE! NOW!" I was trying to whisper quietly because it was a wild animal, and if it heard me screeching, the moose would have run off. As it was, Dave turned toward me, camera in hand, and the moose lifted her muzzle and looked directly up at me, squatting on the opposite sandy vertical slope with a wad of Kleenex in my hand.
Dave started talking as he worked his way through the sagebrush toward me.
"Be QUIET!" I hissed. I didn’t want to scare the moose, but I sure as hell wanted a good, clean shot of her down at the river. My Nikon D70 could give me a photo of a lifetime.
Dave was frowning as he slid down the clime toward me.
"Why do you want the camera NOW?" he asked, puzzled
"There’s a MOOSE down there!" I hissed, grabbing the camera from him.
At that moment, my hiking boots lost their grip. I began to slide south, down toward the river.
I grabbed at a passing sagebrush with my one, free hand. The Kleenex tore out of it. My slide slowed.
I grabbed another sage. I couldn’t stand up, or the people on the highway driving by would see my big, white butt. I had to stay hunkered down in a squatting position, camera in one hand, sagebrush in the other.
Finally, my slide stopped.
At that point, Dave SAW the moose.
"Look, Eileen! Look!"
"SHHHHH!!!!" I hissed at him.
Quickly, with my tread biting into the slippery sand, my slide south momentarily halted, I got my Nikon D70 into the action. I whipped off the lens cap, turned it on, and took five photos of the moose as she walked upstream from us.
Dave slid down the hill to get the camera so I could give the sagebrush some water. He went gallumphing across the top of the hill, trying to spy the moose down below as she wound between the stately cottonwood trees that lined both sides of the river.
After doing my business and managing to take a sideswipe at the sagebrush who had stolen my Kleenex, I finally was able to crouch and pull up my pants and then straighten up and button them.
Dave didn’t get any more shots of the moose. But I had. What a lucky find!!
So our day started off with Moose medicine. I considered that a good sign!