Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Why Did The Moose Cross the Road?

To get to the candy, not really....that part was all me!  The moose just wanted to get to the other side.
In talking to my mother-in-law this morning I realized that I had never posted about our trip to Red Lodge in July.  We wanted to get out camping, but that wasn't really a possibility because of other obligations.  So, we took a lovely daytrip instead.   We just needed to get out into the mountains.

On of my favorite parts of a trip to Red Lodge is a stop at the Montana Candy Emporium.  This is shop where all the candy is kept loose in bins and you flit around from bin to bin with a brown paper sack selecting your favorites and then all are paid for my the pound.  I don't really buy candy any more as I try to follow Michael Pollan's advice: Eat all the junk food you want, just make it yourself.  Thus, a trip to the  Emporium has taken on an even more special, holiday treat sort of tone for me these days. 

After the candy shop we drove further up into the mountains for a little hike through the forest, naturally munching on candy the whole way to the trailhead. 

The forest was filled with new growth, like the bright green tips of this wee evergreen.
The flowers along the trail were superb once again encouraging me to get a book or two on Montana wildflower identification, which I have now done.  I did forget it when we went camping last weekend though...go figure.  But, I digress.
We also found one of the neatest ant colonies I've ever seen with my own eyes.  They lived in a tree.  There was a hole in the trunk a few feet up from the ground that was just crawling with them.  It was quite the front door.  I really like watching ants for some reason.  I like their industry and undeniable sense of working towards the common good.  I like their order.  I saw a photo in a book once where ants were using themselves as a bridge to cross a gap.  I was floored.  What a fascinating life form.  I like to check out colonies whenever I can.  I once found one that was easily a mound three feet high and the ground was writhing with ants for a good 10-15 feet in each direction around the mound.  It wins for the largest I've ever seen.  The tree wins for best front door and best view.  : )

After a lovely stroll we decided it was time to head back home.  As we were driving along, enjoying the scenenry, Matt spots a tall brown creature on the side of the road.  He said his initial thought was "Is that a horse?"  But, oh no!  It was not a horse at all but a moose!  We stopped and she strolled right across the road a ways ahead of us.   I've seen nine moose in my life (counting this one) and they never get any less impressive.  Each time it feels like I just crossed paths with a dinosaur.

Perhaps the strangest part of the outing was that we DIDN'T eat ALL the candy in one day.  I think the bag lasted three days.  That had never happened before.  It made me feel good about all the slow and steady improvements to my diet I've been making over the years.  It has gotten to the point now where I no longer desire to go on an all out junk food bender.  It doesn't appeal to me and it makes me feel ill.  I used to be able to eat junk til the cows came home without feeling badly.  My body was used to it.  I feel more in tune with my body now and I like that feeling a whole lot.


  1. I picture moose with a huge bunch of flat antlers. This does look rather like a horse. Ants were in a tree of mine, killing it. We had to take drastic measures, like killing ants, to save the tree. At least you have a book so you can look at the pictures you take and know their names. I think I would rather not carry the book, just carry back pictures. I would love to see that much candy in one

  2. You give me hope for my bad eating habits. I am working on it... slowly, slowly, but sometimes .. Chocolate! (Probably daily). But the diet is getting better.

  3. Parsimony - Yes, the standard vision of a moose is the male with the full antlers. They certainly are the most impressive, but the ladies and babies are still pretty incredible and big in their own right. Of the nine I've seen there have only been two males. The best sighting was a mom and baby grazing in a little boggy area in the forest. It was also probably the most frightening as they were very close and you know how mothers can be...

    Cristy - Slow and steady really does win the race. If you'd compared my diet 5 years ago to now it is so drastically different, but it was all done in slow baby steps...otherwise its too overwhelming. Have you read Food Rules by Michael Pollan? It is so short, easy, and helpful. Good luck as you continue to improve your diet (and same for me!). It can have such a profound impact in so many ways.

  4. Nice Arnica, Pearly Everlasting, and yearling moose. I do eat some hard candy while hiking or hunting sheerly as a way to mainline some calories. Chocolate too if the weather is cold.

  5. I'm entirely jealous you live near such beautiful scenery!

  6. EcoRover - I got the book you suggested (and one photo-and-name-only guide that looks like a map in that it folds up for backpacking) AND remembered to bring them hiking this past weekend. So far I've ID'd a few flowers and have several I feel I'm close to IDing! It is so when I first started bird watching all over again! But, boy, do I have a lot to learn! At least the flowers sit still for a photograph!

    We had hot chocolate at the campfire. It wasn't even that cold, but it sure hit the spot.

    TLC - Montana is a blessing to my being. It really, really is.


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I value the advice and friendship that you share with me!