I never would have figured that coming across a moose in the wild would be so difficult. I mean, they’re not exactly inconspicuous creatures after all. I also had mathematics firmly on my side. With all of the time that I have spent tramping through the White Mountains of New Hampshire, probability says that it would only be a matter of time. Moose crossing signs abound and they even go as far as to put a moose on the license plate. It turned out to be a lesson in probability, alright. If you flip a coin one hundred times then there is the chance that you’ll get heads every time and never see your moose!
For years I have been putting myself in places where moose should be. There have been many early morning hikes to quite marshes and lakes in moose country without even a glimpse of the beast. I’ve seen countless tracks in the mud and snow and even followed these into the bush to no avail. Where were they all hiding??
Then things became frustrating. It was like everyone around me was seeing moose but me. First a friend of mine from MIT saw two moose on the side of the road on his first ever trip to NH. It was dumb luck. Then I went on a weekend camping trip with some college friends and two of my buddies came upon a moose while spotting a car for our through hike on the Presidential Range. Where was I? Back at the campsite pitching the tents, of course. Finally, the third moose sighting of the season came while on the approach trail for an afternoon of rock climbing at Square Ledge. Literally our entire group basically tripped over a moose while crossing a small stream near the trail head. Where was I? Well, nature had called in another way.
I had given up hope. I was the anti-moose and I came to terms with the fact that the closest I would come to seeing a moose would be the big, stuffed, cartoon moose that greets you at the entrance of the Woodstock Inn and Station. That was until Meaghan and I booked our first trip to Alaska. If we didn’t see a moose there…
Alaska would not disappoint. Moose are well established even within the city limits of Anchorage and my chances of a sighting were so much better than they had ever been. The day after we landed, our lovely hostess Maura took us to the Eagle River Nature Center for our first hike of the trip. It was there, literally 5 minutes into the hike that we came across two bull moose munching in the bush. They were so big, their racks were so impressive, and the encounter was so everything I had expected it would be: amazing! We saw dozens of moose throughout the trip; enough to cover a lifetime of hiking in NH without another sighting.