Saturday, March 28, 2020

East Pole Journal March28, 2020 This expectant mother is no lady

Maybe the same mystery moose from earlier this winter.

Those less familiar with Alaska may need this introduction before we get to the main story. To begin with, we have deeper snow than usual this year. Undisturbed, the snow measures at least three feet deep or more anywhere off a beaten trail. That makes life particularly difficult for moose when that snow is belly deep and they tend to like the trails we make with snowmachines which over time can become as hard as sidewalks. When encountered they do not want to get off the trail and will put up quite a fight to avoid the deep snow on either side. This can be a dangerous encounter for both moose and human.
As more and more people use the trails, they develop moguls, small, bone jarring hills caused largely by less experienced drivers speeding up, spinning their tracks which then dig up a small snow hill behind them. As more and more people pass and accelerate to go over the developing mogul, the machines dig the holes deeper and throw up snow and that makes the moguls higher. Seldom can someone trying to protect the eggs in his cooler go even 10 miles per hour. As a result, for me anyway, it takes 40 minutes or more to go the seven miles from the trailhead to this cabin.
So, given that background here's what happened. Yesterday I needed to make one of those quick trips out to take care of a little business and pick up a few items given that this deep snow is going to give me at least a couple of extra weeks this winter, weeks I had not planned for. I left early in the morning, for me anyway, and found the trail in the best condition I can ever remember seeing before. No moguls. I could actually go fast. Given that I had to drive 80 miles one way, anything that saves time is good. I admit I tore down that trail as fast as I could even topping 20 mph a few times. That was at least until I headed up the last big hill before the parking lot. That's when I saw the moose. She stood in the trail facing the same direction I was going but with her head turned watching me as I approached.
Now, it's just not cool to harass a moose, especially as they are weakened after a poor diet over a hard winter. In addition it looked to me like this one was a pregnant female. I stopped as soon as I saw her at a good distance and set my mind to be patient, maybe push her a little to encourage her to leave the trail, but nothing to create a fight-or-flight situation. I did stand up and yell. She turned and trotted ahead a little and I followed maintaining the same distance, but within a minute or two she stopped to look at me again and I stopped, keeping the separation distance. (Talk about your social distancing.) We played this-cat and-mouse game most of the way up the hill. Twice I ran over strings of moose nuggets she left in the trail for me, a signal I think, of just what she thought about my intrusion.
Occasionally around a blind rise or corner I would get closer than either of us was comfortable with. Most of those times she trotted off and one time when she did that I revved the engine. That made her trot faster but when I backed off so did she.
Then she disappeared around a curve and I sped up a little to catch her, but as she came into sight again, this time she had turned her whole body, was facing me as she came into view. Hair on her neck and shoulders stood up and her ears were laid back. These are sure signs a moose is pissed and might attack. We are talking about an animal that weighs 800 to 1,000 pounds coming at you faster than you would believe. I got off and walked around to where the snowmachine was between us and dug my pistol out of the pack. I also looked around for a tree to get behind if she did charge. For all the trees along the trail, wouldn't you know, at this point we were in a little clearing and the nearest possible shelter tree stood several yards away through that deep snow. I waved my arms and yelled and she stood there glaring at me. What we had there was a standoff. Then after maybe a very tense minute, abruptly she changed her mind, turned and trotted ahead on the trail.
And so we progressed. When she moved I moved and when she stopped I stopped as we slowly worked our way up one side of the hill and down the other. This went on for about half an hour over about a mile of trail. My great early start destroyed. Eventually we came down off the hill onto a level stretch and within sight of the parking lot. On this last little bit she chose to stop three times to nibble at little branches stretching into the trail, testing my patience just about to the limit. That last part of the trail runs parallel to a dirt road that leads to a subdivision. Once she reached a point where she could see that road, she waded into about 10 feet of deep snow between the two and trotted back up the hill toward the houses. When I could be sure she was no danger any longer, I roared past her toward the trail head. The last I saw of the moose, her hind end was disappearing around a curve in the that road well behind me.
So except for the disruption in my plan, we separated none the worse for wear; we both survived and without any major confrontation. My hope is she has a healthy calf or two

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Memorable quotations

The best way to know you are having an adventure is when you wish you were home talking about it." — a mechanic on the Alaska State Ferry System.

"You can't promote principled anti-corruption without pissing off corrupt people." — George Kent

"If only the British had held on to the airports, the whole thing might have gone differently for us." — Mick Jagger

"You can do anything as long as you don't scare the horses." — a mother's favorite saying recalled by a friend

A poem is an egg with a horse inside” — anonymous fourth grader

“My children will likely turn my picture to the wall but what the hell, you only get old once." — Joe May

“Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” — Ernest Hemingway

When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth. Kurt Vonnegut

“If you wrote something for which someone sent you a cheque, if you cashed the cheque and it didn't bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.”Stephen King

The thing about ignorance is, you don't have to remain ignorant. — me again"

"It was like the aftermath of an orgasm with the wrong partner." – David Lagercrants “The Girl in the Spider’s Web.”

Why worry about dying, you aren't going to live to regret it.

Never debate with someone who gets ink by the barrel" — George Hayes, former Alaska Attorney General who died recently

My dear Mr. Frost: two roads never diverge in a yellow wood. Three roads meet there. — @Shakespeare on Twitter

Normal is how somebody else thinks you should act.

"The mark of a great shiphandler is never getting into situations that require great shiphandling," Adm. Ernest King, USN

Me: Does the restaurant have cute waitresses?

My friend Gail: All waitresses are cute when you're hungry.

I'm not a writer, but sometimes I push around words to see what happens. – Scott Berry

I realized today how many of my stories start out "years ago." What's next? Once upon a time?"

“The rivers of Alaska are strewn with the bones of men who made but one mistake” - Fred McGarry, a Nushagak Trapper

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

We are all immortal until the one day we are not. – me again

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio announcer

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

He's not doing things he can't do."

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

Best headlines ever

Owners of a Noah's Ark replica file a lawsuit over rain damage

In Southcentral Alaska earthquake, damage originated in the ground, engineers say

Alabama governor candidate caught in lesbian sprem donation scandal

Sister hits moose on way to visit sister who hit moose.

Man loses his testicles after attempting to smoke weed through a SCUBA tank

Church Mutual Insurance won't cover Church's flood damage because it's 'an act of God'

Homicide victims rarely talk to police

Meerkat Expert Attacked Monkey Handler Over Love Affair With Llama Keeper

GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy

Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high

Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

How zombie worms have sex in whale bones

Crocodile steals zoo worker's lawn mower

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

Nude beach blowjob jet ski fight leads to wife's death

Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve