(click play to watch video or open in YouTube)
These guys give an entirely new meaning to Chocolate Mousse.
Picture a thousand-pound creature slogging through a giant bowl of chocolate pudding and eating as it goes. Then you’ll have a good idea of what it’s like to watch the amazing mud-munching moose of Mount Engadine Lodge in Alberta, Canada.
Moose are the largest members of the deer family in the entire world, and yet they can be surprisingly difficult to see. So how do you go about finding a huge secretive beast who likes to hide in dense forest? Well if you’re in the Canmore/Kananaskis area of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, then your best bet is to spend a night at the Mount Engadine Lodge. Located in a remote valley south of Canmore in the Spray Valley Provincial Park, the lodge rests above a very special meadow where moose behave in a somewhat strange manner.
Just below the spacious viewing deck is a large muddy pit that happens to contain a special mineral called Selenium. The moose require this mineral to stay healthy and somehow know to find it in this soil. Each morning at sunrise, several moose materialize out of the fog, cross the meadow, and slosh their way into their favorite spots in the mud pit, sometimes sinking right up to their bellies, just to nibble bits of dirt and swallow it up.
It’s a bewildering sight and sometimes highly entertaining as huge bulls and young calves alike navigate the mucky mess. We spent three nights at the lodge and set our alarm for 6:30 AM. Each morning we discovered a different set of moose swimming in mud. The first morning we saw a large bull with bloody antlers that had freshly shed their velvet, along with his friendly female companion. After a long munch they wandered off together into the woods. The second morning we saw two cows very early, followed by a mother and her calf. And this morning we sighted a loan cow, then another mother with calf. This is predictable moose watching at its finest.
Moose aren’t the only creatures you can see in the area. I saw a curious coyote wander up the driveway in the middle of the day. Numerous bird species frequent the area. Bighorn sheep are common in the rocky passes to the south, and the occasional bear or wolf may wander right across the meadow.
Staying at Mount Engadine Lodge
When you aren’t out hiking the many trails in the area, enjoy a steam in the sauna or stuff your face with amazing food prepared fresh each day in the lodge. The two-course breakfast is followed by a buffet to build your own bag lunch for your daily adventures. Come back around 3 for afternoon tea which includes cheeses, olives, chips, dips, fruits, and a wide array of scrumptious desserts. But make sure to save room for a big home-cooked dinner served at 7PM family style in the spacious dining area that looks out across the valley. All this comes complimentary with your stay in the lodge.
The rooms are recently remodeled and tastefully decorated. The large cozy common areas are patrolled by the sweet and friendly Nala, Mount Engadine’s resident black and white cat. (The rocking chair is her favorite bed.) The managers Chris and Shari-Lynn Williams are always available to answer your questions with a wealth of local knowledge. And be sure to ask them about their own fascinating story as Gypsy Innkeepers.
(Click to see a video tour of Mount Engadine Lodge or watch on youtube)
If you’re looking for moose in Alberta and want to have a comfortable and filling stay along the way, definitely consider spending a night or two at Mount Engadine. For more information about the Mount Engadine Lodge, visit their website MountEngadine.com
For more information about visiting the Canmore /Kananaskis area, check out TourismCanmore.com
Disclosure: Though lodging was provided in consideration for this article, the opinions expressed herein are entirely our own.