Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Lure of the Moose and the Beautiful Mountains

View from on top of Mount Cannan, New Hampshire
with the Green Mountains of Vermont in the distance.
Betsy and I have spent a wonderful 3 ½ months in Maine and were very sad to leave. In order to avoid the culture shock that was to be expected by departing Maine, we parked ourselves in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. We wanted to spend numerous days hiking in the thousands of acres of park and forest lands that were available to us.
As a wildlife biologist, I enjoy seeing wildlife in their natural setting so my hiking motivation was backed by my desire to see a moose in the wild. We figured our greatest chances were at Baxter State Park. Time and time again we heard, “everyone sees a moose at Baxter.” I went online to read park and trail reviews – what were people seeing, where, what time of day, etc. We talked to rv’ers and other hikers who had been there, interrogated the park rangers, and stopped at the visitor center to read the wildlife sighting reports. I researched moose feeding habits and habitat preferences and picked our trails according to our information (because as scientists we are trained to base decisions on data and not speculation). We set out early on our hikes with plenty of food and water, a trail map, and a fully charged camera that was always within reach in my pocket. We hiked for miles and saw some of the most awesomely spectacular scenery….mountain vistas, waterfalls, rushing rapids, dense forest, lakes, streams….everything the park has to offer except a moose. In fact, our most interesting wildlife sightings were red squirrels.

Looked like good moose habitat
to me.
We hiked the trail around this pond (Daicey Pond)
because many hikers reported seeing moose here.
Nope, not us!
I looked long and hard along the streams as we were
driving.....because "everybody" sees a moose
along Route 302.
But, I was not dismayed because there were still five days in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Another stunningly beautiful piece of this country that is preserved as state parks and national forest lands (in fact, the White Mountains National Forest is the most visited National Forest in the country). My hopes of seeing a moose were uplifted by the many moose crossing signs that were placed along every stretch of road. After the  “Moose Crossing Next 3 Miles” sign expired there was a “Moose Crossing Next 2 Miles” only to be followed again by another moose crossing sign. Things were really looking up and if we weren’t going to see them hiking, we certainly were going to see them along the road. Our campground neighbors saw one along the road every day they were there. So we hiked and drove; and hiked and drove; and never saw a moose. I was sorely disappointed. Betsy felt my disappointment and offered to take me to a zoo. Not a viable alternative. Our conclusion is that “Moose Crossing” signs are not to warn drivers of impending doom but simply erected to promote tourism. If you go to this region, we hope you have more success in spotting a moose in the wild than we did.
I am not sure why this sign is necessary!  Who in their right mind would not stop their car for a 500-700
pound, long-legged, large-bodied animal that may have a exceptionally large rack of antlers?

2 comments:

  1. "Hundreds of collisions" is there to get you excited. Sorry it was a moose-free visit.

    ReplyDelete
  2. walking here with a smile. take care.. have a nice day ~ =D

    Regards,
    http://www.lonelyreload.com (A Growing Teenager Diary) ..

    ReplyDelete

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