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Borrego Springs, CA

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I wanted to see a moose

There aren’t any around here, so yesterday Emma and I went on a road trip to look for some.

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As you can see, we headed way north in Minnesota on our quest.  It turned out to be a long day for us which included a little over 300 miles of driving.  It took us about three hours to get there because of the distance and a detour that just added extra time and quite a few miles.  I stopped at the small visitors center first to get the low down on where to look for a moose.  Of course, between the long drive and delays, it was almost high noon when we got there.  Not exactly prime time for seeing wildlife.

Never the less, the staff was enthusiastic about my visit (I had told them I was volunteering at Tamarac), and gave me the ‘keys to the kingdom’.  It’s not like I’m special or anything, anyone can ask for these keys, and after filling out a couple of forms you can be on your way to explore this National Wildlife Refuge.

_MG_9120The first thing I wanted to attempt was to climb this tower to the top.  One of the keys lets you into this.  There are 133 very steep steps to get to the top. _MG_9123

I was wondering if my new hip was up for this since stairs have been my biggest challenge.  The ladies in the visitors center gave me their cell phone number and assured me that they would send some handsome, strapping, muscular young men to rescue me and carry me down should I need it.  Open-mouthed smile  Now I ask you, wouldn’t you accept that challenge ladies?  I haven’t had a handsome, strapping, muscular young man carry me in longer than I can remember!

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The views from way up there were spectacular, and gave me a true feeling for this refuge.  Nothing like a bird’s eye view of this aspen/parkland transitional zone between the coniferous forest, tall grass prairie and the prairie pothole region of the country.  The wind was blowing about 40 mph up there.  It gave me a thrill to be up at eye level with some soaring white pelicans.  Reluctantly I made my way down those steep stairs, and never did have to call for help.  I do have to say, though, that my right thigh was a little Jello-like by the time I finished.

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This was my favorite view from the top that shows the visitors center and the road I would be on for part of the wildlife drive.

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The four mile self-guided wildlife drive has signage and several stops along the way.  At some of the stops you can turn your radio on for detailed information about the habitat and its residents.  I found those little talks very interesting and informative. 

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It’s along this drive that you’ll probably encounter these cattle.  Since the temps had risen to the upper 80’s by this time, the cows were all huddled together to help combat the biting flies.  Seems there’s safety in numbers from those nasty insects.  If you stand close enough, the flies can’t bite your sides.  Local cattlemen are allowed to put these cattle on the refuge to help keep down the brushy growth and invasive species from overtaking the wetlands since there are no longer any elk or bison around that did this in historic times.

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After the wildlife drive, I used the other key I was given to take a drive down the Thief River Road.  This road is part of the refuge’s Enhanced Access Program for visitors.  There are several back roads you can take after picking up a key.  No more than two vehicles are allowed access at any time, so your chances of seeing wildlife greatly improve because of the limited traffic.

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The nice thing about wildflowers and grasses is they don’t hide during the heat of the day.  I did see a bald eagle, some ducks, a snipe, and yellow-headed blackbirds, but no deer, otters, or moose.  I’m thinking I might just plan an overnight trip to the area towards the end of September so I have a chance of seeing moose during their rutting season.  That way I could be at this refuge at a better time of day for optimal viewing.  If you are ever up in this neck of the woods of Minnesota, Agassiz NWR is worth a visit.

Only one cow swinging to a different beat in this bovine ballet!                                                                                THE END!!

                                  Only one cow swinging to a different beat in this bovine ballet!  Winking smile

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

30 comments:

  1. What a great experience! Even if it was mooseles.

    When I saw the photo of the tower I thought "oh no, she didn't". But she did! You should forward the post to your orthopedic surgeon and staff. Way to go!

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  2. Good for you, just don't over do it. What did Emma think of those steer? Did she want to herd them?

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  3. What a great day you and Emma had! Sorry you didn't see a moose. We passed on a tower just like that on a service road near the Grand Canyon. You go girl!

    Beautiful pictures from you adventure! The colors in the header picture are so pretty.

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  4. Seeing a moose in the wild is at the top of my "wish list." I will, I will! Someday.

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  5. Your braver than I. I only made it up half way on the fire tower. But still had great views.
    really nice pictures.

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  6. Good job climbing the tower, Judy! I'm still waiting to see a moose.

