August 20, 2019
After my impromptu skydiving adventure (well, as a witness anyway) I continued North on Route 125 and stopped for lunch in the little town of Saint-Donat-de-Montcalm. I then continued on to one of three entrances to Parc National du Mont Tremblant, my primary mid-day destination.
Having done some additional research online I already knew that this was another National Park that really wasn’t a National Park. My strategy was to use my original true story at the entrance and when they told me my Canadian National Park Pass was worthless because, despite the name, this was actually a Provincial Park I would start crying, hoping to win the sympathy of the gatekeeper (“Now, now Monsieur JohnBoy – you’ve come a very long way and you have zee travel blog so you don’t need to pay our daily entrance fee…”). That was all rendered moot when I went to the Visitor Center (located outside the gate) and examined a map of the Park. Yes, there were some intriguing lakes which I’m sure are very nice but all required not only considerably more driving but also a good bit of hiking. It was already early afternoon and I still had lots of ground to cover before getting down to Ottawa so I decided to skip the park and drive to the town of Mont Tremblant instead.
I drove back into the town where I had lunch and turned west on Route 329, a nice two lane road which had practically no traffic and which took me through some gorgeous woodland. That is where it happened.
At roughly 220 in the afternoon I saw my first moose in the wild (in Canada). I admit that since I had been driving through many areas with a reputation for having moose that I was beginning to scoff at the warning signs, especially at 2 in the afternoon. Well, as I went around a gradual turn I saw someone riding a horse in the middle of the road towards me, followed rather closely by a car. The animal was almost black, hence the reason I thought it was a horse. About the time I was done thinking “I wonder why they are riding so close to the yellow line and not over by the shoulder of the road” I realized that it was not only a moose, but a rather large bull moose.
I had already disengaged the cruise control and turned on my four-way flashers to indicate that I had seen the “horse” and now realizing the potential I had come to a full stop. I reached for my smartphone which was in my pants pocket and started to “wake it up” and turn the camera on. I started yelling “Don’t you hit my car… don’t come over here and hit my car…”.
As is always the case when you are in a hurry, it seemingly took forever. By this point the moose had stopped in the road, realized it was surrounded and calmly turned to it’s left, stepped over the guardrail and walked down the steep embankment on my side of the road.
I got out of my car, hoping to get another picture of it down in the brush but by the time I got to where it had gone I could hear it crunching the underbrush in the woods I realized it was gone. I went back to my car and decided to look at my photo to see how much of it I had captured. I uttered a few choice words when this is what I discovered:
At 2:20:04 PM
And an astounding 16 seconds later at 2:20:20
I can’t explain the large time gap other than to say that sometimes my smartphone camera can fire off shots like a machine gun (when I don’t want it to) and sometimes it seems to “freeze up” when taking seemingly innocent shots. Given my impatience in this particular situation I presume I tried to start taking pictures before it was fully ready and the shutter remained open longer than necessary – perhaps getting a shot of the sun.
I started to drive away but then went back and took photos of where this had taken place, just for the record (at 2:25:46 and 2:25:56 respectively):
When I got close to Mont Tremblant I stopped and sent text messages to two friends. I told them both – Good News & Bad News – I saw a moose in the wild but I have no proof. One of them wrote back – No Proof, No Believe and sent an amusing meme from the TV show Supernatural with one of the characters from that show asking “Where’s your moose?”.