My Adventure as a Snowmobiler to Spot a Moose
And how the adventure continues to this day
The closest I’ve come to spotting a moose was at the Moose Café & Grill in Northern Ontario. Only 18 kilometers from Huntsville, my husband and I have snowmobiled there for their classic Moosecakes (fluffy pancakes served with maple blueberry sauce) and hot chocolate.
The atmosphere in the café is unique with a gift shop that features maple treats and photos of moose that you can buy right off the wall. We always laugh at the unique sayings displayed on the chalkboard and especially enjoyed the advice offered from our country’s most famous (and wisest) member of the deer family:
“Advice from a moose: Think big. Spend time in the woods. Eat plenty of greens. Hold your head up high. Stay on track. Keep your nose clear. It’s OK to be a little wild!”
However, no matter how much I admire the great Canadian mammal and no matter how many times I’ve eaten at the Café, I have yet to spot a real live moose.
My husband, an avid snowmobiler, has seen a moose many times.
He’s bragged to me about the size of the bull moose being taller at the shoulder than my husband’s 5 foot 9 inch (1.8 meters) frame with antlers that span over six feet wide from end to end. He’s known not to get between a cow and her calf, or to drive too close to a moose for fear of his kick.
Even my teenage son saw a moose on his last snowmobile trip.
He actually had to stop his sled to allow the moose time to walk off the trail and into the woods. Although the large mammal meandered out of the way, it wasn’t enough time for my son to grab his camera and take a picture.
The only moose I’ve seen is on my 25-cent piece. But that doesn’t even count because it’s actually a caribou on the quarter — not a moose!
Among the largest animals in the Northern Hemisphere, the moose has evaded me year after year. On our favourite holiday, the Family Day weekend in February, my husband and I join two other couples for a vacation getaway. We stay at the Blue Spruce Resort located near the West Gate of Algonquin Park to enjoy snowshoeing, skating, and tobogganing but mainly for snowmobiling. We can snowmobile right from our door on the trails maintained by the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs.
We like to take day trips across Oxtongue Lake and ride either north towards Kearney, east headed for Algonquin Park, west towards Rosseau or south just before Dorset. We stop for lunch somewhere along the trail and return back to our resort before sunset. Given the number of hours and the distance we travel the wilderness, you would think that I would see at least one moose.
My snowmobile companions know of my deep desire to see a moose.
They encourage me to keep looking. They themselves are on the lookout for the moose with its characteristic droop nose and dangling fur-covered skin under its chin. But no such luck. The only help they were able to offer me was a text days after our ride.
Denise wrote, “Meant to tell you we saw a moose on our last day of sledding. It was dusk so I don’t have a great pic.”
I’ve seen moose tracks. They are easily identifiable by their shape and size. On snow, moose hooves spread out — acting like a snowshoe — so they don’t sink.
I’ve seen moose droppings. Because moose are herbivores and eat a diet of bark, shrubs, and pinecones in the winter their poop looks like a pile of one-inch oblong pellets.
I’ve seen deer.
I’ve seen squirrels.
But no moose.
The Friends of Algonquin Park write on their website that moose prefer low-lying, wet areas such as bogs, ponds and beaver meadows. They say that I should be able to spot a moose while driving along Highway 60 because moose are actually attracted to the highway at certain times of the year.
But even though I stare out the passenger window scoring the terrain for the majestic moose I have never been rewarded.
Until the day I am blessed with spotting a moose with my own eyes, I’ll have to settle with getting my moose fix through eating something like the “Great Canadian Moose Breakfast” at the Moose Café and Grill.