I was looking for a moose.
Colorado was our summer vacation destination. We stayed in a yurt at Snow Ranch YMCA near Winter Park and then in a condo in Granby. It was a trip full of outdoor excursions: hiking, ziplining, rafting, tubing, sunset watching, camp firing, fort building, horse riding, and eating breakfast in the mountains. Adventures galore – just as it should be!
We went on two hikes. The first hike was with the group of friends and family we stayed with in Yurtville, YMCA. It was lovely. We focused on sharing what we were seeing with the group. It was about pictures by the waterfall. Conversation flowed effortlessly within the beautiful surroundings.
The second hike was around a lake and through the woods near Granby. We’d looked on All Trails! app and the The Monarch Lake hike reviews mentioned seeing moose. At the trail head, the Ranger encouraged us to look for wildlife along the trail. This reminded me of the moose mention in the reviews. My focus immediately shifted. All distractions were swept away. I was laser-focused on seeing a moose. I was on a mission.
My eyes were fixated on the woods. So much so that I’m not sure why I didn’t stumble over rocks or branches. I wasn’t paying attention to my feet. I was methodically turning my head from side-to-side. I reasoned that if I went back and forth, I’d be able to survey both sides of the trail thoroughly. I was relentlessly scouring the landscape looking for movement and examining shapes that had moose potential. My eyes were wide open and ready for a moose to walk through my scope.
Then we saw moose tracks along the path. These track sightings intensified my search. I mistook a fallen tree stump for a moose. And more than once thought branches hanging oddly also had a strong resemblance. I stopped sharing my “sightings” with my family, but I assure you there were more false alarms. I was looking so hard – maybe too hard – to see what I wanted to see.
The next day we drove through Rocky Mountain National Park to soak in nature’s beauty. JT had the left side of the car covered, I had the right side, Rick was driving, and Brooke was reading and said, “Just tell me when I need to look at something.”
We were taking it all in: the water, the rocks, the trees, the pine beetle destruction, the clouds, the tundra, the snow. It was fun. And guess what? I saw a moose. I saw it in time to call it out and everyone in the car then saw it, too. A real live moose! I hadn’t imagined its nose would be so big. We slowed slightly as we passed by the huge creature.
I saw the moose when I stopped focusing solely on it. I had taken a break and un-zoomed/zoomed out from the bullseye. I was present and focused, but not on the moose specifically. I stopped trying so hard. And that’s when a moose’s path intersected mine.
And I also almost missed some important moments while looking for the moose so intently the day before. Like this one…
On the hike my daughter said, “I love you, Mom.”
After a pause to transition back into the realm of hiking with my family – and not that of the great moose hunter – I replied, “I love you, too.”
“You paused. Why?” Brooke asked.
“I was looking for a moose.”