Nights of Solitude

Driving down route 121 in Grand Teton National Park a bull moose walked into my headlights as it crossed the wet road. I hit the brakes and thought it was bedding down right next to the road. This wasn’t the case but it did get me thinking about what he was thinking. What is going through a moose’ head when it is wandering at night trying to find a place to sleep or stay out of harms way. He is out alone, in the middle of the night with no one watching his back unlike the elk herds and wolf packs. It has to be a tough life for the moose, bears and other animals that run solo. Then I got to thinking and it’s not a whole lot different from what I do.

I would say a little less than half the 100+ days I have been on the road I have camped alone. Since being in the Tetons most of the times I camped alone I was way back in the middle of nowhere and initially I was insecure about it. I would get out of my car quickly and get my bed ready as fast as I could so I could lock myself in. I was worried about something getting me in the dark. This was a typical routine for a while because when I got out here I knew little about bears and saw them all over. I also woke up to a big grizzly shaking my car not too long after I got out here. I was alone way back off wilderness road off Pacific Creek. Even when I was locked up in my car sometimes my mind would play tricks on me where I would think I heard something outside and I would shine my light out to see if anything was there. There was usually nothing and I would discover that it was something inside my car that made the noise, usually from me moving. I imagine this is how the moose are for a while after their mom wants nothing to do with them anymore but eventually they become more knowledgeable and confident in their skills of the world just as I have.

I am not saying that I am totally at peace when out of my car alone in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night but I am more comfortable with it now. This is probably how the moose are. You want to be on alert enough to sense a predator but relaxed to enjoy life. I do not rush to get my bed set up even though I could do it in probably 10 seconds. I also do not rush to close myself in my car like before, and I usually leave the door open for a while to get some fresh air. I typically leave the windows down a little to get some fresh air but unfortunately this fall its been raining a lot. I woke up to water in my face a couple times and had to put the windows up. What to do the moose do at night when it rains?

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