Over the last few weeks I have been thinking about the North Country of New Hampshire and Maine while missing the hundreds of hours I have spent with my favorite animals, Moose. These are just a few of the hundreds of moose pictures I have taken over the years. The majority were taken with my 35mm camera so I have the prints and negatives and not nearly as many on my digital camera. That will change I hope, as I get more time to visit the north and take more pictures. I can’t wait to take Jacqueline and Theodore up north to see their first moose.
I remember as a kid seeing moose, mostly in Canada when we would be visiting family. I remember numerous times when dad would abruptly stop the car in the dark of night as moose blocked our path on the dirt roads that connected our families homes throughout New Brunswick. I always wanted to catch a glimpse of the largest mammals in the deer family. For years I sat right behind my dad in the car and I always leaned forward, behind his left shoulder, and constantly scanned the horizon for anything and everything I could see. I knew my way around everywhere because I was always looking at the view my dad had. I took note of his ability to drive perfectly while not missing anything going on outside our car windows. The car was centered in the lane, the steering wheel barely moved, and dad saw everything. I remember marveling at his ability to do those things. A goal I have worked to perfect myself. For a while now it’s been my turn to be the driver, to be the scout, to be the steady hand of safety, and not miss a thing. Two of my kids have their license now with another to get hers in a few months and I hope they learn it too.
So, one day soon, I hope to return to the Great North Woods and see some moose. I love to get close to them, take pictures of them, and just watch them. I love their size and their ability to blend into their habitat and move stealthily through it at high speeds.
It’s amazing to me that an animal that you could drive your car under can also be lost in the forest edge in just a step or two. Those who have watched them and seen them in their habitat, you know what I mean.
I have been in the woods with them. I have been on their paths with them. I have been down in the watering holes with them. Just watching them, giving them space, and trying to respect this massive animal while I collect the priceless pictures to better capture the moment.
Maybe it sounds crazy or even a bit weird to have spent so much time watching wild animals, but for me it has been more than just watching.
It has been a joy. It has been an escape. It has been a place to ponder. It has been a time to get closer to God. It has been a time when I could slow down and sort things in my life out. It has been a place to hide when I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. It has been a time when I could take in so many wonderful things that God created on this earth. It has been a place to practice with my camera. It has been a joy to share with others. It has been a time to be humbled by the strength and the majestic beauty of something that could squash me like a grape. It has been a time to get closer to an animal that is somehow my kindred spirit.
My dad and brothers gave me a nickname of “Moose” when I was a kid. The name didn’t really stick and I think it was an affectionate name, but the animal certainly did resonate with me. It still does.
Maine, one Memorial Day weekend. I was in the heart of moose country. I was on the outskirts of Baxter State Park. For a couple of days I spent nearly every hour of daylight walking in the woods and around the bogs in the shadows of Mount Katahdin. I had no idea where I was at any given moment but I felt right at home. The interaction with the moose was incredible. I saw far more moose that weekend than I did see people.
One day alone, I lost count at somewhere north of 130 moose in that one day. There was the moment I was quietly walking up a trail in a thick wooded area. The trail granted maybe ten feet of view before the trees and underbrush took any decent sight line away. Silently, from nowhere, a huge bull moose walked across my path right in front of me. He paid no attention to me and was gone into the dense forest just as quickly as he had appeared. I was startled at both his sudden, silent appearance, and also how fast he was gone. I couldn’t even see him long enough to follow him. This is one of many moose encounters I have experienced over the years. Maybe I will share more of them another time.
I wanted to go through some of my pictures here and post them to my blog. These particular pictures were all taken in NH. I have updated each photo as to the rough location it was taken. I have used a tool to sharpen these images in order to pull out more details within the photos. In some cases the sharpening makes the photo look worse in blurred areas behind the object of focus. This way the detail of the moose is a little more evident. Notice the skin, the fur, the muscular build, etc. Maybe I will add some moose stories going forward. I have more than a few of them. I hope you enjoy the photos of what one TV special calls Titans of the North; moose, my favorite.