Living in New England

It may not seem like a big deal.  It’s just a moose after all.  I would feel that way about it, except for the 10 years I have been denied a moose sighting.  Ten long years of searching finally came to a close this weekend.  And I couldn’t be happier.

In December, I will have lived here 10 years.  By far the longest stretch I have been in one place.  New Hampshire has its plusses, but there are 3 things that frustrate me to no end.

First and foremost, the weather.  A surprise blizzard on Halloween last year?  Don’t get me started.  I am not  the only one with issues in this particular area, so we’ll just leave that discussion for a few months from now.

mooseThe second frustration is fall foliage.  It’s the only time of year that I absolutely love here.  The rest of the year is either cold, buggy, muggy, or wet.  Fall is awesome and over way too soon.  My challenge during that season is experiencing the same color-saturated wonder that was my first fall.  The hills were on fire with reds, yellows and oranges.  It was amazing.

I keep hunting, but none of them have quite been like the first and I usually only get a hint of color before hurricanes or some other weather calamity wreck the leaves (by far my biggest issue with the weather).  I compare fall foliage to Vegas.  You get roped in with one big win and you keep coming back, thinking you’ll score big again.  I’m still waiting.

At least I’ve seen how amazing the foliage here can be.  I have been hearing about moose for 10 years and had never seen one.  Apparently, you can go out on your back deck in our neighborhood and catch them snacking.  Just not my deck.  You can see them walking down your driveway or in your work parking lot.  As long as I’m not around.  I have been dubbed “the mooserazzi” – those creatures know I’m coming and avoid me like the plague.  Seriously.  I show up at work and they walk across the street I just drove by.  It’s enough to drive a person mad.

I would hear about roads around here that have so many moose on them you have to be careful not to hit them.  Not when I drive by.  I finally got desperate enough to go on a “guaranteed moose sighting” tour.  When my parents came out to the area to visit, I took them on a custom photo shoot – tailor made just for us.

I almost felt bad for the guy.  He drove around for hours and could tell they were migrating from one side of the road to the other all morning.  Just not when we were driving by.  In the entire time he’s been open for business, the trip with me is the only time he’s not seen a moose.  I’m like moose plague or something.

I have not been carrying my camera around with me much lately.  I get motivated occasionally, and this weekend was not one of those occasions.  We drove up the Mount Washington Auto Road, and since I’ve photographed it before, it was just me, my family and my iPhone.

On the way back towards our camp, we saw a line of cars on the side of the road and I scrambled for that little device like nobody’s business.  Of course she would be hanging out, 10 ft off the side of the road, snacking like she had all the time in the world, when I had nothing with me but my little iPhone camera.

I may not have been as prepared as I would have liked, but I don’t mind.  I finally believe moose exist and folks aren’t just messing with me.  And I finally have a photograph that I can tape onto the computer monitors of everyone that’s taped one to mine over the last 10 years.  It may have taken a while, but I’m coming.