Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nature isn't always pretty...or is it?

For so many of us, getting out and enjoying nature is a must. If I don't get up in the mountains, even just to admire God's handy work, at least once a week, I start to get the blues. I love nature. I feel like I get to know my God when I'm out in the wilderness. I love to see the wild flowers blooming from late Spring and into Summer. I love the smell; there's no comparison between the smell of mountain air and the smell of the Wasatch Front inversions we have to breath each Winter. The skies in the mountains are clearer. Getting out of "it all" for even just a few hours is so freeing. I mean, you can scream in the trees and no one will hear you. You can talk to yourself. You can talk with God. You can really get inside yourself. At least, that's been my experience.
And it's officially Springtime now. It's time to get out and enjoy it all. I love the first few trips into the mountains every year; after the Winter and trying to stay warm and dry indoors, the outdoors seem brand new to me. Sort of makes me feel like a kid. (A lot of things make me fee like a kid though, not the least of which is my own immaturity. Haha.)
Anyway, I've been going up to one of the places I love this time of year and watching this moose I found a month or so ago. He's been in this general area for at least that long, which isn't exactly typical. The reason: he has an injury on his back right leg. Every weekend I go back to see him, and every weekend he's managed to move a little farther up the river. But he's always where I can find him. And still, he refuses to let that back right leg touch the ground; he won't put any weight on it. Poor thing. An acquaintance of mine told me that the DWR knows about the moose, and she's mad as the dickens that they won't just put the poor thing down and out of his misery. Thing is, he seems to be an otherwise healthy animal. He appears to have enough access to food, as I can tell he's gaining weight. As well, his antlers are just starting to bud out from his head, which is indicative of sufficient nutrition. But he still seems to have a lot of pain with that leg; he's so careful with it while he browses the willows. He's lucky, I guess, not to have any predators in that area; I can't imagine a mountain lion being crazy enough to take on an adult moose. And the coyotes up there know they couldn't kill him, though they may be waiting for him to die one day. I suppose a hunter might shoot him this year. For now though, I'm just enjoying getting to look at such a majestic animal; I've managed to shoot him with my camera from as close as 20 yards. (And only that close because I'm up an embankment and know he couldn't catch me.) I always make sure not to bother him. If he keeps his ears pinned back, I know he's getting stressed out by my presence and I'll back off and drive up the road in search of something else to see. And I've been careful not to attract attention to him or myself. (As a tour guide in Alaska, I know how wildlife sightings can make people lose their minds for a moment. Imagine 3 jackasses trying to hike up to a grizzly bear in Denali because they didn't have zoom lenses. Ugh.)
Anyway, while I feel bad for the moose and his hurt leg, and his seemingly lonely and unsure existence, I know that nature isn't always pretty. Then again, I look at the photos I was able to get of him and I think, "Wow, what a beautiful and amazing animal!"


Brynn said...

He is a super handsome moose. I sure hope he makes it :)

Kari said...

I feel the same way about being in nature Wade. My dislike for the snow keeps me away from my favorite spots in the winter, and I really feel it. Being in the canyons refills my soul. I long for them to all be open.

I hope the moose makes it too. And I think its great that you get to watch him. I mean honestly how many people get that opportunity? As much as this state gets under my skin, the nature makes up for it.

Maren said...

Love those little antler buds. How cool.

Shawna said...

Thats so great you make it point to go up in the mountains. One thing I do miss about living in Utah county was the short drive to them. Mr. Moose sure is adorable and its fasinating you have been able to keep track of him