Show me an example Maine Moose Tracks - Greenville Maine Moose Watching Tours: June 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

I Moose be dreamin'

Whether we humans like to admit it or not, here in the Moosehead Lake Region, moose pretty much rule the roost. Outnumbering us 3 to 1, any local you speak to should have a pocket full of moose stories. If not, they so obviously haven’t embraced the outdoor culture embraced by most locals in the region. If you’ve never been in the presence of one of these majestic creatures, you are missing out. It truly is a humbling experience. They are so massive, yet pensive, in a sense.
Many people will venture out on their own moose hunt, so to speak, wandering around the area aimlessly in hopes to see one of these beautiful beings.  As a local, this makes a whole lot of sense for me, not so much for our visitor’s for a number of reasons. First of all, as a visitor, you don’t know the area very well. Traveling down unmarked dirt roads can certainly put you in a pickle in the North Maine Woods. It doesn’t take long to get turned around, and lose your way. A lot of these roads offer spotty cell phone reception, at best, so getting lost while traveling down these back roads could turn into a long trek which could quickly make you feel like Dorthy, lost in the land of Oz. Another reason is that a lot of visitors don’t understand that, though moose seem fairly docile, they are wild animals, and should be treated as such. Something as simple as a fly could spook them enough to send them charging. Averaging around 7 feet tall, and around 1000 pounds, this is not an animal you would stand a chance with if you were to get trampled. I remember seeing a picture of a woman kissing a moose not long ago. Though this woman lived to tell the tale, you would have a better chance seeing me kiss my own rear end, than kissing a moose. That could have very quickly turned into a tragic situation, as opposed to a cute picture. Another reason is just simply that our local guides know the local moose hangouts, and the best times to see a moose, our visitors don’t!  
Moose facts? To us locals, this may seem like redundancy, but ask us about some facts on the polar bear, and I bet the people of Alaska could tell us a thing or two that would blow our minds, so don’t worry about the locals giving you a hard time about asking “silly” moose questions. Afterall, I was always taught that there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. So, to ward off some of these locals heckling you, here are a few facts about these gentle giants.
  • ·       The Moose is the official Maine state animal
  •     A male moose is called a Bull, a female moose is called a cow, and a baby moose is called a           calf.
  • ·      Bull moose antlers can be up to 6 feet wide, and weigh up to 90 pounds.
  • ·      Bull moose shed their antlers every winter, and grow a new set back in the spring.
  • ·      Moose have the highest rate of bone formation growth, growing up to an inch per day!
  • ·      The average life expectancy of a moose is 25 years
  • ·      Moose can weigh up to 1500 pounds!
  • ·      The average moose stands 7 feet tall, and 8.5 feet in length
  • ·      Moose can swim as fast as 6 miles per hour
  • ·      Moose can run up to 35 miles per hour
  • ·      Moose have no upper teeth
  • ·      Moose have very poor eyesight
  • ·      The Maine moose population hovers right around 30,000

Please, however, don’t ask us when the white tail deer turn into moose, then you’re just asking us to direct you up the golden road, when you ask us where the best restaurant in town is.

As you can tell, moose are fairly impressive creatures. Most people don’t realize just how fast these guys can run, which is why you end up seeing people kissing moose and thinking it isn’t dangerous. Your best bet is to have someone who knows a bit about these animals take you out to see them, for safety sake, but also to increase your chances of seeing a moose!
Our guides head out at 6am, and 5pm everyday, with a group of people, wide eyed, anxious to catch a picture of one of these amazing creatures. The great thing is that they almost always see at least one, usually many more. With local commentary from our guides, usually involving stories from past moose tours, our visitor’s not only enjoy the scenery, but also the company.
Last Monday and Tuesday evenings were particularly successful tours, as our guide came back with news that they saw 18 moose on Monday, and15 moose on their adventure Tuesday! On top of dodging moose left and right, there were deer, hare, loons, osprey, eagles, and so much more to be seen! There aren’t many sounds that are as soothing to me as a loon call, so this was a real treat for our visitors. Though you are on a moose tour, here in the north Maine woods, it’s hard to venture out without coming across at least a few other critters.
I hope I helped clear up some questions about our favorite animal up here in northern Maine, and I hope I’ve enticed you to venture out with one of our guides to check out the wildlife.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Best kept secret around Moosehead Lake

Every area has those places only the locals know about. If you’re lucky enough to be considered a local around Moosehead Lake, you have at least heard of Eagle Rock. I’ve discovered lately, that the secret is slowly sneaking out. Small town mentality says this is a bad thing, but I struggle with that. For me, when I discover something new and amazing, I want to scream it to the world! Whether it be a musical genius I have stumbled upon while listening to Pandora, an amazing new book I picked up at the local library, or an eatery that has just opened up, I want everyone to experience the feeling that went along with the experience. I mean, imagine the euphoria you would miss out on if anytime your friends heard an amazing new tune, they hid it from you as if it were a dead body. Beyond that, why not give our visitor’s one more reason to come back to the area? I will tell you that this hike is almost always my first hike of the season. It’s a view my body craves, more than it craves chocolate. That’s a big deal; I am a woman, after all. Why would it be any different for our visitors? It’s one more reason to visit and help stimulate the economy in our region, which thrives on tourism almost solely. For all of you locals throwing your fists in the area at me right now, let’s agree to disagree. Life is all about your experiences, and I just find it greedy to feel the need to keep these experiences to ourselves, so get used to throwing your fists in the air at me my local friends, because I’m a sharer, unless it’s my favorite fishing hole, you can’t have my brookies!

