Story and Photos by Jean Kepler Ross
“Brake for Moose - it could save your life” - the road sign in Maine promised. My cousin Julie and I toured New England in the Fall and we were excited at the prospect of viewing moose. Unfortunately, they were proving to be elusive.
The road signs were encouraging: “Moose - next 3,000 feet,” “Moose next 4,000 feet,” and “Moose - next 9 miles.” Finally, we saw a moose: a metal moose sculpture hiding in the grove of trees next to a scenic waterfall in Rumford, Maine. I began quizzing the locals to find out how we could maximize our chances of seeing the actual animal.
Innkeepers in Bethel, Maine, reported once sighting a moose in their backyard. It was looking in their window at their son, who was watching television. So we gazed endlessly through our hotel window, but no luck. We saw a billboard in Bethel promoting a three-hour guided tour to search for moose at dawn. We were very motivated, and we were sure a guide would help us in our quest, but we wanted to do it without losing sleep and turning into zombies.
As time passed, we started to doubt the signs. “Moose Crossing - 2 Miles” - if only. We spotted a flock of wild turkeys and a road-killed red fox and got a whiff of a skunk.
Our waitress at a cafe in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, told us, “You never know where or when you’ll see one. They’re not afraid of cars. If you see one on the road, stay back as far as you can to watch it; if you go close, they might charge you.” She told us that one had recently appeared right in front of her in the woods while she was riding a four-wheeler on trails. She added that she’s seen moose many times. This village is near Moose River, and the name made us hopeful, but although we looked everywhere, we didn’t see one.