I Promised You a Moose: Alaska Wildlife…

This Alaskan Moose looks like he was put together by a committee. But don't let his humorous looks fool you. Experienced outdoorsman in Alaska worry more about moose than they do about bears. They are the bane of the Iditarod. Moose think the sled dogs are wolves.

This Alaskan Moose looks like he was put together by a committee. But don’t let his humorous looks fool you. Experienced outdoorsman in Alaska worry more about moose than they do about bears. They are the bane of the Iditarod. Moose think the sled dogs are wolves.

Peggy and I are off in Alaska as you read this blog. Since I won’t have time for blogging or reading blogs, I decided to repost a few blogs from the trip we made to Alaska three years ago. If you have been following me for a while, you may have read these blogs previously. I will try to respond to comments. –Curt

Several years ago Peggy and I took off a year to travel North America. Peggy declared we were on a moose hunt, a photographic safari. Moose are everywhere in the far north, right? I’ll be darned if we could find one. There were no moose in Maine, there were no moose in Minnesota and there were no moose in Canada. We finally found one near Denali National Park, but that was it.

This time we spotted three in one week of driving up the Alaska Highway. These large, ungainly, friendly looking animals can be quite dangerous, especially if they have a calf. As for the bulls, those racks on their heads can weigh over 50 pounds.

Our visit to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center near Girdwood, Alaska on the southern end of Turnagain Arm had several waiting to be photographed. We also found some magnificent elk, several musk ox, and a herd of buffalo.

Alaskan moose lying down.

Check out the mouth on this moose. They are designed to strip leaves off of trees and are as tough as leather.

Alaskan moose.

This moose turned to eye me and furnished a profile shot.

Elk in Alaska

Roosevelt Elk have been reintroduced to Canada. These magnificent animals can weigh up over 1000 pounds.

Cow elk in Alaska

These are cow elk with their distinct rear ends.

This elk calf was shy but Peggy caught it with her telephoto lens. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson)

This elk calf was shy but Peggy caught it with her telephoto lens. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson)

Peggy also captured these Caribou with their antlers. Once, when I was backpacking across the Alaska Range I came on a herd that was quite curious about me. They would come bouncing up to about 20 feet away and then go dashing off.

Peggy also captured these Caribou with their forest of antlers. Once, when I was backpacking across the Alaska Range, I came on a herd that was quite curious about me. They would come bouncing up to about 20 feet away and then go dashing off.

Wood Buffalo being reintroduced to Alaska.

Wood Buffalo are also making a return to Alaska and Canada. We saw several along the road on our trip through the Yukon. Peggy caught this one napping. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson)

Wood Buffalo being reintroduced to Alaska.

I like this face shot I captured.

Wood Buffalo calf in Alaska.

We both took photos of this buffalo calf.

Alaskan Musk Ox

Musk Ox thrive on the North Slope of Alaska wearing their thick fur coats. We worked hard to capture a photo where they weren’t shedding. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson)

An Alaskan Porcupine. The soft-looking fur is actually quills that the porcupine is more than ready to share. They are painful and extremely hard to remove.

An Alaskan Porcupine. The soft-looking fur is actually quills that the porcupine is more than ready to share. They are painful and extremely hard to remove.

Alaskan Lynx

I’ll conclude this blog with a photo of a lynx chowing down. Nice kitty. I consider lynx to be  among the most handsome members of the cat family. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson)

 

28 comments on “I Promised You a Moose: Alaska Wildlife…

  1. Curt, we had the same experience in New England, and parts of southern Canada. We spent quite a lot of time there, and didn’t see a single moose. From the warning signs along the highway, I assumed they’d be as common as cattle. We were disappointed not to see one, but mostly, we didn’t want to discover one with our car. ~James

    • Discovering one with your car could be a problem. (grin) Trains are something else. When I lived in Alaska one morning, my copy of the Anchorage Daily News had a headline that announced something like “TRAINS 49, MOOSE 1” It had been a heavy snow year and the moose were using the cleared tracks for trails. Some 49 had been killed. The night before a train had hit a moose and it had derailed the train. –Curt

  2. Beautiful. These are very nice photos.

    I spent three winters and two summers in the wonderland of Alaska. Moose were everywhere and always a thrill to see (and even encounter at times).

  3. Such fascinating, and as you say, thoroughly photogenic creatures! They’re just magnificent. I remember the first time I saw a moose — years ago — I was in awe at their sheer size. I had no idea, or comparison.

  4. The moose in profile and the caribou are my favorite photos. No one mentioned the poor porcupine! I think they’re such interesting creatures, but I’ve known a dog or two who got overly curious and learned their lesson.

    I was really surprised by the musk ox. I had no idea they existed on this continent. I don’t know where I thought they live – Tibet, maybe.

    I’m anxious for the next post. You’ve surely heard of the conversation between the old fisherman and his wife:

    She: “What? Why are you going fishing again?”
    He: “Just for the halibut.”

    😉

    • I remember my dad using his pliers to remove quills from the nose of my dog Tickle. It isn’t surprising that animals quickly learn to leave these prickly guys alone. I once found one in East Africa that stood almost waist high. I called him sir.

      The musk ox are found up on the North Slope and would have come across the ancient land bridge from Asia.

      Sorry about the change in blog order. I will get to halibut fishing. I was too excited about our visit with the Kodiak Bears… they are such magnificent animals.

      Peggy ended up catching the only Halibut, but I am getting ahead of myself.

      –Curt

  5. I loved the shot of the three Roosevelt elk…almost like in Blue Angel formation. And the photo of the lynx chowing down… but one question: do the porcupines have a predator?

  6. I have been to the wildlife farm in Girdwood twice. Girdwood is such a wonderful commnunity. I wanted to move there when the kids were little. Have a wonderful time and love your clicks~

    • Hi Cindy. We made it down to Girdwood this time but not over to the wildlife park. Our objective was to watch our 3, 5, and 7 year old grandkids learn to ski at the Alyeska Ski Resort. There were lots of face-plants. All in all, we had a great trip. I’ll start blogging about it on Wednesday. –Curt

  7. Oh these close up and personal photos of the critters are just superb, Curt. I am seeing a Musk Ox for the very first time, and the caribous antlers are just such a surprise in their size and shape.

    Oh this is a wonderful post. Thank you.

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