In the late afternoon, after doing a bit of web design and then building for most the day, I went for a walk. It was sunny and warm as I made my way to a nearby pond in the middle of a meadow to get cleaned up. I was already without shirt, and I left my shoes off after washing my feet. The soft, damp moss of the marsh was a welcome sensation after a long day of work. Ever mindful of apex predators that might see me as an easy meal, and also knowing how moose and bear become protective of young, I kept a close eye out for any signs of wildlife. I also carried bear spray in hand. The long walk to the pond and back was uneventful as I relished the warm sun and cool breeze. As I entered into the woods closer to the cabin, the tree-shadowed ground became more chill with each step, and I looked forward to returning to the cabin and putting clean, warm socks on.
Within a few minutes of returned to the cabin, which is seven feet off the ground (thank God), I heard a commotion of rustling vegetation, branches snapping and a deep thumping that increased with every beat. Something was charging though the forest and heading straight for the cabin. My first thought was that I had been followed, perhaps tracked, and now a beast was on the approach to catch up with me. Not wanting to draw more attention to myself, I slowly looked out the window, cautiously, while heading toward the bear spray now lying on the window sill where I had climbed a ladder and entered. Much to my relief a large, cow moose followed by a calf came strutting into view. They were in a big rush, and turned past the cabin, about 60 yards away, then down into a ravine. For a moment I lost sight of them both behind thick alders, and then they appeared again for a moment as they climbed out of the ravine on the other side and into higher birch and spruce.
All the noise and excitement was awesome, as brief as it was, and I listened to them disappear into the woods unsure,yet, of what might have caused them to bolt.
Suddenly, and quickly elevating in loudness, I heard something else behind me running through the brush. I thought surely it must have been another calf that was falling behind. I had seen a moose with twins a few days prior in that same direction, not far away at the edge of a lake. To my great surprise and alarm my visions of another fearful calf dashing through the ferns was expelled from my mind as a burly grizzly bear, perhaps weighing in at 500 pounds or more as it was at least half the size of the moose, came heaving with muscle shaking strides towards me in pursuit of the calf which by now had a 500 yard lead. Following the exact path of the mother moose and calf, and in direct sight, it stopped for two maybe three seconds, facing the direction of the moose, listening, smelling, and then continued on his blood-lust chase down the ravine and up into the forest until I could no longer see or hear him. The bear cared nothing of the odd, wooden structure to his side or the curious being staring at him from the window. It was fixed on the fleeing prey.
I WAS UTTERLY SHOCKED! I stood at my window, still and in awe.
This is not something one gets to see everyday. That said, a smallish griz had been walking around the cabin a few nights before, and I scared it off with nothing more than a glance. But a big griz chasing a moose down, and right past my cabin of all places when the moose could have run in any direction… well, I’ll probably never see that sort of wild peril again.
In the security of my elevated cabin with no means of entry other than open windows at roughly ten feet off the ground, and with multiple means of defending myself and my ever-growing cabin, I was not afraid nor calm. I was, however, in shock, which faded rapidly into excitement with every leap and bound the bear took away from me until it was no longer a threat. As for the calf it was pursuing, it’s fate was probably sealed the moment the bear began his hot-blooded and hungry chase.
I regret that there was not a single chance to grab my camera, otherwise I would have missed the show entirely. It all happened quite abruptly.