May 30, 2011

Maine Monday 2: Moose encounters

Happy Memorial Day, everyone! I know, I know, it's pretty much over now. I hope everyone had a fun- and sun-filled weekend. We had ourselves a great cookout -- more on that Wednesday.

But first, it's time for the second installment of Maine Monday! I debuted this series last month: on the last Monday of the month, I share something about my home state of Maine. Just because I love it so much :) Last month, I featured lobster.

This month, it's another iconic Maine animal

         The moose...

You know, like Bullwinkle!

Okay, it's more like this, actually.


I've seen a few moose in my lifetime, mostly -- and thankfully -- from afar. I have a memory of camping when I was little, in the car, and seeing a moose only a few yards in front of us in the middle of the road. They are big, practically taller than a car, and I remember being awestruck and a little scared.

Most of the time we see the moose when we're camping in more rural areas, but my parents have spotted one in their backyard in their not-very-rural town of about 10,000 people. But it's not unheard of for a moose, especially younger ones, to be seen wandering through a downtown or a more populated area.

Last summer, a moose went to the beach in the coastal town of York. Imagine surfing and then seeing a moose running past!

Also last summer, a moose was on the loose in Portland, Maine's largest city of about 63,000. As this article from the local paper describes, police cruisers and game wardens chased the moose through downtown streets, trying to divert it from busy roads and the highway. And it took a dip in a pond at a local park. The city was buzzing with news of the moose's last known location, and many were hoping to catch a glimpse of it.

It might seem like moose are always running around, but really they're pretty elusive, so I always want to spot one when we go camping.

In 2007, the hubs (then-boyfriend) and I went up to Eustis, Maine, to meet up with his family for their annual camping trip, and found out that his mom had seen a moose the day before. I was so bummed! All weekend I kept saying how much I wanted to see a moose.

Be careful what you wish for...

Yes, we got a little-too up-close-and-personal with a girl moose on our drive home. Talk about scary. We came up over a hill and saw this cow moose running out of the woods across the road. I remember screaming uselessly as the hubs tried to stop and swerve to avoid her. She ended up literally tripping over the hood of his Jeep Cherokee, breaking the windshield with her head, rolling over the hood, hitting the ground and then taking off for the woods.

We were really shaken up, and the hubs had little cuts on his legs from the broken windshield, but luckily we were all right. People do get seriously hurt and killed in collisions with moose, and when the hubs called the insurance company to file a claim, the guy on the phone was incredulous that we were actually okay.

And so was the moose! The deputy who came to help us went looking for her, and said she was nowhere to be found. Usually an injured moose will run just far enough to be out of view, but won't keep going, so since he couldn't find her, he suspected she was fine ("except for a big headache").

Even the car was driveable -- just needed a new windshield and antenna. Holy cannoli, we lucked out!

The hubs left the dents in the hood because he thought they looked cool

We knew we were somewhere where moose collisions are frequent when the guy who saw the accident and stopped to "help" us only told us lots of trivia about moose, and how they like to run out of the woods really fast like that to escape the black flies. Then he drove away. Uh, thanks dude! Really helpful.

So, I learned my lesson not to wish too hard to see a moose. Watching one come at my face was enough for me.

So there you have it, the second edition of Maine Monday. Come back next month for something else about Vacationland. I'll try not to make it animal-themed this time... :)


Christina said...

Geez!!! And I'm scared of deer!

So glad everyone's OK...and the car wasn't toooo bad! You're so fortunate!

Anonymous said...

I've heard many stories about friends of friends getting into collisions with moose, but yours if the first for which I see pictures - crazy! It's incredible that you weren't hurt. Like you said, I prefer to see moose from afar and so far have been very lucky! (knocking on wood with crossed fingers right now...)