This post will be short and sweet.
Here in Minnesota, we do have moose…but they are generally way up north (although I did photograph one in southwestern Minnesota many years ago). We do have a plethora of deer however. Frankly, too damn many. Not enough predators and too much good eating I suppose.
I know one mountain bike rider here that has hit a deer (or had a deer hit him). In fact, it happened to him twice. Hospital trip resulted at least once, and broken bike frames both times.
My mini-taste of Alaska made it evident that deer don’t seem to be the issue there. Rather it is moose. Or is it meese?
We did a night ride with Jamin from The Bicycle Shop’s Dimond location on a sleet-soaked night. He took David and I onto some of Anchorage’s bike paths. I didn’t know until this trip, but Anchorage has a lot of paved bike paths, though most don’t take a direct, point-to-point route. Instead they wind around the city. In my opinion, they are still very cool regardless of their commuting-efficiency. Some mountain bike trails work their way off of them we were told, but didn’t get to taste, as it was so wet we weren’t really interested.
Anyway, moose seem to be the Alaskan equivalent of our Minnesota deer. Lots of them right in a big city like Anchorage. They have photos of them walking through downtown, stopping traffic, etc.
Moose are no joke either. They are huge creatures that shouldn’t be messed with. They are stubborn. They can be territorial. They will defend their young. They can kill you.
So we are riding along on the paths and we first see a cow and bull moose on the other side of the street from us. They are just grazing. Jamin repeatedly referred to Anchorage moose as ‘being like cows’. We stopped and watched as they were a good 50 or 60 feet from us.
A bit later, we are on an even darker section of the trail. It is twisty and there are no streetlights. We’re riding in the famed fatbike ‘Flying V’ (okay, I just made that up) and I’m in the middle. Suddenly I catch a glint of moose about five feet from David. I can see it rising from its bed.
I shout ‘Moose!’ and everyone jumps on the pedals. A short ways past, we look back and see the moose just standing in the trees watching us, and probably just as surprised to see us as we were to see it.
So, when you head to Anchorage, bring your moose detector because you'll need it. We were seeing imaginary moose lurking in the shadows for the rest of the ride. And be ready to stomp on the pedals.
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I love being outside. I prefer to ride on dirt. Or snow. If I was born a hundred years earlier I might have been a polar explorer. There's a great natural world out there to see, smell, taste, listen to, and experience. Life slows down out there and the distractions we've created will disappear if you let them. Give me a backpack and let me go.