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Moose on the loose

So, last day at Denali park yesterday. Gonna try to make this coherent, but espresso guy was out of whipped cream, so our mocha was a little strong. As we've mentioned before, with rare exceptions, you don't get to actually drive your own vehicle into the park's ten kajillion acres, instead you have cram onto a schoolbus with all your ten tons o' photo equipment.


It's OK Mr. Tikistitch! We won't bite you!!

Anyways, were actually on the bus yesterday along with some kind of Nikon enthusiast group. They all had kajillion million dollars of photo equipment along with them. They sat in the back of the bus, so we didn't hear much from them during the ride, except at stops, when you needed to squnch down to avoid being bonked be debarking tripods.

Tripods ready???

We actually got the fronty-front seats for like the first time in forever. Great for wildlife spotting. We were kinda on the boring side of the bus going out, so a lot of the "spots" actually went to a charming older couple sporting a pretty dang large telephoto and a keen pair of eyes. Didn't see much at first, but then got some awesome coolness, like a busy beaver building his dam.

And an incredible two-headed Dall sheep yay!

In case you missed our update yesterday, Dall sheep are kind of assholes. They tend to congregate on the ridge of mountains at a distance where you can just spot them as small white dots. So then you take a picture with your telephoto and blow it up.

And they look like somewhat bigger white dots. Not exactly National Geographic-ready material for the aspiring wildlife photographer. In fact, for most of two days, Mr. Tiki and I suspected what we were seeing up on the ridges were actually a lot of white cutouts.

Sooo, on the way back, Mr. Tiki and I were in the fronty-front, and on the critical South side of the bus. We had two full days of experience, would we be able to spot park critters?????

So, first thing, I looked up on a ridge and sputtered, "What's that?"

"Bushes," answered Mr. Tiki.

"But one of the bushes has a HEAD!"

"There's some caribou on the ridge up ahead!" answered the bus driver. We gave Mr. Tiki the caring "Bwa ha ha" look.

Then as the telephoto mob was clicking away at the 'bou, we noticed a tiny flyspeck some miles back against the mountains. "Wait! There's something in the background!" After a quick discussion about "behind the first river but not quite at the second river and below those bushes not THOSE bushes but the red ones" we heard, "That's a grizzly bear!" It was the old wildlife photographer dude, who'd been peering through binoculars. He looked at us and gave an approving nod.

Then wildlife spotting got EVEN BETTER! Mr. Tiki spotted an genuine LYNX on the road, which not only gave him 3,000 Scrabble points, but made the third one we'd seen this trip, and the 14th lynx for the bus driver, who was terribly proud of this fact. The bus driver on this trip was probably the most taciturn of the lot, but evidently there is some kind of unofficial competition between the drivers vis a vis lynxes.

Plus Mr. Tiki got a way awesome Cheshire Lynx photo. Also, there was a hare bouncing away. But the Intarnets is too slow up here, so we'll post that video later.


Yes, it's those $#@%$& Dall sheep! Bane of wildlife photographers around the world!! I was peering far into the distance when some fuzzy white blobs flashed in my peripheral vision down the hillside and RIGHT OFF THE SIDE OF THE ROAD! DALL SHEEP! I roared, and the driver braked and gingerly backed us up even with the beasts. It was the most annoying photo subject since Garbo, and a pair had decided to wander practically into the roadway. The driver gaped in amazement. "Usually you put the brakes on and they run away at the sound," he told us, but these two just happily stood their grazing, ignoring the snaps of 10,000 shutters. All agreed, THIS NEVER HAPPENS. Ye Olde Wildlife Photographer Dude looked at me approvingly and said, "That was your spot, wasn't it?" I blushed and grinned. Then another bus pulled up along behind, and the driver signalled them so even more people started snapping pix.

I should note, afterwards, as we shared a shuttle back to the hotel with part of the photography club, they were cheering about how they had photographed two Dall sheep! Right off the road!!! And then the next morning, we ran into another group of tourists on the shuttle to the main building, and they were bragging about "their guide" on their bus spotting two dall sheep.

But, it was me.

And, Dall sheep are still assholes.

Then finally, found the kewlest restaurant, Salmon Bake. If you're ever in the 'hood, we heartily recommend the fish 'n chips. Kinda wondered about the politics of the management of aforesaid establishment, however, as one of their signature drinks is called a "Ruby Ridge Relaxer." Then last night saw a little nosering waiter kid there wandering around wearing a Sarah Palin tee shirt. It was Palin's photo in the style of the famous Obama "HOPE" poster, only instead of "hope," it said, "HOCKEY MOM." (Mr. Tiki wondered why it didn't say "QUIT," as that would actually make some sense.) If anyone can tell me what the hell this means, I'd be glad to hear, 'cause it kinda reminded me of something that might be rattling around in Glenn Beck's brain if someone were to ever peer inside. Which, we DON'T recommend.



( 3 cousins babbled — babble away! )
Sep. 9th, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
Eeee! Congrats on the Dall Sheep and the Lynx... exciting stuff! :D
Sep. 9th, 2009 10:09 pm (UTC)
Sounds like the Dall sheep aren't the only assholes wandering around up there!
Sep. 10th, 2009 12:51 am (UTC)
Lynx pic is VERY cool!

At first, I was like - *what* lynx?? Then I realized I had to look more closely ... yes, I need new glasses ... but have yet to actually order them.
( 3 cousins babbled — babble away! )


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