Treed
moose closeup photo

That dripping water will be steam in three…two…one…
Photo by ahisgett

Something told me I shouldn’t go running that day – quad-pull notwithstanding (that’s another story in itself). I figured 5 weeks was enough time to heal. It’s a 3 mile route that takes me alongside the banks of the Snake River…beautiful.

There is always something to see on the bottoms. I do a “track check” on the trail to see what I may possibly be sharing my trail with that day – deer, moose, and (yikes) a cougar are among the tracks I’ve seen on different days. This day I saw an enormous track that could only be a moose. OK, then…moose alert, I tell myself – no problem….just keep your eyes open. Seen enough of them to know they’re fast, but just keep your distance and watch closely…oh, and don’t do anything that’ll tick ‘em off…like, ohhhh….breathing.

Well, almost to the riverbank I see an enormous and gorgeous water snake and true-to-form, I go after it (cuz snakes are COOL and I LOVE ‘em). So I’m chasing this snake and it’s naturally headed for the water. It’s faster than me this time (only because I’m still sorta nursing a bad leg) and it slips into the water just as I grab for its tail…then I hear a splashy sound ahead of me…

Oh, CRAP…I forgot…the moose…

So there she is – in the middle of the river, about 50 yards away – and we are having a stare down…and her ears are flicking. I’m watching closely (and DANG….breathing)…the keeping my distance part of the moose-alert was history, thanks to a water snake that I’m convinced planned it all with the moose.

I’m backing up slowly and figuring an escape route from the corner of my eye, while casting about for a poking stick (I know, I know, but it might slow her down a little bit before totally unleashing Hell’s Fury…at least I might get a whack in before being stomped ‘til there’s nothing left but eyeballs and tennis shoes).

She starts giving me the moose-eye (a kind of eyes-rolled-back sideways stare… not something you want to see a moose do, trust me).

And her ears are not flicking anymore…

They’re laid back…

UH-OH…

Did you know moose make a sort of a wet snot-laden sounding whumpff and their lips kinda flap when they’re pissed off?
Me either.

The flappy-lip-thing would have been funny if she hadn’t been trotting at me with that flappy-lip-thing going on.

What sticks in my mind (as I’m putting a tree between us before she hits shore) is she was blowing smoke – OK, it was prolly water – but I’m convinced Satan or the snake was riding her. I scramble up a cottonwood dead-fall that, thankfully, was first, not so big around I couldn’t jump up on it, and second was propped against another cottonwood at a scalable angle…I hear her behind me, and I’m praying that moose don’t climb trees…the prayer went like this,
“Oh god oh god oh god”

OK….I’ve been treed by a moose….now what? It seemed like hours (prolly only minutes) when her obsessive, foot-stomping, snot-blowing, Hell-spawned temper tantrum below me was interrupted by…LAUGHTER.

Gods…can it GET any worse?? A drift boat full of fly-fishers dropping anchor…to enjoy the show, from the choking sounds emanating from that direction. Fortunately for me, that was enough…she trotted off, blowing smoke and boogers…

I was lucky…just a few scrapes, and a lot of humiliation. There is nothing worse than a frustrated moose during rut… Ol’ Witch needs to maybe change her attitude if she wants a little moose-love…sheesh….no wonder…

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