Sometimes getting up at 4 a.m. can be worth the sacrifice of a few hours of sleep. It was today.
Sharon is back from her trip to northern California. She suggested that we meet at her home in central Boulder at 5 a.m. to drive up to the Brainard Lake Recreation Area for a hike around Long Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness just south of Rocky Mountain National Park.
We did. This is one of my favorite places to hike, but it’s so high in the Rockies that trails aren’t free from snow until late July, and I hadn’t been there since July 2012.
This morning was sunny, warming up from about 50° to the mid-50s by the time we left the wilderness. I needed the down jacket that I wore.
But first as we approached Brainard Lake, the central one of the five major lakes in the area, we noticed a half dozen cars stopped on the road. We knew that this meant only one thing: moose in the willows.
We jumped out and started shooting. The time was just after 6 a.m. The moose were close and mostly unobstructed by vegetation. With the early morning light was at our backs, it couldn’t have been better.
Click on the picture above to enlarge
We kept on photographing the moose for an hour and one-half. First it was three older males eating a delicious breakfast of fresh willow shoots. I wouldn’t be surprised if they also eat the willow bark whenever they have a headache, since it’s the natural source of salicin, which is chemically similar to aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid).