The Caribou Incident

Jun 27, 2015 | 0 comments

On Monday, I was working at the Savage Check Station, just doing my thing, standing on the road with my clipboard waiting for a line of buses to pass over the bridge so I could hop on and give my ranger-welcome to the park. The buses were stopped on the bridge so the passengers could view a couple caribou in the river below.

As I stood there patiently waiting, suddenly the bushes across the road from me began to rustle, and out pops a huge caribou with a full rack of velvety antlers. It was way closer than 25 yards — probably more like 25 feet. The caribou began to trot towards me.

Intent on increasing the distance between myself and the beast, I calmly began to walk up the road backwards, facing the caribou with my clipboard held tightly in front of me. The caribou followed. I crossed to the other lane. It continued to follow. I crossed back to the right lane. And still, it followed, closing in the distance between me and it. The buses were beginning to creep forward, and the caribou quickened its pace. There was nowhere to hide.

At a total loss for what to do, I hopped off the shoulder of the road and up to the base of the tall embankment on the right, with absolutely no plan for what to do next, gripping my pathetic clipboard-shield with white-knuckled uncertainty. Fortunately, the caribou continued on its way up the road in the righthand lane. As it passed by, our eyes locked and we had a moment together. And then it was trotting off into the distance and a bus rolled up in front of me, its front window plastered with visitors and their cameras.

When the driver opened the doors for me, everyone was roaring with laughter. Picture perfect for all of them, slightly hair-raising for me. Still, I hope that one day in the distant future, one of their photos will surface. Would love to see what that looked like from the bus.


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