Colorado retreat: Moose from the start

Every year when I come to CSU Mountain Campus to teach tapestry retreats, I spend a fair amount of time walking and looking for moose. I would be walking anyway as that is just who I am (solvitur ambulando). But always I’m looking for those huge gangly creatures who hide in the willows by the river so well. I count it a good retreat if I see at least one moose.

From my arrival this year I started seeing them. In fact, I couldn’t miss them as I got moose-blocked immediately. (What they call it here when the moose decides to stay in the path where you’re walking and frankly, he gets to decide since he outweighs me by so much.) Here is my moose count for this retreat. These are actually sightings. Some of them I can identify as being different moose, but most certainly some of them are the same moose visiting different spots around the campus.

Sunday: 4 moose. 1 juvenile, 1 youngster, and two bull moose.
Monday: 4 moose. 3 big bull moose, 1 male juvenile.
Tuesday: 7 moose. 2 on the way to breakfast, 3 in my secret favorite field (these were bulls that seemed to be chasing each other), 2 right outside the workshop room, a mom and baby in the afternoon.
Wednesday: 1 moose. After dinner he walked right out of a thicket about 50 feet behind me on my favorite valley walk, yearling?
Thursday: 0 moose. This was the sunniest and warmest day. Maybe they were hanging out higher up.
Friday: 3 moose. 1 by the river early in the morning, a big bull moose eating aspen, 1 on the way back from breakfast behind the cabin, 1 after lunch.

In the August 2017 retreat in this location, a bunch of us spent a bit of time looking for moose and were rewarded with Karl. Just for you Carol, I named the bull moose I saw the last day of this retreat Karl. Actually, I called them all Karl if you really want to know.

And before you comment about this: yes, I know that moose can be dangerous; yes, I’ve experienced many moose throughout Colorado; yes, I know how to stay safe; and yes, I was safe in every instance you see in the photos below. Cameras have zoom lenses.

We’ll call him Karl. CSU Mountain Campus, Colorado, 2019

Moose are majestic creatures. They are so very large. The young ones are all legs and sometimes they don’t seem to be able to control those legs very well. The big bulls are impressive with their racks and I witnessed two of these bulls scratching their back legs using the tips of their antlers. The aspen trees are just leafing out on campus and the moose would grab the base of a branch from a young aspen, clamp down, and strip all the leaves off in one flick of their head. Often I’d see them lying down with occasional snacking on the nearby plants.

There are four moose in this photo taken from the deck of my cabin.

Cow and baby moose, CSU Mountain Campus 2019; through the workshop room window

This was the young moose that startled me a little. I had just walked up that trail through the thicket surrounding the river and I heard a crack behind me. I probably did walk quite close to her without seeing her. She ambled out and took her gangly self off up valley.

Young moose near the Far Away cabin ruins.

On my last morning there I got up early because I realized there was a break in the rain and I walked to the north end of campus and found this big guy having breakfast along the river. Thanks for all the fun Karl!

Last morning, a moose’s breakfast, CSU Mountain Campus 2019

You can read more about my week teaching a Foundations Tapestry Retreat in June of 2019 HERE. You can see more about the tapestry diary piece I wove during the week HERE.