The danger of driving through cottage country is that I get distracted trying to spot a moose. I saw one once, just off the side of the road, and I’ve been determined to find one again. So, every time I pass a marshy area or a slight clearing in the forest, I peek in, looking to see a moose or, as a consolation prize, a bear. This is Canada, damn it! We have moose and bears by the truck full! I should be able to spot at least one of each on my drive home!
This weekend, as I was rubbernecking my way through Central Ontario, I saw nothing. A dead porcupine, a dead red-tailed hawk, a dead rabbit, but nothing as magnificent as a moose. And nothing alive, really. Well, except the crow that was eating the dead rabbit. A crow’s gotta eat. As I was approaching Southern Ontario, growing more and more disappointed in the lack of oversized wildlife, I nearly hit a turkey vulture.
I will fly into your car and eat your face.
Do you know what is enormous and scary-ugly? Turkey vultures. I came so close to slamming my front windshield into one that I yelled “HOLY F&#$!”, only I didn’t pronounce the ampersand, hashtag, or dollar sign. I even ducked, despite having all my windows shut and being totally encased in tin and glass. I don’t know what he was trying to accomplish by nearly flying into my car, which is actually an SUV and not at all inconspicuous, but if he thought I was falling asleep at the wheel and needed a wake up call, he was WRONG because I practically mainline Timmy’s Iced Caps whenever I travel.
I think it’s pretty sad that even though I was born about 20 minutes from Algonquin Park, having spent a significant amount of my life driving to and around moose country, that I’ve only seen one in the wild, and from very far away. I’ve seen them in zoos, but zoo moose are skinny and lazy because they aren’t afraid of being eaten by predators and they get their food literally handed to them, so they lay around all day, gossiping or watching their stories or something. I’d like to see one in the wild, close enough to get a good look, but maybe not so close that I upset it. The last thing I want is a 1,500 lb bull angry with me.
Bears, on the other hand, I have seen many in the wild, if you count dumps as “the wild.” Spending summers up north (which isn’t really north, but, as I said, Central Ontario), you get to experience a multitude of activities that city folk never get the chance in which to indulge. Hunting for mica on the cliffs at the side of the highway, for one. Cave exploration, for another. And going to the dump to watch the bears. You drive right into the dump, park your car, and watch the bears scavenge. I can’t think of much else that is as disgusting AND dangerous all at once. But whatever. The internet doesn’t work so well up there, so you do what you have to do in order to not go crazy. There are also a lot of fat chipmunks because feeding them peanuts takes up a good chunk of the morning.
So I didn’t see any moose and I didn’t see any bears, but I almost ran into a hideous carnivorous flying beast with a six-foot wingspan. I’ll have to take it. At least it was something.