Moose, Mosquitoes and Bear Grass: Three Days in the Pintlers

Whoa…what’s that?”

Margaret stops dead, pointing into the trees.    I don’t stop in time and smack into her backpack.  I look where she’s pointing in the woods off to the right of us but don’t see anything.

“What?  I don’t…”     I’m scanning the hillside above us.

“Right there.  A moose!”

I’d been looking way too far.  A bull moose is looking back at us, not even 50 feet away.

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Wow.  And yikes.  Anyone who spends any time in the woods knows that moose can be scary: a crabby moose is not to be messed with.     But this guy was mellow.  He looked us over, took a few steps, checked us out again, and then calmly went on his way.

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We were almost to our destination:  Johnson Lake in the Pintler Wilderness.  From the trailhead it had been a five mile steady climb, with increasingly incredible stands of bear grass.  Bear grass is pretty much a northwest  alpine phenomenon; you can find it somewhere every year, but every 5 years or so the blooms can be especially spectacular, and this has been one of those years.    It looks like a sea of fluffy Q-tips.

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Even our campsite was in the middle of the bear grass:

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As we sat waiting for the sunset that evening, our friendly moose appeared on the opposite side of the lake.  He browsed around the lake, heading toward a couple who were fishing.   They didn’t see him right away, but when they did, I was pretty surprised that they didn’t back off.  The moose and hikers checked each other out,

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and the moose decided that his best option was to swim around these blokes who were insisting on standing their ground.  Lucky for them he was one mild-mannered moose!

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He parked himself in the lake, probably only 25 feet from these folks, and spent the next hour feeding and entertaining us all.  What a story those guys had to tell their friends that night!

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As for me, I was happy to watch from my safe distance.  When the couple left the moose stayed a bit longer, but then something spooked him and he hightailed it into the woods.  He could move when he wanted too, that’s for sure!

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About westerner54

Hello. I'm Cindy, and I love to hike, bike and explore the outdoors - particularly the western U.S.
This entry was posted in Adventure, Backpacking, Hiking, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Moose, Mosquitoes and Bear Grass: Three Days in the Pintlers

  1. Shea Oliver says:

    Wow! Great pictures!!! That’s awesome. I spent an hour and a half with a moose a couple of weeks ago in Rocky Mountain National Park. They really are interesting creatures, but it is best to stay on their good side.

  2. What crazy, misshapen-looking animals they are. That head!

  3. Janet says:

    Love that bear grass!

  4. What a stunning set of images….it looks like an incredibly beautiful place. Love the bear grass, it makes gorgeous images…..and what a treat watching the playful moose!

  5. Wow! and Wow!!! What a fantastic story! Ya’ll are so lucky!!!

  6. Great shots of the moose and those crazy people. I don’t believe I would have just stood there!

  7. Mandy says:

    What a great hike – wish I was with you.

  8. Jet Eliot says:

    Oh did I ever enjoy this hike! The bear grass is spectacular and the moose story is incredible! I think you were savvy to keep a safe distance, that couple on the water’s edge didn’t seem too smart, but they were lucky. Thank you for the fantastic photos and a great story! 🙂

  9. Nancy says:

    How lucky you were to be so close to a MOOSE!! but those others were not smart! Beautiful photos. I saw a Moose once but from afar… really far. HA HA HA

  10. What an outstanding series of moose images. You seem to have a healthy respect for moose and I have to wonder about those other hikers.

    Thanks for this journey into the wild. Once again, you are showing me places and things I have never seen.

  11. What a spectacular show all day long! Moose antics (and none of the scary kind), and the most showy display of beargrass I’ve seen in eons! Bonus points, for sure. 😀
    xo

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