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  7. 133 steps up and 133 down. no... I'd be dead. I'll let folk like you do it and take pictures and put me there ... I can even smell the air... yep

    The entire time I was traveling the states where Moose Crossing Signs were every where ... every where... I never saw a moose!

    One place I went to breakfast had a Moose warning sign in their parking area... ! told 'em I'd been traveling a few months with the warnings and hadn't seen any... they were amazed.

    never did see one. they said ... it was best. ha

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  8. Good for you for climbing up those stairs. It was well worth it by the look of the pictures you took, they are beautiful. Sorry you didn't get to see any moose, it was sort of like us in Prince Albert Nat'l Park in Saskatchewan last month we didn't get to see any elk.

    Ruth
    www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

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  9. That's a lot of stair climbing. Makes me tired thinking about it. Love your gorgeous new header.

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  10. we never saw any while in Maine but in Wyoming we saw bunches - maybe they are more elusive in Maine...

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  11. I've never had good luck specifically hunting for moose ... all of our sightings have been pure happenstance, but the visit to that refuge would have been worth the drive anyway.

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  12. Bovine ballet.....love it! Hope you get to see some moose!

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  13. Judy drive that rig across the border. We have three Moose that live just down the road a few blocks. Sometimes they are even in the yard.

    Come on down and we will take you to Banff for some Sponge Candy

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  14. But still no moose! I'm afraid I would have had to pass on climbing the tower! :)

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  15. I had been on a "moose quest" for years... I made 2 trips to Maine and one into Canada before I finally saw my first moose in Alaska in 2001. I still get excited seeing moose... sure hope you get that experience soon. I like that "key" system... great way to enjoy the refuge.

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  16. oh goodness. . .sometimes when I read about another fabulous place to see, I just think, I'm never gonna be able to see it all. . .this was one of those times. This just looks like a fabulous place to explore. . .so I've bookmarked it. . .hopefully for next summer's travels. . .Lord willing. . .

    Thanks for sharing, moose or no. . .really great!

    Janice
    ReadyToGoFullTimeRVing Blog
    FaceBook.com/ReadyToGoFullTimeRVing

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  17. It is great that you could climb that tower. Someone always has to go against the grain :)

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  18. That is a beautiful pink milkweed. Were any butterflies visiting it?

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  19. Great views from that tower! I think this is a bad time of year for moose spotting. Cows, now there are always plenty of them! We have started referring to cows as wildlife. If we didn't, we wouldn't see much wildlife :)

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  20. There is always one dancing to a different tune. I'm sorry you didn't see a moose, but on your quest, you really found some neat things. We've had moose sightings in our area, and a few hit on the roadways. (sad) Prior to our retirement, we were sure we had moose foot prints in our back yard. Years ago, when our son was in college, he spent a summer working at an outfitters in the Gun Flint trail area (Arrowhead of MN) We went to visit him, and saw lots of moose in that area. Sonny boy even tells the story of when he was charged by a moose. (Knowing him, the moose had every right!!!)

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  21. great pics sorry you didnt see one of Gods chuckles

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  22. p.s....think once I got to top i would have used that call..hey how many times in your life are you going to get an offer like !

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  23. Love the header photo.

    Great job climbing the steps! Fantastic view for sure.

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  24. Amazing! What a view from the top of the tower and congrats on climbing the 133 steps.

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  25. There was a recent blogger, I don't remember who it was, who asked why cows huddle together. I guess that's the answer, flies. Interesting. I love seeing cattle, especially up close. These are beauties. :)

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  26. Ya gotta go to Alaska to really see one in the wild...We saw a female and her baby,,,plus a male eating vegetation from a lake in the Canadian Rockies...If you dare, go up the Haul Road from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay and if you're lucky you will see Musk Ox...amazing prehistoric animals...OK, so now I want to go BACK to Alaska after this comment...You are amazing for climbing those steps!!

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  27. Looks like a lot of steps to take on! Love the pictures. Thanks for sharing

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  28. What are handsome, strapping muscular men? And thanks for info on this refuge. Maybe I'll get there next year.

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  29. 266 steps, 300 miles, great photos and story. Next time there will be a moose for sure.

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  30. Nice Post.Thanks for Sharing this in your Blog

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