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Down the Road

Moose tales
By Milton M. Gross
Aug 3, 2014 - 6:30:53 AM

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I have found tales (not tails) about moose to be favorites of both Maine residents and visitors to our moose-populated state.

My two most recent moose sightings were both in or bordering Acadia National Park, both from a road. So if you're scouting for the big, dumb beasties, my advice is to stay right on the roads, unless you enjoy puckerbrushing. (But puckerbrushing can be noisy, which tends to cause moose to puckerbrush away from where you're puckerbrushing.)

One driveway on property that borders the park is off the road I drive my bus each day. I saw a moose standing about 50 yards up that drive one morning, and several months later I saw another. Maybe they were showing off. Maybe they both just happened to be at the same spot on different days.

But seeing moose no longer surprises me, as did my first one when my father and I walked into Sandy Stream Pond in Baxter State Park and came across a cow moose about 50 feet ahead of us. Now moose interest me but no longer offer that big wildlife surprise.

Last fall I was driving a bus along the Acadia National Park Loop Road, and came across another cow walking across the road ahead of me. I stopped, and so did she. Then she did what any other self-respecting Acadia moose would do, continued across the road and wandered into the woods.

But she became a real surprise for the passenger from New Jersey. We had been chatting about moose later that day, when I told her about my Mama Moose sighting. I described the cow moose as a cow. The passenger didn't say much until I mentioned the cow to another passenger a bit later.

"Oh," commented the New Jersey passenger, "I thought you meant a cow, like a dairy cow."

Come on, Maam, how many dairy cows do you think roam the Maine woods?

Once driving a bus past Seawall Campground, one of two national park campgrounds, I glanced at a field to my left. There was a very big Mama Moose, probably overdue, as it was the overdue-baby part of her anatomy that was so big. She didn't tell me she was having a health problem. Actually, I didn't ask. What kind of a bus driver talks to moose? Besides me.

Another kind of surprised me, but it was, I'm sure, because I was new to Maine. I was driving to a school where I was teaching near Bridgton, when I saw a lot of cars stopped alongside the road and people standing on the roadside staring. Always curious about a staring crowd, I too stopped and stared. I found myself staring at a bit bull moose a short distance into a field.

That stop and stare made me late for school, and when I explained to the principal why I was late, he commented, "Seeing a moose is the only excuse for being late in Maine."

That taught me a valuable lesson about the labor situation in Maine. If you're late to work, you know what to say.

Keeping this narrative fairly short without too many moose tales, I was driving home late one night, and as I rounded a corner, there was a BB (big Bullwinkle) standing a short distance ahead with his rear end facing my little Ford. I turned off the headlights, which all the seeing-moose handbooks highly recommend unless you enjoy Bullwinkle charging your Ford or whatever breed you're driving.

Pause a minute or so, then turn the headlights on again. Now Bullwinkle had reversed directions, had his head somewhat lowered, and was scraping the road just as he would be doing in any good cartoon. I quickly doused the headlights and backed up...a fairly dangerous activity on a dark curved road at night. I stopped after bit and turned the lights on again.

Bullwinkle was gone.

There is a moose I like. It's nerve wracking seeing one not far from your car or body, should you be walking. It's petrifying seeing a Bullwinkle charging your car or walking toward your body when your body is afoot.

It's great when the big guy disappears and leaves you unscathed. That's the moose I like.

I really enjoy being unscathed.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at lesstraveledway@roadrunner.com.

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2014


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