MindFire Press

Moose Everywhere!

Maine Hiker's Journal

Season 3 (2015) 

Chapter 16: Moose Everywhere!

 

On another beautiful day in June, I returned to Baxter State Park for yet another hike up the Hunt Trail (the final leg of the Appalachian Trail). I enjoyed the first part of the hike to Katahdin Stream Falls, but did not get as far as I had hoped to. It seemed that after a 5 hour ride I didn’t have much energy left for hiking. C’est la vie. So, I switched to plan B, which was to continue my search for a Maine moose.  

I have seen a Maine moose before. One passed by my friend and me once while we waited for a tennis court in my home town of Sanford, Maine many decades ago. It had come down the hill, presumably from the apple orchards, and crossed the Maine street on a busy Saturday morning on its way to Gowen Park and, I imagine, a cool drink and a good meal of pond vegetation. I wanted to find a moose in Baxter that was not on the move so I could observe it more closely. This, my fifth trip to Baxter, was to be my lucky day.

On my way from Katahdin Steam Campground (the location of the trailhead for the Hunt Trail) to Roaring Brook Campground late in the afternoon, I took a quick peak at Stump Pond as I drove by on the park road. A ranger had told me on my first visit that moose were often sighted there, but I had not seen one yet, although I had stopped to look on my previous visits. This time, however, there was what I took to be a female moose right in the middle of the small pond. When she saw me, she bolted for the far bank. Fortunately for me, she stopped as soon as she had reached the shore. By then, I had parked and made my way to a lookout with my camera at the ready. The result was my first photos of a Maine moose. I was thrilled!

I decided to leave this poor creature in peace and continue on to my destination, Sandy Stream Pond. Known as an iconic moose location, this beautiful pond is nestled at the foot of the back bowls of Mount Katahdin. Not really expecting to see anything, other than another hiker or two, I was surprised and delighted to find a gaggle of folks armed with some serious camera equipment and, yes, a good sized male moose, who seemed as oblivious to everyone, although we were no more than 100 to 150 feet from it. What a contrast to the skittish female at Stump Pond. As the photos in the slideshow below indicate, this was a place and a moose worth seeing. [To move from one slide to the next, just click the directional arrow on the side of the picture.] 

When I left, the photographers were still chatting and snapping, and the moose, unperturbed, was still munching. Thus was a day that started somewhat disappointingly, given my low level of energy and motivation to hike the rugged Hunt trail, turned into a memorable outing, and I had the memories and the photos to prove it.

Click Peary Mountain to read the next chapter.

Click Maine Hiker's Journal to return to the home page of the journal.

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