Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Local Man Held Captive on Impromptu Wildlife Spotting Adventure

Lisa Wagner, Gunflint Trail, MN — On Monday night, Gunflint Trail resident Ted Young was taken against his will on an impromptu wildlife spotting adventure sponsored by his wife, Barbara Young, who was piloting the family Subaru home from a delicious dinner at the Gunflint Bistro. (Mrs. Young had drawn the short straw, and as such was the designated driver of the party of three, which included Lisa Wagner who was visiting from St. Paul).

The first indignity suffered occurred as Mrs. Young passed two fox kits on the south side of the Gunflint Trail, which necessitated a U-turn to allow further investigation. Mr. Young protested vaguely from the backseat, but soon found himself looking at two “cute” and “darling” fox kits, no larger than house cats. He grumbled accordingly and the incident passed without further comment.

Not long after that, as the party approached the Iron Lake campground turnoff, a car was spotted in the oncoming lane, driving zero miles per hour. Noting this as a sure sign of moose on the Gunflint Trail, Mrs. Young slowed the car and indeed, in the swamp on the right, there was a bull moose grazing on the aquatic plants. Its antlers were covered in a rich chocolate-colored velvet that matched its coat, and Mrs. Young and Ms. Wagner were most taken with the sight. The Subaru was now going zero miles per hour as the crew gazed at the bull moose, not ten yards away.

“Jeez, Barbara, get going,” implored Mr. Young. “I’ve seen a thousand moose.”

“Dozens,” she said. “Not thousands.”

“Ten thousand,” he retorted. “Now get going before people think we’re tourists.”

Just about then, a second bull moose was spotted in the same area. Groans ensued from the back seat. The front seat passengers were all the more delighted with the wildlife bonanza.

As if things couldn’t get worse, not a mile further down the Trail, another car was spotted in the opposite lane, also going zero miles per hour. The passing glance revealed a cow moose dipping her head into the water for another mouthful of weeds, and at the first opportunity, Mrs. Young turned the car around to go back for a better look.

Mr. Young’s protests became nearly unbearable. “Barbara! Please! Let’s just go home. This is EMBARRASSING.”

To which Mrs. Young replied, “Damn it, Ted…you KNOW you like seeing these moose as much as I do. OK, I am coming back tomorrow night and I’ll smear mud on the license plates so no one will recognize us, but I gotta’ see this.”

Ms. Wagner, equally eager for the opportunity to see the moose cow, encouraged Mrs. Young to make another U-turn.
Upon closer investigation, the cow moose did have a calf in tow, just a few yards behind her. So, make that (by Mr. Young’s count) 4 foxes, 2 bull moose, 2 cow moose and 1 calf, (since two of these animal pairs had been spotted twice).

Mr. Young slouched down in the back seat and tried his best to become invisible. The indignity of it all was just too much for him.

After admiring the moose cow and calf, Mrs. Young put the vehicle in gear and proceeded home.

Mr. Young became somewhat hysterical as he recounted the sightings of “at least 27 moose and a dozen foxes,” and “an extra 20 minutes” that was added to the drive.

He was taken home, and spared any further humiliation of U-turns or stopping in traffic, and was administered two medicinal shots of cognac. He is expected to be fine tomorrow morning.

At last sight, Mrs. Young and Ms. Wagner were applying mud to the license plates of the Subaru and plotting to be back at the swamp the next evening about 9:00 (with a camera this time). They will leave Mr. Young home.




Just to make a point! One does not need to drive back and forth along the Gunflint Trail to view wildlife as Mrs Young egged on by Ms Wager did. The next morning after their miss guided wildlife tour, wasting my time and I might add expensive gasoline, a moose walked through the back yard no further then ten feet from our B&B's back door, up our side steps and out our driveway. Then this morning I was greeted by a fox touring our back yard. Both were common wildlife events, neither requiring wasting my time nor gasoline. Ted Young


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