Sunday, August 26, 2018 – Long Lake
A "three-dog night" is reportedly a night so cold that you sleep with three dogs to stay warm. A three-moose night is, like, 5 times colder. Or perhaps just an evening with a few moose.
It started as a late afternoon drive to Brainard. The drive was relatively pleasant, with hardly any traffic heading uphill, and no bicyclists.
I mentioned to the gate attendant that I might like to camp out, so she gave me a map of Pawnee Campground. I'd never been to the campground before. I drove through the Elk and Moose loops, which are tucked between the main road and the lake parking area. RVs and campers occupied most of the sites, with only one or two empty spots. Each spot had a pad for a tent, a bbq, a picnic table, and a bear box (for storing food). The Moose Loop, nearer to the lake, was forested, and each site had some degree of privacy. The Elk Loop been clear-cut due to pine beetle infestation, so it was very exposed, with no shade.
I didn't have much food with me, so I decided to skip camping for the time being.
I parked at Brainard and walked up to Long Lake, took few pictures, and headed back. I hung around Brainard for the sunset, then packed up and started home.
Just past the lake turn-off, some cars had parked on the side of the road: someone had spotted a moose. I pulled alongside and grabbed my camera, quickly switching to a 300mm lens.
Indeed, three moose were grazing in a clearing nearby. People were approaching them, taking pictures. An older gentleman, who claimed the moose knew his voice and were used to his presence, stood at the edge of the clearing where the moose were grazing. This seemed like a bad idea, but the animals did seem fairly calm, despite the nearby people and camera flashes. I stayed away, thankful for a telephoto lens.
Finally the moose had enough of the cameras and people. The largest one walked across the road toward the lake, and disappeared into the forest on the other side. The other two followed close behind.
After reviewing the images on the computer at home, I noticed the largest of the three had green ear-tags. So I wonder what's up with that.