There be Moose in them woods

It turned into a very late night!

It was supposed to rain all day so I didn’t make any plans. I figured I’d just be lazy, maybe use the laundry room to run a few things through, maybe work on some of the entries for this blog or edit some of the pictures. Instead the sun came out. Since the sun was out and the clouds seemed to be dispersing, I changed my mind and headed up to Lincoln.

I hate to waste a day so I thought I’d check out the Hobo Train and then maybe head up to Franconia Notch to see the Flume Gorge. I’d wait on the tramway as it was still cloudy and I didn’t want to waste my ride on poor visibility.

Anyway, I did go on the train and I’ll tell you about that in another post.

 Right now I just want to let you know that the moose population of northern New Hampshire is well and thriving. I can attest to that with my own eyes.

Let me explain. On the train ride I shared a booth with another lady who told me about some discount passes she got at the Visitor Center just down the street from the train station. I like discounts so after we got back into the station I made the Visitor Center my next stop.

A very nice lady went over the discounts but as I was just one person there was no real savings, but she did tell me that the Moose tours were doing a booming business. I told her that on the Hobo train the conductor had said that there weren’t any moose in the area this time of year. She laughed and said the tours were reporting 100% sightings for the season. She suggested I go talk to them. Their little kiosk was right across the street from the Hobo Railway.

I’d been planning to call them but since I was right there it seemed easier to stop in as soon as I completed my photo-op with Kodak the bear

 and Max the Moose. With those pictures secure I headed over to the Moose Tour Office.

I explained what the conductor said and was quickly set straight. I was challenged to join them on a tour. The cost was $28.00 and the tour was about 3 hours. There was no guarantee but so far they’d seen moose on every tour this season.  Their success rate for the 13 years they’d been in operation is 97%. I’ll take a chance on those odds.

I reserved a spot for the next evening at 7:30 pm and headed off to explore some more. Within 15 minutes I got a call back from them asking if I wanted to go tonight instead. They had just got a cancellation that had opened up a single seat on the tour tonight. So why not. I was already in the area anyway so I said sure and agreed to be at the Kiosk by 6:45 pm.

It was a sold out tour with a second tour going out at 11:00 pm when our tour got back. That one was sold out too. They loaded us on a good-sized bus that looked more like an oversized van. The seats were comfortable. The windows large. Thunderstorms were periodically dumping showers on us but it wasn’t torrential rain by any means.

Larry our driver

We set off on time with our driver, Larry and our guide, Steve. They told us that once we saw the moose we had to be quiet so as not to scare them away. There were a lot of children on the tour so the being quiet part was really emphasized.

We hadn’t gone far when Larry said he had a text from a motel owner that A bull moose had just crossed the river behind his property, climbed the bank and was now on the motel’s front lawn. Larry took the first exit off the highway and headed for the motel. There was a moose all right.

Not a one of us had expected that! Fun!

With that out of the way we headed back out to the highway. We were heading out to the same area I’d spent two days exploring. At the time I thought it looked like moose habitat but I didn’t see any. Of course I was there early..around 5pm. We were going to be there around 8pm. Big difference.

To pass the time while we drove and looked, Steve instructed us on moose habits and passed around “Moose parts”. He had an antler, a lower jawbone, and a hoof. He also tossed out sandwich bags of malted milk balls telling us they were “Moose Poop”. Both Steve and Larry had a multitude of very bad jokes and a CD of Moose Tunes that had the kids giggling and the adults smiling.

Steve asked for a volunteer and picked one of the little girls in the front seats. He made her the good luck moose and put a moose hat on her. That was a cute gimmick and everyone played along. The catch was that she had to wear the hat the whole trip to bring us luck. She did a good job.

All these antics carried us to our first stop. We saw a rainbow right near the Mount Washington Hotel. We stopped there for a quick photo-op and then we were back on our way.

As the sun set splashing deep orange and reds over the mountains we spotted our first moose. It was a young bull and he wasn’t about to stay around long. Everybody yelled and pointed so that could have had something to do with his quick retreat. So much for being quiet. The adults were worse than the kids! I got a glimpse of dark hindquarters disappearing into the woods.

The 2nd moose was just as skittish. But we’d learned from our mistake. There was barely a whisper, just a lot of pointing and hand waving. I didn’t see this one. Then we saw a couple of deer and another moose. This one was a female. She slipped into the woods but stopped and turned back to check us out. I was on the wrong side of the bus to get a picture plus it was quite dark at this point. The bus had spotlights they were using to illuminate the area but I doubt I could have gotten a clear picture under those conditions. Next time I will take a seat on the right side of the bus…not the left. All of the sightings were on the right side!

At about 9:30 we took a quick break at the Twin Mountain Trading Post. Our good luck girl still had on her moose hat.

We cruised through the hots spots a couple of times more but it didn’t seem that any more moose wanted to come out to play tonight so it was time to wrap up the tour. On the way back to the shop they played a beautiful movie about moose. By now a lot of the younger kids had conked out.

So I saw a moose, 2 actually. I don’t have any proof to share…this time. And the 100% success rate for the Moose Tours continues! Good tour.

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