WILDLIFE -- Early Sunday morning, Ken Mondal of Spokane took advantage of the fresh powder and for a snowshoe hikeup the East Ridge of Iller Creek to Big Rocks, an excellent public natural area west of the Dishman-Mica Road.
Coming around a switchback on the new trail constructed by local volunteers under the guidanc of the Washington Trails Associaion, Mondal said he was astonished and delighted to be staring directly into the eyes of three bull moose.
"Two of them had fairly large racks," he said. "Remembering that moose kill more people in Alaska than brown bears I decided to keep a safe distance. They didn't seem much bothered by my presence and went about their business of feeding and doing some nonchalant head butting. I watched them for about 30 minutes and then proceeded up the ridge."
The bulls were still hanging around the old burn area when Mondal came back down the route an hour or more later.
"Winter is a time for wildlife to enjoy some peace and quiet," said Mondal, who's involved with WTA and other local conservation groups that have made the Iller Creek-Big Rock-Dishman Hills natural areas a place for all to enjoy.
"I hope hikers can respect that and keep their dogs on a leash."