For a long time, I have been wanting to see a moose.
Not in a zoo, but in the wild… or what passes for "wild" in this area. I have heard other people's stories about seeing mooses -- Steve Lavigne says they are fairly regular visitors to his neighborhood in Maine. I've seen many a deer, but never a moose.
One of Emily's favorite children's books when she was young was Jan Brett's "Annie and the Wild Animals", and in it a girl makes corn muffins and feeds them to various animals, including a moose. Em was, for some reason, really into the moose thing, and I think it may have influenced me. I recall that when we would drive around in the more rural areas out here, we would look at every pond and marsh and swamp to see it there might be one of these majestic creatures lurking within.
Well, a couple of days ago Jeannine and I decided to take a day trip up to Williamstown to see the Camille Pissarro show at the Clark Art Museum, and also do a bicycle ride on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail which stretches from Adams to Pittsfield. We weren't sure which to do first, so, to give us more time to ponder the options as well as optimally situate ourselves so we could go either way at the last minute, I decided to take Route 116 up to Adams instead of going the usual way to Williamstown, which would be to head up to the Mohawk Trail and go through North Adams.
And I'm REALLY glad I did.
Because as we were driving through Plainfield, past a small swamp which extended on both sides of the road, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye on the north side. Could it be…?
I slowed down, looked back, and sure enough -- it was a moose!
As quickly as I could, trying not to lock up my brakes and noisily SCREECH to a moose-frightening stop, I did a three point turn in the middle of the road, and eased the car onto the verge of the road as close to the moose as I dared, about thirty feet away. I fumbled with my camera, trying to get it out before the beast got spooked and left. Fortunately, not much fumbling was required, and rolling down my window, I got several decent shots.
The moose did not appear to be overly nervous about us being there… it just kept dipping its large head into the water of the swamp and pulling up various dripping water plants, which it casually munched on.
It wasn't until another driver also stopped to peer at the moose that it apparently decided it was time to seek another place to eat, and ambled off into the woods, doing that amazing thing that large wild beasts can often do -- within a few seconds it was lost to sight in the dappled shade of the trees.
As Jeannine put it later, "That's one more thing you can cross off on your "bucket list"!" -- PL