Guess who I met on my first day in Fort St. John?

I just arrived this morning in Fort St. John for my week as writer-in-residence at Charlie Lake Elementary and decided to take a Sunday afternoon walk—only to encounter a giant momma moose and her little calf!

I actually saw the calf first and approached as quietly as possible to snap the photo below. Then a soft sound from my left made me turn to see the simply enormous momma watching me somewhat suspiciously from the brush. I decided I wouldn’t get much closer after that!

Baby moose near Charlie Lake.

Mamma moose near Charlie Lake.

In my time in Vancouver, I’ve been fortunate enough to encounter many a critter along the city’s famous seawall: seals, an otter, and once even a gray whale, only a few hundred feet from shore. But this is the biggest four-legged animal I’ve ever encountered on an afternoon walk!

By the way, we’re still in the last clutches of winter up here. It’s quite warm, but the lake is still frozen over. The last time I was here, June 2010, we were able to go boating. Not this time!

Charlie Lake.

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