You know how being out in nature is supposed to make you appreciate life? I wind up appreciating life in an I’m scared to death and glad I didn’t die from that natural world encounter way. Alaska has that effect on some of us. I took a walk to the local pond to ice skate the other day. I thought, this will take my mind off my worries, I might even have fun. I’ll even bring my camera.
There are many people skiing, frisbee golfing and running on the Chester Creek trail in Anchorage so I feel relatively safe. There are several roads which pass over the trail. In these areas there are corrugated steel tunnels with lights and very little graffiti. I walked through one of these tunnels thinking, I have ice skates on my shoulder, beware of attacking me, imaginary murderers of my mind. Unfortunately, I did not consider the moose which was waiting for me at the other end of the tunnel which was curved and out of sight until my mind, preoccupied with human threats, became aware of it. A young moose, legs only as tall as my arm pits, looking rather fearful himsel,f stood in the middle of the trail about 15 yards away. I shouldn’t have to tell you that a scared animal doesn’t make the best decisions. I ran away, not because it was the best decision but because my feet just did that.
A couple with a dog were starting through the tunnel and I yelled moose. Surprisingly enough they continued and stopped right at the end of the tunnel. I thought, they must have grown up here and know something I don’t so I used my head this time and walked behind them. At this point the moose charged. Again without so much as a single frontal lobe neuron firing I was at the other end of the tunnel, my plan – to dive into the snow to the right so that the moose would come galloping through and go right by me. The couple was still standing when I looked from my distant retreat so I crept back.
The moose was closer now so I guess the first charge could technically be called a false charge. Then he charged again and I, well you know. The people and the dog had now vanished. I snuck back through the tunnel like the coward I am and they were walking calmly ahead. I caught up with them realizing they had probably been focusing on the moose and their dog and did not notice any of my sprinting shenanigans. They told me the moose dashed off into the woods. I told the dog he was very brave and mighty.
I was exhausted by the time I got to the ice. I did not take any photos until this point. I’m sorry, I know you would have enjoyed a nice video of a charging moose but instead here is a photo of my skates.
Now some people will say I’m afraid of this…
but I try to be friends with my shadow, keep track of it, make sure it doesn’t make any funny moves. I can’t help that it sneaks up behind me most of the time.