These are the only moose we have seen. The kids and I have an ongoing bounty hunt. 10$ for the first one to see a live moose, payment upon verification by another set of eyes.
There was visible wildlife along the park road. At one point traffic was stopped in both directions by a female sheep. I was the first car downhill. The Sheep just kept running in the uphill lane and didn’t seem to know how to get off the highway but to run along with the cars, but none of the drivers knew to stop and let her figure out they weren’t trying to “herd” her. I put on the emergency blinkers and opened my door and got out. I walked downhill toward her and waved her off across the road to the uphill side where it appeared she wanted to head. Traffic resumed. About 200 meters past that, her youngling was trying to follow, behind the traffic. I saw it too late to stop at the speed going downhill, but it looked like after the backed up traffic stopped, that it would be able to cross.
A few miles down the road, I saw the above Cow Elk running alongside traffic (going about 30 MPH!) with us. Looked like she wanted to cross but couldn’t figure how to go across the slowed traffic stream that had formed alongside her. Nobody wanted to stop and wait, or thought to. Again, I stopped in the lane of traffic. The people ahead of me had kept going, maybe they hadn’t seen her, or known what to do, or understood her predicament or stressed behavior. So I stopped in the lane and put on my blinkers. She slowed down and then stopped and started climbing the hill where you see her. After a minute she stared grazing away from the road side. To me it seemed that she was going to wait to cross. Suddenly I saw a bright red BMW convertible coming up the lane behind me to pass along the stopped traffic. He was honking and yelling at me as he passed. I had pointed my arm out the window at the Elk so the cars behind me might be able to figure out why I had stopped. But he passed, fast, and shouted that I was a F-ing moron, holding up traffic, stopping in the road, idiot, something like that. Well, I’d feel worse for the Elk than his Beemer if there was a collision. A LOT worse for her.
The park is more visual that verbal so I’ll just show you what we saw:
We ended up not having a place to camp. Zack has as of yet been unable to go to a planetarium and I saw this on a bulletin board at the lower tram station:
…So of course I went online when I got to wifi to find out.
We got to see a planetarium show about local astronomical phenomenon as well as the universe at large. Afterwards we got a lecture about the Aurora Borealis, and got to handle meteors in a separate lecture. Finally, we got to see some stars and ring nebulae through their digital telescope setup. It was definitely not just basic information and we learned several things we didn’t know: Northern lights are primarily green because oxygen is most easily excited by the sun’s magnetic interference. The lower you are in the atmosphere, the less vivid the colors of the aurora will be. The sun is on the upswing of an 11 year cycle of magnetic activity. This will make the Aurora more visually dynamic. Contrary to Hollywood depictions, the magnetic disturbances from the sun can damage and alter our technology, but biologically, they do not pose any harm to Earth life, like plants, animals, or humans. Meteorites can be differentiated from earth rocks by being significantly heavier than surrounding rocks, as they contain much higher concentrates of metals, and can be detected by metal detectors. They also often have a burnt shell which is formed by the heat upon entry to our atmosphere. Smaller meteors (below a 1 km diameter) pose a lot of risk because they can’t be tracked by science, but the larger meteors, planet killer, can be tracked. The issue is that smaller meteors can still destroy a city’s worth of terrain without basically any warning. Also, the earth’s magnetic poles reversed in the late 1700’s. This means what we refer to as the north pole is ACTUALLY magnetically south. wow. That was a big brain dump, but there you have it!