The semester is over! You can bet your bottom dollar as soon as I got out of class I took off to the mountains! I took the dirt roads on the hill south of Rexburg through the farm fields then down the cliffs and over to Cress Creek. From there I made my way to the highway east towards Swan Valley, exited on the dirt road to Fall Creek Falls and followed that until I reached the dam at the Palisade Reservoir. This route is one of my favorites especially at sunset! The burnt orange and vibrant yellow hues cast across the rolling hills and distant peaks is heavenly; soothing to the soul.
To my complete surprise, the wildlife was abundant today! After seeing well over 3 dozen deer I slowed and scanned the river channels and treetops looking for movement and off-color objects. Bald Eagles, Osprey, Vultures, Sandhill Cranes, Turkeys, Geese, and Ducks appeared at every turn. Even the rodents like Marmot and Ground Squirrel made their debut on roadsides and hillsides. But the highlight of my drive, as always, were the moose!! 3 today. Most notably, a mom and her baby only 200 yards east of the trailhead at Cress Creek! As I drove along the river I noticed two figures through the thick brush. Slamming on my brakes I pulled off to the side of the road so I could get out and take a closer look. Gratefully the pair were opposite of me across a canal giving me plenty of breathing room to approach. I crossed the canal on a makeshift bridge but still gave myself about 20 yards of space between me and them for safety. Keep in mind this was a mother with a baby, one of the most dangerous forms of encounters with moose. She acknowledged my presence but continued feeding, allowing me to kneel down and watch for a good 10 minutes. The peace surrounding these animals was tangible. A soft breeze ruffled their matted fur. Sunlight poured through the trees, lighting the brush and moose alike. I wish I could have basked in the scene for hours!
The shots I got today of these two moose are among the best big game photos I have ever taken! It was so hard choosing the best ones to share with you today. The entire drive was incredibly rewarding and just what I needed at the end of a very difficult and long semester. Take the time to get outside, it is so healing and so enlightening!