Of Moose and Men

Well, of one moose and one man on a bicycle-- my husband. We were out for our morning ride along the Haines road next to the Chilkat River. There was fog, and no real wind to speak of. There had been a  brown bear in the neighborhood the night before, and rumors of more on Cemetery Hill, so I was a little more aware than usual at 5:30 or so in the morning, and paying attention to bear poop on the road at 2-mile, and 4-mile, and 6-mile. You get the idea. Then we see a big brown thing on the side of the road at about 9.5-mile. (Our turn-around point is the parking lot by the little hydro-plant at 10-mile, adjacent to a salmon stream, popular with-- yup- more bears.) So, the brown thing turns out to be a moose. Through its legs I can see the bend in the road where we stop and return to town. I'm fine cutting my ride short a few hundred yards. I can even ride down toward the cannery when we get home. Really, there's no need to try and scoot by a moose.  Let him have the road. Plus, my sore knee works for cycling, but not unclipping a pedal fast or scrambling up a tree or leaping across the swamp with an angry moose in pursuit. Anyway, here's the point: I stopped a safe distance away, but  my husband kept rolling toward the moose, slowly, waving his yellow-jacketed arms, saying, "git, git." The moose did not "git." It stepped toward him. That's when my husband started making his best bull moose call. It's a kind of nasal grunt. (The cow call, the one he uses to attract bull moose in hunting season, has a higher whining moo sound to it.) The only reason to do the bull call would be to scare the moose into thinking he is a mean bull moose. Or at least that's all I can think of. So, there is my skinny, lycra-shorted husband on a bicycle that weighs about as much as bag of chips, challenging a ton of agitated bull moose. (At least he had a helmet on.) All this for a less than 1/4 mile section of a 25 mile bike ride? I mean, once he passes the moose, presuming he does, he has to come right back and make it by him again a few minutes later.  I watched the show until my husband was safely around the corner at 10-mile and decided he could find his own way home without me, and hitchhike by the moose if he had to, and if a willing pick-up driver came along. (So far there had been few private rigs, and mostly the state D.O.T. dump trucks heading out for a project farther up the road.) So I pedaled home without my riding partner, who must have been blocked a little longer than he admitted on the way back by the moose, since he never did catch me. That is the difference between men and women. (Or as my friend Nancy would say, "women are better.")

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