I saw a moose for the first time in my life last year, and it was a wild moose about 5 feet away. I was excited, but I had to consider that there was a level danger. So, I kept my distance. Fortunately for me and the group of onlookers, the moose was more concerned with eating than he was about us.
I visited Denver, Colorado with my family in October 2018, with the intention of visiting Rocky Mountain National Park. My son and I made the hour drive to Estes Park, closing the distance between us and the Rocky Mountains that we would see from the city. As expected, the closer we got to the mountains, the more beauty we experienced. It had just snowed a few days prior. So, ground was covered, and the air was crisp. Oddly enough, back home in Maryland we were having some unseasonable weather. It was 70 degrees – in October!
I was in total awe of the expanse and majesty of the park. We stopped at the first turnout, because we had an excellent view of the mountains and the valley. It was incredible, like nothing I had ever seen before. In addition, I was thrilled that I was able to share this with my son. We took some pictures, before heading to another part of the park.
We didn’t have a plan as to where we wanted to go. I just knew I wanted to photograph whatever wildlife we were fortunate enough to see.
Our visit started out at Bear Lake, which looked like a scene from a movie or a postcard. This was a definite photo opportunity. As we started our trek around the lake, it started snowing. My son was happy, because he likes snow. After we completed the loop, we checked the map for our next trail. Subsequently, we decided on the Alberta Falls Trail. Why? Well, I love waterfalls.
The trail to the fall was snowy, on the ground and falling from the sky through the trees. During the hike, I realized the effect of the thin air at high altitudes. As a result, I found myself a getting winded. It was a short hike, but it felt pretty long.
As we reached Alberta Falls, we saw that there were a few people already there taking pictures and just enjoying the scenery. So, I set up my tripod to join them. While we were at the fall, a man arrived and informed us that there was a moose on the trail. My attention was now diverted. After all, I came there to shoot wildlife, waterfalls I considered a bonus on this trip.
Excited about possibly seeing a moose, I packed my camera and tripod and hurried down the trail. After a short walk back, we rounded a corner to see a few people staring off the trail – a signal that there is something to see. As we approached, one of the men pointed and quietly said, “he’s over there”. There was the moose in the trees on the side of the trail eating. So, I scrambled to find a location at a safe distance to get some shots.
I fired off some shots, before the moose decided that he wanted to walk on the trail. Therefore, we had to get off the trail. We chose to stand on a large snow covered bolder. It was the perfect vantage point to watch the moose walk right by us.
To sum up my trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I have photographs that I took, but the memory of how I felt seeing the moose couldn’t be captured.