Moose Mania II


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North America » United States » Maine
September 28th 2007
Published: November 24th 2007
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Friday, September 28th, 2007. Allagash River, Maine. Darrin awoke around dawn and was instantly relieved to acknowledge the fact that both his tent and body were still in one piece. He groggily unzipped the tent fly to find moose number 14, a cow moose, IN his campsite.

After escaping the overnight trampling that could have been, now he figured he might as well try to get a good close-up picture. He emerged from the tent, camera in hand, and suddenly saw moose number 15, the cow’s calf. He instantly retracted - cow moose can be aggressive when protecting their calves - and considered how he could prevent the unthinkable THIS time. If things got ugly, he decided, he would make a break for the picnic table and hide beneath it. Fortunately, it didn’t come to this. Within a few minutes, the cow and calf wandered into the lake.


The previous day’s rain continued as Darrin packed up camp and got onto the water. He navigated a thoroughfare onto Long Lake. He paddled across the Lake, and portaged around remnants of Long Lake Dam to end up back on the Allagash. The rain, plus a strong northwest wind, kept Darrin pretty chilly.

Just after Darrin passed Long Lake Dam, he paddled around a corner before Sweeney Brook campsite. In the river before him was another moose - a cow moose that brought his count to 16. Darrin slowed to let the cow decide where she wanted to be - in the water as he passed, or up on shore. A split second later, just 75 feet to Darrin’s right, the hindquarters of a bull moose came flying into the river! Following the hindquarters were a set of locked antlers, followed by another whole bull moose. These were moose numbers 17 and 18, and they were seriously engaged in a duel, and Darrin was way too CLOSE. In an instant, Darrin decided that the bulls were a much graver threat than the cow. He paddled hard, in the safest possible direction, which was directly at the cow moose. The cow hesitated as Darrin got closer and closer. She finally ran ashore just before Darrin would have hit her. Darrin kept paddling hard, and didn’t stop until he was safely downstream.

Once his location was secure, Darrin slowed down and looked back. For a good 20 minutes, he watched as 2,000-plus pounds of bull moose pushed each other back and forth, neither one gaining the upper hand. Eventually, Darrin drifted around the corner and the bulls were out of sight. He was shaking, and he really wasn’t sure if it was from the cold, or from adrenaline.

Darrin continued to paddle. He reached Round Pond and paddled across it. By the time he reached Round Pond’s outlet, the rain had stopped. He set camp there, was able to dry out his gear a bit, and then enjoyed a peacefully moose-free night.


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