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"Our" Moose

(1992)

Moose are the most famous Swedish animals (except for mosquitos), and you meet them almost everywhere, especially on travel signs, stickers on German mobile homes, T-shirts and at many other places. You could buy a picture in the Swedish Post Offices for 7 Skr, and even in Munich, Germany, far away from Sweden, you will find a moose shop.

Much less frequent do you meet a moose on a hiking tour. Especially in forests, they are not easy to see. If they do not move, you will probably just walk by without noticing them. Sometimes you can see them near the cabins, and I remember one whom we saw from the Abisko dining room. But because I don't have a good story from Sweden, I have to import one from the United States.

We were in the Grand Teton National Park south of Yellowstone National Park in 1988. We asked the ranger for opportunities to observer moose. He recommended to hike to the "Moose Pond" early in the morning and be there not after 56 p.m. That was not very attractive, but nevertheless, the next morning at 5:30 we were on the trail.

On our way we met a small (or big ?) problem: A moose was sleeping right on the trail to Moose Pond. I remembered the information folders that advised us to stay at least 25 m away from all animals, and 100 m from bears an bisons. We kept a distance of more than 25 m and walked around him to continue our way to Moose Pond. Would he feel disturbed ? No, he kept sleeping. Finally, there weren't any moose at the Moose Pond. We supposed that they were still all asleep in the forest.

We hiked back, and once more we passed the place with the sleeping moose. In the meantime, he woke up and lifted his head. Might he perhaps be sick and weakened ? No, obviously not.

We kept a greater distance, it seemed that it was time to get up for him, and we took a last picture. After awhile, we looked back and to our surprise, the moose was following us on the trail in a distance of about 25 m, just as recommended in the information folders.

We stood still, and he did not come nearer. We continued to walk, and he followed again, but kept the distance.

How far would he follow us ?

Finally we were near the street, and he stayed back to take a foot bath in a lake. When we were back told the ranger our little story, he said:"Yes, sometimes they are very friendly".

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