Lee and I spent more than a week exploring Glacier National Park and the surrounding area, including Montana’s Flathead Lake area. Glacier National Park borders Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada—forming the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. The United Nations designated both parks as Biosphere Reserves in 1976, and as World Heritage sites in 1995.
One day, we crossed the Canadian border, drove to Waterton Village, and secured passage on the International Boat Cruise to Goat Haunt in Montana. The tour boat glided across the longest unguarded International Border in the world, visible as a strip of cleared forest climbing up and over a mountainside.
At the Goat Haunt Ranger Station, we had the option to hike for an hour or more, and then return to Waterton Village on the boat. Our guide said we would likely see moose on a particular trail. We eagerly set off. Soon I spotted a pile of poop. I pointed it out to Lee, saying that it must be moose droppings—although it certainly looked like horse. “But there are no horses in these woods,” I said.
Now, growing up in Arkansas, I did not have many opportunities to observe scat in our Ozark hillsides. Horse poop, I knew. Lee grew up in Memphis and spent most of his adult life in the Washington DC area, so his expertise even on horse piles was limited. However, he agreed that the plop looked like horse or mule droppings.
On we trekked, swatting mosquitoes on our necks, but determined to track a moose in the wild. After all, we had evidence right there on the path that he could not be far away—perhaps hiding amongst the trees or standing alongside a stream.
About an hour into our hike, we met a park ranger—astride a horse leading a pack mule. She totally blew our theory about the moose droppings. When we returned to Waterton Village, we toured the historic Prince of Wales Hotel, built in 1927, to lure tourists north of the border aboard the Great Northern Railway. In the gift shop, I spied a children’s book: Who Pooped in the Park? by Gary D. Robson. Considering this an ideal tool for teaching children about animal’s behavior and their diets, I checked out the illustrations for moose scat and other track identifications. Never mind the book is written for youngsters. As a former kindergarten teacher, I learn best on a child’s level. We should have bought the book before we hiked off into the wilds of northern Glacier National Park!
Traveling in their motorhome several months each year, Arline and her photographer husband, Lee Smith, make their permanent home in Heber Springs, Arkansas. She currently is a presenter for Workamper Rendezvous, sponsored by Workamper News. Arline has dozens of magazine articles published, as well as five books: “Road Work: The Ultimate RVing Adventure” (now available on Kindle); “Road Work II: The RVer’s Ultimate Income Resource Guide”; “Truly Zula; When Heads & Hearts Collide”; and “The Heart of Branson”, a history of the families who started the entertainment town and those who sustain it today. Visit Arline’s personal blog at ArlineChandler.Blogspot.com