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A moose coming our way and other adventures

June 4

 Adventure is worthwhile
— Aristotle

The coast off in Gros Morne National Park in Canada.
The coast off in Gros Morne National Park in Canada.

 My wife Jane and I love to hike.  One of the goals of the sabbatical is to hike 200 miles, about the distance from the Quad Cities to St. Louis, as the crow flies.  The great thing about hiking is that you never know what’s around the next corner.

We started our hiking in the Maritime National Parks of Canada.  At Fundy National Park in New Brunswick, we hiked to the shores of the Bay of Fundy, where low tide is 30 feet below high tide, leaving boats stranded in the mud.  At Terra Nova National Park in Newfoundland, we discovered peat bogs and the fascinating plants they support – including the insect-eating pitcher plant.  And in Gros Morne National Park, arguably the most interesting of the Canadian National Parks, we hiked through four different habitat zones – alpine, subalpine, boreal forest and coastal forest – all during one afternoon. We emerged from the damp forest to a stunningly beautiful coast with the surf crashing on rocky sea stacks.

But you never know what to expect.  On one trail in Gros Morne National Park, we were hiking on a long boardwalk spanning a peat moss bog, on our way to Bakers Brook Falls. A big moose was browsing right by the trail.  I grabbed my camera and got some great pictures.  But soon the moose started to do a little “hiking” of its own… straight down the boardwalk, and right toward us.  Moose are afraid of people, aren’t they?  He will head off the board walk, won’t he?  He wasn’t and he didn’t.  So I jumped off the boardwalk into the bog, sinking a foot deep into the mud.  I grabbed for a nearby tree, but pulled it over with my 200-pound frame.  The moose watched curiously. He must have taken pity on me, because he turned and trotted off into the woods.

After struggling through the bog back to the boardwalk, I could not help but think about what Aristotle said: Adventure is worthwhile, if for nothing more than creating lasting memories.


(See also Jane Bahls’ Arctic Adventures)

One Response to “A moose coming our way and other adventures”

  1. Dear Steve,
    You’ve found yourself in a variety of tricky situations–but confronting a moose on a boardwalk over a bog seems unrivaled. Just think about that the next time you’re faced with cranky faculty or a board member.

    I’m enjoying my sabbatical too, still working on a book, and was suddenly asked to teach a poetry class for the summer in addition to the one I had agreed to teach earlier at the University here.

    This morning we saw five elk grazing on the mountainside–just across from our front porch. I’m loving our home here in Ravalli more and more and hope you and Jane will visit us some day soon–if nothing else to stroll through the panoramic wedding garden Gene’s planted for me. We plan to make use of that garden, officially, on June 28, Thurs., after I finish teaching here. Aristotle is right–adventure IS worthwhile! Take care.

    All Kind Thoughts,

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