Running with Rhyno: Running wild

I couldn’t help but laugh as Amanda jumped and squealed in surprise.

(I’m that kind of friend.)

We were running along the Perimeter Trail when a young moose sprung up over the river bank and disappeared into the trees.

It stopped us in our tracks.

Chances are if you have spent any time near River Bend Golf and Recreation Area, you will have seen a moose or two hanging out in the trees, eating leaves and bark or sprawled across the trail.

On this particular day, we had seen one large moose and a smaller one in the trees as we approached the trail. Of course we quickly forgot about them as we continued on our run.

I think the young moose was more startled than anything. Into the trees she fled to join three other moose, who were apparently having a mid-afternoon snack.

Fortunately I have never had a run-in with a moose. I know to keep my distance from wildlife and to keep the selfies at a minimum.

As the largest members of the deer family, moose are beautiful, (somewhat cartoonish) creatures. The bulls can weigh more than 453 kgs (1,000 pounds) while the cows are about 317 kgs (700 pounds). Despite their large stature, they can be surprisingly light on their feet while moving quietly and quickly through the trees.

Moose tend to leave humans alone but make no mistake about it – they are dangerous animals.

Ever have a moose charge at you? I haven’t, but I have seen the YouTube videos. Scary stuff.

It is that time of year (dare I call it spring?) where most people are inspired to explore nature after a long winter. Wildlife are also waking up and stretching their legs (and jaw muscles).

No doubt you have already seen a few rabbits hopping down the (bunny) trail or squirrels scurrying up trees or collecting acorns.

I prefer to run in the mountains and in wooded areas so I expect to encounter wildlife. Over the years I’ve seen deer, elk, wolves, moose, beavers, livestock, rabbits, birds, bears and (shudder) snakes. Knock on wood, I have never had a negative encounter with an animal.

Here in Alberta, bear safety is always top of mind.

Someone always has a can of bear spray in the Kananaskis or the Nordegg area. We make noise, and we know what to do if a bear crosses our path.

Respect the animals and they will respect you. It’s that simple.

If all else fails, make sure you are the fastest runner in your group.

MMM

Find Running with Rhyno on Facebook and @CrystalRhyno on Twitter. Send your column ideas, photos and stories to crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

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