WALLA WALLA -- It was thought at first that the three moose that caused numerous road detours and closures today on the south end of town made their way down from the Blues sometime in the early mornings hours.
It is also likely, Fish and Wildlife Officer Mike Johnson said, that they came from the very area they ended up in, Cottonwood Creek.
One thing is for sure, their presence brought awareness that Walla Walla is a small city surrounded by what is predominately rural and sometimes wild land.
"I came to get my kids out to school and my son was like 'that's a horse. That's a little horse.' And I said, 'No. I think that's a moose,'" said Anthony Williams, a resident of Plaza Estates mobile home park, 1809 Plaza Way.
Sometime around dawn, residents said the cow and two calves ambled their way through the trailer park, then settled on the lawn of the south wing of Quail Run Retirement Home, 1701 Plaza Way, which is where Williams and his family encountered the wild beasts.
Police officers, sheriff's deputies and Fish and Wildlife officers were called in to herd the three back to the Blues. It was speculated by some that a railroad track running east behind the trailer part was most likely how the moose made it so far in town.
And a couple hours later, the moose were herded east along the tracks and toward the Blues.
But even the best laid plans of moose and men often go awry.
Up ahead on Whitman Road, a utility crew was unaware of the plight of cow and calves. Though no one, except the mother moose herself, can say for sure why, the cow turned abruptly south and headed down John Court. Her calves, like small children often do, poked behind her, distracted by every noise, movement and gawking bystander.
Eventually, all three settled on an empty lot with a Coldwell Banker sign on it, perhaps inspecting a the view of the Blues, which was enough for a cow that stood an estimated 7 feet tall.
There trapped in a mostly undeveloped cul-de-sac, with a small vineyards and a bluff at the end, where the three would spend their next half-hour.
Staged at a critical outlet to the southeast was Walla Walla County Sheriff's Sgt. Kent Boyd, who was heard to say, " I think we should stay tight. We have four wildlife guys out there. I think they can come up with a game plan."
According to deputies, the game plan would not involve a tranquilizer gun because the only person with the authorization and gun was in Spokane. But it should be noted that this could not be verified by Fish and Wildlife personnel, as they were busy trying to herd a cow and two calves.
What the game plan did include were Fish and Game personnel armed with paint guns, ready to scare the mother and calves in the right direction, which was supposed to have been southeast toward the Blues.
Perhaps the towering mother caught a glimpse of a great expanse of green lawns, because rather than head back out the cul-de-sac and turn east, she headed west over a backyard, across Plaza Way and onto the green.
It was quite a sight for Kim Joseph and her dog Sunny, especially since her house had the perfect view, as it looks over the bluff at the dead end of John Court.
"He's been growling at them for a while," Joseph said about Sunny.
The two watched through the glass window of their back desk, as the cow seemed to step over what looked like a 5-foot fence. The calves had to do more of a jump.
Eventually, they made it to the golf course, across the green and into a hay field, heading toward the highway.
But eventually, Fish and Wildlife officers rerouted the moose south across Highland Road, Taumarson Road and beyond, so that eventually around noon they ended up back at Cottonwood Creek.