Politics Magazine

Wild Moose Chase

Posted on the 02 December 2023 by Steveawiggins @stawiggins

I don’t remember the details, but I’m pretty sure we didn’t ask permission.  It was summer and a seminary friend and I were going camping in Maine.  You see, Maine has always been my favorite state.  Not only does it have dramatic cliffs over the gray north Atlantic, it’s also home to moose.  I always wanted to see a moose in the wild.  So I talked a friend into camping in Maine so we could see a moose.  He was from North Carolina and hadn’t ever seen one either—moose are limited to the very northern states in the US, those that border Canada.  Like many seminary students, I worked during the summer, but weekends were made for Maine.  We trundled up into the wooded part (the largest part) of the state, and drove up an old logging road that looked like it hadn’t been used for quite a long time, and set up a tent.  We didn’t see any moose, though.

A few weeks later I was able to persuade my friend to try again.  This time we drove to Mooselookmeguntic Lake.  We stayed at a proper campground.  The very name of the place means “moose feeding place.”  We saw no moose.  The next morning we asked the park ranger if they we around that area.  “I saw two on my way home last night,” he said.  So it often is in life.  Things abundant to the locals are exotic to those from elsewhere.  I never did see a moose in Maine until my honeymoon many years later.  They are elusive creatures, large but shy, particularly around those “not from around here.”  Eventually my path crossed those of the majestic moose.  Mostly in Idaho.

Wild Moose Chase
An Idaho moose

What’s behind my moose obsession?  I can’t really say.  I first became consciously aware of moose as a teenager and I knew that we didn’t have them in Pennsylvania (there are still, however, a few elk left in the state).  And besides, Maine was my favorite state.  That was because of childhood reading—there was no internet, and books are amazing for the imagination.  I suppose my love of Maine with its Dark Shadows and rocky coast may have spurred my desire to witness a moose in its chosen habitat.  There are giants in the woods of Maine.  They walk silently through the night.  For those fortunate enough to live in the state, they may be common.  For some of the rest of us, at least, they are transcendent.

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