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[Image Description: Two MCC members taking a brief break; one is sitting on a rock, the other is standing nearby. They are both in their uniforms, looking out at the expansive, mountain view surrounding them.]

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Tim and Beauty, the Moose of Bighorn National Forest

A crew member jumps up into the air. In the background is a lake with the sun setting behind it.

What’s better than seeing a moose? Seeing TWO moose! Yes, you read that right, we saw two moose right by Lake Solitude this past week in Bighorn National Forest. Were they as great as the illustrations you’ve seen on TV and from the book, If You Give a Moose a Muffin? No - they were even better! Ten times better to be specific, in my subjective opinion.

As we were having our evening meeting, we hear a snap, crackle, and pop (shout-out to the Rice Krispies jingle) to our right. We turn our heads and get up from our tree stumps to access the scene. Was a curious hiker wanting to join our engrossing evening meeting? Was it a bear to eat all our peach rings? Perhaps a fish who needs help back to the lake? No! It was a flippin’ moose. All I could think of at that moment was all the episodes of Keeping Up the Kardashians that I never watched and how this was ten times better.

One of our crew members, Tim, has an affinity for moose. He loves moose. You thought you loved cream cheese on your everything bagel? The love Tim has for moose is larger than the love you have for cream cheese on your everything bagel. The love Tim has for moose is ten times stronger than your love for cream cheese on your everything bagel.

Tim gets down on one knee, naturally, and salutes the wonderous moose. In case you’re wondering, we did not name the moose. But if I could choose, I’d probably name her Beauty. Because she was uh, beautiful.

Remember the second sentence when I said we saw two moose? The second moose we hypothesized was Beauty’s endearing partner. We finish our engrossing evening meeting, say our goodnights, and as we look into the magical sunset on our way to our tents, we see a moose with antlers! Unfortunately, I did not bring my glasses and my eyes get worse at night and I was not wearing contacts, so things were a bit blurry for me and I couldn’t quite make out the antlers with my eyeballs, but this is not about me, this is about the moose…alas, there was another moose with antlers! Let’s name this second moose, Tim, after Tim from our crew, the one with an affinity for moose. Tim, the moose, and Beauty made direct eye contact with us, probably thinking, “I feel curious and confused as these vertical things look at me in awe.” And as we look back, we think, "How lucky are we to see two moose in the span of one evening?!"

As I looked over to the sunset setting over Lake Solitude, displaying lovely orange and pink hues, and as I think of Tim and Beauty who roam Bighorn National Forest, and as I get into my warm sleeping bag, I think, “How lucky am I?” Pretty flippin' lucky.

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