moose61. If you desperately want to see a moose in the wild before you die, these biggest members of the deer family that grow to nearly seven feet tall and weigh almost a ton will co-operate 2. In the month of May, the water in roadside ditches is a treat for them because it contains the salt that was used to melt treacheorus highway snow and ice and is now running off 3. You should be able to plan your own safari as a day trip in your family car in any province of Canada along any road that traverses a wildlife reserve. We did it last Thursday along Highway 60 near Ottawa. 4. For example, consulting the website of the Algonquin Provincial Park will inform you about moose-watching strategies, precautions to take and rules to observe, and where you can eat and enjoy exhibits along the way 5. Here are the details of what we did: We left home at 10:40 a.m., ate lunch at noon in Eganville and drove on nibbling pears and green grapes bought in Barry’s Bay. We reached the West Gate of Algonquin Provincial Park at 1:30 p.m. The attendant sold us a day permit for $16, gave us a copy of their newspaper and told us some moose had been seen during the days but more in the early evenings. The way we would know if a moose was ahead was if we saw other cars stopped with their flashers on. We had time to look around by taking a detour along the trail to the Opeongo Lake supply center. Patches of snow and ice dotted the grassy, swampy roadside while kayakers plied their orange craft in the lake. Back on Hwy 60 we went on to the Visitor Center. It contains old canoes and artifacts, an exhibit of paintings and photographs, information about Spring wildflowers, a gift shop and ongoing educational activities such as talks, tours and films. Before leaving we sat in the restaurant, indulging in coffee and muffins we were invited to butter and warm up in their microwave. At 2:30 p.m. we started off on the serious part of our safari, scanning the open spaces, dried grasses, bushes, trees and lakes on both sides of the road. It would be very hard to see the brown animals against a background of denuded branches and twigs. The drive was pleasant, with a fair amount of traffic scurrying past us. We felt sure they didn’t know what they were missing but we also knew we were going to be very disappointed if no moose showed up. A measure of anxiety began to take hold as no movement stirred the landscape on either side. We could do nothing except advance cautiously and look, look and look. Suddenly, at 3:58 p.m., we reached the crest of a hill and could see a hollow far ahead where four cars were stopped with their flashers on. The occupants had abandoned them and were taking pictures. And there it was, off to the right before our very eyes, not more than 25 feet away! A statuesque, enormous, beautiful, humped moose, grazing, posing and all our own to photograph! My heart leapt as I got out of the car, fumbled with my ipad camera and stared in awe at this living icon of majestic strength and self confidence. Fortunately, my husband had long since started taking pictures steadily. Two photographers experienced at tracking moose and filming with huge zooming lenses were at the head of the line and had spotted the moose. She was a female, so of course did not have antlers. Her daughter, about a year old, was standing safely farther back behind a fringe of bushes. The photographers had been alerted by seeing wet footprints on the highway. The animals had taken a drink from the ditch on the other side of the road and then crossed over. The mother moose seemed quite happy to pose for us. She had an intelligent, proud face which she held high because she was not frightened and she knew who was boss. If we didn’t behave, she would simply take her daughter with her and leave without becoming aggressive. We lingered and walked parallel to them as they kept going into thicker and thicker bush. Finally, we could hear only the noise of a few cracking limbs so we gave up and left. This remarkable moment of a lifetime was elapsed but will be forever preserved in our hearts, memories, words and photographs.

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