We drove up the big ol’ Parks Highway the other day to come visit my hubs. Me, the dog, S and G. Plus our one-million and one things. Dude… you cannot travel light with a three year old and a one year old. My ‘tree car’ (it’s a Sequoia. My hubs called it the tree car on the test drive we took… it’s stuck) was packed to the brim. And it’s not a small car.
This was my first big drive since the car in front of me hit a moose a couple weeks ago. I am a born and raised Alaskan… and have had a lot of moose encounters. We hunt moose, laugh at young bulls fake charging our trees at the cabin, scream with excitement when there’s one in the yard, we ooh and aww over them with their new tiny babies in the Spring, and they are our source of meat to keep our family organically and locally fed (no hormone growths in our meat, except those nature intended!). These are big, strong and capable animals. They have always been one of my favorites.
I know more people who have hit moose than I can count. I’ve come close a couple times. But the other day was my first witness to it. It was in slow motion: the moose sprinting across the highway while I yelled (to myself apparently. It turns out people in other cars can’t quite hear you) ‘Moooossseeee’, the white small SUV in front of me connecting sending that giant animal up 15-20 feet in the air, spinning so her feet were above her head at one point. She flew over the car in the next lane and landed on the edge of the road. At this point I am obviously in tears and hyperventilating. When I finally got it together enough to call 911, the dispatcher asks me to please sit there with my hazards on, so nobody else hits her, while I wait for the police. Watching an animal that is broken, but still alive, try to survive and get off into the woods is heart breaking. And scarring.
That’s what kept running through my mind our whole drive. Don’t worry- we didn’t even see a moose on this drive! Know what we did see- a lot of motorhomes and buses. Tourist season in Alaska is in full swing- and moose season begins in one month. We will be out there looking for Bullwinkles then… but not with my tree car. 🙂