Celebrating the Autumn Equinox in the Adirondacks

Mr. Bull Moose Joins the Fall Fun in the Wilmington Notch

Adirondack Autumn Equinox Moose 2012

This bull moose spent most of his first day of fall in the Adirondacks standing in the West Branch of the Ausable River in Wilmington.

Adirondack first day of fall 2012

The view from the Autumn Equinox morning run.

Autumn in the Adirondacks got off to a great start with an early morning trail run in the crisp mountain air followed by an afternoon of watching one of my favorite Adirondack animals, a bull moose.

The sun was just starting to lose his battle with the clouds when the resident biologist was called to a section of NY State Route 86 that runs along the West Branch of the Ausable River between Lake Placid and Wilmington known as “the notch.” Concerned citizens had reported a moose was stuck in the River.

Adirondack Autumn Equinox Moose 2012 2

Upon arrival, Ed found not only a bull moose wading in the water, but also a crowd of moose watchers on the narrow section of highway along with the requisite stopped and slow moving cars,  NY State Police and NY State Department of Environmental (NYSDEC) Conservation Officers.

Moose Watching in the Adirondacks

Moose watching in the Adirondacks.

Mr. Bull Moose chose an extremely dangerous and narrow section of road for his Equinox appearance. The NY State Police had their hands full with traffic control. As usual, they patiently worked hard to keep people from killing themselves and each other.

Officials were concerned for his safety because the animal was exhibiting unusual behavior for a moose: he stood nearly stationary with river water rushing around his ankles for hours.  The goal of the NYSDEC moose biologist, otherwise known as Adirondack Lifestyle resident biologist Ed Reed, was to get the moose moving to determine if the he was seriously injured or sick. Naturally, Mr. Moose chose the far side of the rushing river for his soak and it was clear a simple “Shoo- shoo, git!” and a few stones tossed in his direction was not going to work.

Adirondack Autumn Equinox Moose 2012 3

Moose sport a lovely neck decoration called a bell. A moose’s bell is composed of skin and hair and hangs from the moose’s neck. The boys have a bigger bell.

When NYSDEC side-kick and technician Ben Tabor hit him with a few paint balls, Mr. Moose moved to avoid the annoying stings, and showed everyone he was not badly injured or ill, he was just chilling out in the river.

Adirondack Moose Paint Ball

When the moose ran to avoid the paint balls, Ed was able to tell he seemed to be slightly favoring a rear leg. Ed’s opinion was the moose  may have slipped on a river rock, sprained an ankle, and was using a little hydrotherapy; soaking his leg in the river to reduce the pain and swelling. Once again, as is so often the case in our stories of wild animal/human interactions, everything was going just fine until the humans got involved.

Adirondack Moose Paint Ball 2

“Thanks, I just got this winter coat back from the cleaner’s!”



  1. Penny McNally

    As always, great story Joann!

  2. Joann

    Thank you Penny!

  3. Karissa

    Great article but pathetic that this happened!

  4. Joann

    Thanks, and yes ‘pathetic’ is a good word for this.

  5. Denise Erenstone

    I confess to being a blog dummy. How do I sign up to read your blogs consisttently?

  6. Joann

    Hi Denise! You can bookmark the address, or if you use RSS feeds, you can use the orange striped button at the top of this page and add this blog to your list. You can also like it on Facebook and if you use Facebook, you’ll get the new posts in your Facebook news feed.
    Let’s hike!

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