In June of 2011, I took an Alaskan Cruise with my family. Besides being the most incredible trip I have ever been on, it was also a gift. Instead of going to Alaska by themselves for their Fiftieth Anniversary, my grandparents took the whole family of thirteen with them! Throughout this trip, I had seen almost everything that I had expected. I had seen dozens of beautiful bald eagles. In Ketchikan and Juneau, according to the locals, they were as abundant and pesky as seagulls! The Coral Princess of Princess Cruises also journeyed through Glacier Bay and College Fjord. This gave me the opportunity to gaze at the most majestic sight I have seen in my travels: glacier carved mountains with rivers of ice flowing into the deep blue ocean, spotted with broken chunks of ice. On the way out of Glacier Bay, I spotted a few orcas waving to the ship with their pectoral fins. I even saw a massive humpback whale breach (jump out of the water) very close to the ship! The naturalist on board couldn’t contain herself, telling us that that was the most impressive display she’d seen in ten years! In addition to those spectacles, I also caught sight of sea otters, porpoises, seals, dogsled huskies, and even lumberjacks! By the time I reluctantly left the Coral Princess, I had set eyes on all I had hoped with the exclusion of one animal: a moose.
After the cruise was over, my family stayed at Susitna Place, a wonderful bed and breakfast in Anchorage (http://www.susitnaplace.com/). We had two days to spend in Anchorage; perhaps we would spot a moose! According to what I had heard, moose are as common in Alaska as deer are in the Midwest, albeit much more temperamental. The host at Susitna Place suggested going to Kincaid Park, just southwest of the city (http://www.muni.org/departments/parks/pages/default.aspx). She claimed she had seen a moose every time she had walked there. This sounded as close to a guarantee as we would get! So on the last day of our stay, we rented a car from Avis and drove to Kincaid Park. Our main goal in this excursion was to hike around and finally lay eyes on the elusive moose. At the visitors’ center, hikers could record their wildlife sightings. Much to my excitement, moose had been recorded quite recently and frequently! But for a few fruitless hours we hiked around the many trails in the park without spotting any moose.
That afternoon, on our way to the Anchorage Airport, there was a sudden slow in traffic. A crowd appeared to be taking pictures of an ugly brick building. I peered out my window to determine the cause of the commotion. Lo and behold, there was a moose grazing next to the building! “Pull over!” I yelled. We pulled into the next side street. My brother and I grabbed our cameras and sprinted towards the sidewalk. The young antlerless moose was simply munching away at a bush. “Take a picture of me with the moose, please!” I shouted to my brother. I wanted proof that I had actually had a moose encounter. We only had one chance before the moose sauntered into the nearby woods. The moose was such a goofy-looking beast, but was nothing compared to the look on my face!
Figures, we had spent the entire morning on a wild moose chase, while there was one right in town! Finally, my last expectation of Alaska was fulfilled.
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