Chances and Moose

Have you seen one yet? Have you?

No, I haven’t… I just want to see a moose. I’ve been following moose tracks all morning, some so fresh the mist was still filling in the heart shaped hoof puddles.

Nearly half way through the Long Trail, I felt my chances were increasing. That’s what everyone kept telling me, there were more moose up north. One morning, having hiked about ten miles before lunch, my heart pounded and I breathed in silently, hoping not to scare of any potential moose nearby. After all, I was entering Breadloaf Wilderness, magical to say the least, unforgettable to be precise. I crossed the road and chatted on the phone regarding a package in the mail and continued on my way, catching up to two weekend backpackers. I stopped for lunch and they continued on. I passed them soon after and found myself nearing Skyline Lodge. The night before, a couple had told me what a beautiful place it was and I figured it was worth the third of a mile to see it for myself.

As I rounded out the bend of the trail, I saw water sparkle. Suddenly before me appeared a giant pond, marvelous and wise, covered with lilies and the first of fallen leaves. I stood still knowing my words could never capture the image seen by my eyes, imprinted in my heart. It was also the perfect location for moose scouting. I ran up the stairs to the cabin overlooking the pond, threw my pack inside and in another burst found myself at the pond’s edge. I sat and listened to the dragonflies, smelled the pine and watched for a moose. It was just about one in the afternoon but any plans for the night or any contingent upon that night were tossed for time with the pond and the chance of seeing a moose. The weekenders and a father and son came and sat for a while and decided to keep going, to spend the night about two miles away. After all, the day was just beginning. Yet I had already found what I was looking for all along.

The sun made its way to the other hemisphere and the sky grew darker, some folks came and settled in the cabin for the night. I sat outside until it was too dark to see and went on with dinner plans, filtering water and some sleep. In the morning, I dragged all of my belongings outside on the porch and packed while keeping the pond, shrouded in fog, in focus. There was still a chance for a moose. Breakfast and clean up complete, I hesitated to leave but it was time to go.

Little did I know in that I would return to this pond months later with the man I met the following afternoon. Little did I know that on our way home, we would see a moose.

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