Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Moose Sightings

Moose 4
Originally uploaded by roclwyr.
The first live moose I saw was the July 4th weekend of 1973 at the base of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. My wife, her sister and I had just finished dinner at the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Pinkham Notch facility. We planned to hike up the mountain the next morning but just wanted to get some legs under us after driving to the White Mountains from New Jersey. The short trail across the street that looped around a pond looked easy enough.

Enjoying a lovely July evening, we were softly talking about our plans for the next few days. The trail passed close to the water’s edge and the pond’s surface was still. Here and there clumps of head high alders anchored on the banks leaned out over the water. As we rounded one of these clumps a massive head lifted up, water pouring off the muzzle and water plants hanging out of both sides of the mouth. No more than ten yards from us a cow moose—all but the very top of her neck and, of course, her head submerged beneath the water’s surface—munched her dinner.

What made this especially interesting—we were not the first to pass this way. At least a dozen other people had walked down this trail before us. None had noticed the 1,000-plus pound animal. We stood and watched as she ducked her head again and again, coming up each time with a mouth full of greens. Not wanting to disturb her any longer, we went on our way. She remained in that area of the pond and could still be seen from the far side as we completed our cycle.

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