Grand Teton National Park is one of my favorite places. Jenny Lake and Cascade Canyon are favorites for hiking. While vistas from Inspiration Point and Signal Mountain consume the Jackson Valley, the wildlife is equally inspiring. The Snake River, best captured from Ansel Adams’ camera, carries float trips several miles to see bald eagles, fresh water pelicans, belted kingfishers, otter, and other flora and fauna.
The native animals are always of interest to me and on this trip I was eager to see moose. So my husband and I spent time at Oxbow Bend. Oxbow Bend is a visitors’ and a photographers’ Mecca at dusk. That’s when the moose come to feed on the willows and aquatic plants. Moose can close their nostrils and put their heads underwater for up to one minute and then pop back up with a mouthful of grass.
But no such luck. No moose sightings here. So we drove on a short distance to another well-known moose sighting area, Willow Flats. We patiently waited for a sign, a rustle in the willows, any movement that indicated our moose was coming in view. Fifteen minutes passed. Nothing. That’s when we started to wonder if the moose were playing games with us. Surely, the moose are taunting us. It seemed that they were hiding well within the tall bush and cottonwood trees so we couldn’t see them.
“Well,” I said, “let’s go back to Oxbow Bend and give it another try.” En route to Oxbow Bend, we saw a car pulled over on the side of the road. As we got closer we saw the passengers of the car out at the edge of the woods peering through binoculars. We slowed down and looked. There she was in the distance. A cow moose munching away.
I don’t know how long we stood at the edge of the road watching her. It didn’t matter. Even though I had my camera ready to take a picture. It was several minutes before I did. We were mesmerized. There was no game playing here. We had just witnessed a mere moment in this moose’s day.
For more information on Grand Teton National Park, visit: http://www.nps.gov/grte/index.htm