As I said, Eagle Rock is almost always my first hike of the season, and this year was no exception. A friend was going to tag along, but ended up going to work instead. Oh to be an adult, maybe someday I’ll get there. So I set out around 10:30 in the morning, water, granola, a compass, my phone, some bug dope, and some first aid gear in my pack, and a big smile on my face was all that was required for this quick 3-mile round trip hike. With fire in my belly, I jumped into my car and sped out toward solitude.
The Eagle Rock trailhead is by no means far from the town of Greenville, but it is very easy to miss, if you’re not paying close attention. To get there, leave Greenville as if you are headed to Rockwood. After the sign for Squaw Mountain, there is a blue sign for a boat landing, on the left. After that sign, you will see a couple of small, sort of over grown roads, keep on trekking. Beyond those few roads, there is a road called the Burnham Pond Road. Unfortunately, there is not a road sign there, so the name of this road is about as insignificant as you feel, in a cosmic sense, as you reach the highest peek of Eagle rock. There is, however, a sign for Plum Creek, stating that they own the land. It is a large, white sign, so it’s kind of hard to miss. Once you turn left, you are going to travel for approximately 3 and a half miles, and you will find the road kind of veers to the left, or you can turn right. Hang left, and travel a little under a mile and a half, and you’re there! You will see a very small, white sign that says “Eagle Rock Trailhead”. There isn’t a parking lot, just scoot over to the side of the road as much as possible. I promise, there isn’t a whole lot of traffic out this way!

The canopy of trees served as great shading from the sun, though bug dope is a requirement this time of year in the Moosehead Lake Region, unless you want to lose a pint or two of blood while foregoing this adventure.  The hike starts out with fairly flat ground, this time of year the trail is also accompanied by a bit of a muddy mess, but stopping for a good ol’ fashioned mud wrestling session should never be out of the question. The trail quickly becomes steep, and heavily wooded, but the trail is very well marked. Though the trail is steep at times, don’t let this discourage you from giving this hike a go. First of all, it is only a three-mile hike, round trip. Secondly, there are quite a few switchbacks on the trail, which give you a minute to rest your burning calves. Thirdly, the view at the top of Eagle Rock is worth an entire day of rock climbing, which you won’t experience here, so even if you feel as though you aren’t in the best of shape, rest assured that you can do it! Sorry, I got a little motivational speaker on you for a minute, I just don’t want anyone to be discouraged from giving this their best shot.
As I ascended to the top of Eagle Rock, my breath, as always, was taken away. Leading out to the highest peak, it truly looks like the rock just suddenly drops off. It’s an amazing, humbling experience, and for me, is overwhelming. As soon as I got to the top this time around, the sky just opened up, and it started to rain. Though this didn’t take away from my view, it did make the rock incredibly slippery. I sat at the highest peek for only a short time unfortunately, because I could tell the rock was quickly becoming a massive slip and slide. Most days, I probably would have said “hey, let’s give it a go” but I was by myself. Though I’ve always wanted to write a book, something similar to “Lost on a Mountain in Maine” is not something I’ve had in mind, so I took in the view for a brief ten minutes or so, and began my descend down the rock. I did treat it much like a slip and slide, scooting down on my rear, as I felt this was a bit safer .The rest of the trek down was easy, as the canopy of trees I mentioned earlier served the purpose of an umbrella, as opposed to natural sunblock, on my way down. The rain I encountered will just further serve as reasoning for trekking up Eagle Rock at least one more time before our hiking season comes to a close.
I will tell you all that, though hiking is my absolute favorite activity in the region, I will have to sit it out for a couple of weeks. I unfortunately sprained my ankle on Tuesday. No, no… I wasn’t sprinting up Burnt Jacket Mountain when it happened, which I did hike that morning, but instead, I was sprinting into my daughter’s pre school to pick her up. Because I had just come off the mountain, I was feeling extra Michael Johnson, and jumped out, sprinting! As I rounded the corner onto the walkway, I caught my foot on the lip and BAM! I went down. I honestly thought I broke my ankle, because the sound that accompanied the immediate pain was similar to the sound of tree branches snapping. After a quick trip to the emergency room, it was determined that I had sprained my ankle. Though I’m frustrated, because our summers here are too short, I’m trying to stay optimistic about the whole ordeal. I have awesome friends, who are helping me so I can rest it as much as possible, as well as amazing friends who remind me that it could be a whole lot worse.

Until next time, I hope I have swayed at least one of you to venture up to Eagle Rock, there will be no disappointment involved.