A Close Encounter
It was a Saturday morning in June 2007. I was making my annual trek up Timpanogos and this was my first time on the Aspen Grove trail. I always took the Timpanooke trail before. No one was available to go with me, so this trip was solo. I headed up the trail wondering what the day had in store – maybe I would hit Robert’s Horn (BTW, the plaque at the start of the trail incorrectly labels the Second Summit as Robert’s Horn. Roberts Horn is actually the peak on the right, NE of Emerald Lake).
I had just passed the information shack when I saw a young couple walking backwards towards me – strange. When I was about 30 feet away the man spun around, obviously startled by the sound of my footsteps. He says, “There’s a moose up there! I hate moose, you can go ahead.”
As I rounded the corner and pass them, I see this moose about another 30 feet away. I say “Oh, that’s just a yearling, I’m going to get his picture”. They keep walking backwards as I whip out my camera. As I push the power button, I noticed that the moose heard us talking and it started walking toward me. I put the camera up and focused it. “Dang, it’s in movie mode!” I hurry and switch it to picture mode. At this point, I noticed the moose is starting to trot toward me. I think to myself, “I think this moose wants to get by me”. More likely, it wanted to run me over! It was only 10 feet away and closing. I hurry and snap the picture and take off to the left (hence the blurriness). “Oh crap” I thought, “there’s no way to get through the bushes here. I’ll just have to push off the moose as it runs by me”, still thinking it just wants to get by. Just as I had that thought, the moose stops, turns around and lumbers off the trail to the right. Whew!, disaster adverted. Trying to regain my composure, I yell back at the young couple, “He ran off, you can keep hiking now”.
I started thinking, why did the moose stop and run off to the right the same time I bolted to the left? I came to the conclusion that the flash from my camera startled it (flash of lightning maybe – trying to think like a moose here). It probably thought the flash scared me too, because that’s when I started running.
So, in the future, I think I’ll stick with the couple and go around the moose. . .