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Photos: Alaska moose in the fall rut

A bull moose feeding in Powerline Pass during the rut, or mating season. October 12, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Bull moose in Powerline Pass during the rut, or mating season. October 12, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Bull moose sparring in Powerline Pass during the rut, or mating season. October 12, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
A female moose in Powerline Pass during the rut, or mating season. October 12, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Bull moose sparring in Powerline Pass during the rut, or mating season. October 12, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Bull moose sparring in Powerline Pass during the rut, or mating season. October 12, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
A large bull moose keeps watch over a group of four females in Powerline Pass during the rut, or mating season. October 12, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
A bull moose feeding in Powerline Pass during the rut, or mating season. October 12, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
A bull moose resting in Powerline Pass during the rut, or mating season. October 12, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Two female moose in Powerline Pass during the rut, or mating season. October 12, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
A bull moose feeding in Powerline Pass during the rut, or mating season. October 12, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
A bull moose resting in Powerline Pass during the rut, or mating season. October 12, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Loren Holmes

The Middle Fork Loop Trail and Powerline Pass trail are the best places in Alaska to watch rutting moose. Much better than Denali National Park. And much closer to most residents. Sometimes a little too close. I had to jerk my pepper spray off my belt and slip the safety off when a bull started chasing a cow and stopped 10 yards from us to rattle his antlers in a bush. My friend said he’d never seen a large animal move so fast.

The moose aren’t going anywhere soon. Park at the Glen Alps trailhead. Walk about a quarter mile to the Powerline Pass Trail and glass for moose in the valley below. I’ve counted as many as 30 at once, but most of the moose are out of sight most of the time. Spend a little time walking the trails. Bring a camera. But don’t do anything stupid -- like trying to get too close or stepping between a bull and one of his cows. And carry a can of pepper spray.

More from Rick Sinnott: Paradise for watching an Alaska moose up close