Web Log Entry #0076, Saturday, July 19, 2003: Day 243
Anchorage Sunrise: 4:59am Sunset: 11:11pm High Temp: 73° Low Temp: 43°
I had a very Alaskan encounter during my morning walk. As I've mentioned previously, Anchorage is not a densely-packed urban area. There are large stretches of forest (usually parks, but not always) wandering through the city, and many trails and bike paths wander through those. So I've been exploring the interconnectedness of said trails by walking for an hour or two on weekends. This morning, I went past Goose Lake, which opens at 9:00, and at 9:12 was empty except for me a a dozen geese. So I took the pedestrian bridge across Northern Lights Boulevard, and headed west along Chester Creek Trail.
Now, I've joked previously about forgetting to watch for animals between my front door and the car, but I will admit that sometimes while I'm walking through these wooded areas, I'm not always alert. One can't be too oblivious, though, as bicyclists ride those paths on their own little tour de Anchorage, and even though they're SUPPOSED to yield to slower-moving pedestrians, moral superiority would be little comfort after an aggressive mountain-biker slams into one from behind at forty miles an hour (382 KPH). Today, I don't know what caused me to look up at just the right moment and realize that fifty yards ahead, a mother moose and her calf (I assume it was hers), were grazing RIGHT BESIDE the path. I stopped. Part of my brain was saying "Wow! That's really cool!" The other part started shrieking "THEY'RE COMING RIGHT FOR ME!" My brain was right. Although their leisurely stroll wasn't actually life-threatening. Yet. On one side of the trail were fenced yards, and dense woods on the other. So it made sense that the moose were following the path of least resistance, and ambling up the bike path. Toward me.
I retreated. The path split a little way back, and I figured I could watch them for a while, then head back across the pedestrian bridge. A few other walkers and one bicyclist approached, and I felt very Alaskan telling them a moose and calf were ahead. They all turned around and went back the way they came. Apparently I wasn't the only one who didn't want to take chances.
I moved off to the side and hunkered by a low fence (just in case), and watched them go by. I must say I prefer having the protection of a car or building to watch from, but I survived without being eaten, and that's really what Life's all about, isn't it?
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