The beginning of September is always a festive time around Robert Frost’s Banjo central—not only does my birthday fall then, but also our wedding anniversary. Since the actual date of both (the second) fell on a busy day in the middle of the week, Eberle & I decided to celebrate on Friday with a canoe trip up the North Fork of the Payette River.
The North Fork is a peaceful & lazy stretch of water that begins where the river flows into Payette Lake north of McCall. It's an added attraction that the North Fork is closed to all motorized boats, so it’s quiet & safe (of course, on a summer weekend it can be pretty crowded with canoes & kayaks!) Fortunately, we got there mid morning, before the holiday weekend rush, & at many points had the river mostly to ourselves.
Besides the beautiful scenery, there’s a lot of wildlife. While this section of the North Fork isn’t all that far from civilization, it’s not all that far from some serious back country either. Because of this, one animal that can be seen on this river is moose—an animal I’d never seen in the wild.
Eberle & I were rowing along, enjoying the beautiful sunshine & the peaceful river when we came around the bend & saw what looked to be two large stumps with ears. In fact it was a cow moose & a young moose basking themselves in the sun on the beach of a promontory. We stopped paddling & started furiously taking pictures. The moose were quite placid; they finally got up & went into a grove to eat; when they disappeared into the trees we paddled around the point & found them on the other side—further away this time, but still in plain sight. They never seemed agitated by our attention—in fact on the other side of the point the cow moose was lying down quite peacefully, tho occasionally sniffing the air. The young moose continued to forage.
What a day! Unfortunately, somebody (me) forgot to charge the camera’s battery, so after about 90 pix it went dead—which means we don’t have pictures of the mink we saw or of the three beautiful mergansers that forged past us upriver. But we did take all the photos we could of the moose—here are the best of them (click to enlarge). Enjoy!
Two stumps with ears
A picture can’t really convey how massive these animals are
In profile—the young moose is almost the size of a horse!
It was amazing when they stood up—the cow moose’s body was like a draught horse in size, but with longer legs.
The young moose foraging around the point—you'll have to enlarge this & the next photo to see the moose.
The cow moose taking a rest
Up a lazy river?
A little more spectacular scenery