Thursday, August 9, 2012

Here, Moosey, Moosey! Some Moose Watching Tips

Bar Harbor, ME    High: 78   Low: 58

Does this mean we saw a moose? Not yet, but we sure know where to look after driving about 11 hours yesterday on the back roads of Maine, some of which shouldn't even be considered roads! We were not sure after we leave here whether we will stay in Maine or head west, so Eldo suggested that we drive over to Greenville for the day, and scout out all the favorite moose sighting locations over there. Sparky said, SURE! And off we went with a picnic lunch on our very own moose hunting safari.

Since this is our second visit to Maine, the first one was two years ago and we DID see moose, we had a good idea of where to go looking the Greenville area near the appropriately named Moosehead Lake. The area is FILLED with bogs, a moose's favorite place to hang out. Moose outnumber people 3 to 1 in the area, so you SHOULD be able to see a moose somewhere either at dawn or at dusk...and maybe in between. Of course, the population numbers of people in this region is not very high as it is a very rugged, swampy, mosquito infested area as well.

When you look at a map of Maine, you don't really see the hundreds of rivers, ponds and lakes that are in the highlands area. It's incredible how much water there is!

We spent hours and hours yesterday driving crazy dirt, stone and gravel lumber roads dodging lumber trucks looking for moose. The weather was cloudy and looked like rain. Do ya think we could find a moose? NOPE! Maybe they weren't out and about today because of that, but it never did rain. The roads we were on were AWFUL!  Here's the route we took, we DON'T recommend it, there are other directions/ways to get to Baxter State Park...(but don't ask Sparky, heh, heh, heh! says E.)

Out of Bangor, Maine, we took highway 6/15 to Greenville. We checked THE spot for seeing moose, but it was too early in the day---the D.O.T. location right off 15, on the west side of the road. We had word from the new visitor center nearby that a mother and her calf frequented the bog.  No moose.

From Greenville, 6/15 splits off to the left. We continued right on the road to the tiny town of Kokadjo. The sign into town says, "Town of Not Very Many." They are not kidding! Just a few buildings, a couple of houses, and a restaurant  compile the little town. Sparky stopped to get a photo of a boulder (little things amuse retirees, don'tcha know?) that she took two years ago. She just liked the setting. It wasn't as pretty a day today, but it still was peaceful.

On to the  Lily Bay State Park area and past it. The road turns into a ROUGH, potholed, gravelly lumber road populated with LOTS of lumber trucks barreling down these roads. GET OUT OF THE WAY OF THE LUMBER TRUCKS! They have the right of way, and they are MOVIN' down the roads, FAST! (Good way to get a chip in your windshield, but thank goodness, we didn't!) We did not go into Lily Bay, but continued on towards Baxter State Park, stopping at every little pullout, every little scenic view of bogs, marshes, and swampy areas looking for moose. Sparky saw a muddy bridge crossing, with---COULD IT BE!!?? MOOSE FOOTPRINTS!  There MUST be some moose nearby!  These looked fresh! ON WITH THE SEARCH!

It's a beautiful drive, although the roads are are passing through the Penobscot River Corridor, and there are boondocking campgrounds along the way, (a big rig could get in, but who'd want to drive along these roads to get there unless you come from the OTHER direction) and some awesome rapids to see....about a class II in the areas we looked at.

Sparky experimented a little with her camera settings to try and get the flow of the water....Not bad...

It was getting late in the day...but still no moose sightings....We stopped at a small campground called Abol Bridge Campground...The views of the nearby mountains were breathtaking.

The campground was boondocking only, as are quite a few campgrounds in the area. Eldy talked to a gentleman who was asking about our Honda CR-V. The man had just had a fire in the CR-V while pulling it down the road, and the car was totaled along with damage to his rig. He said a blowout was the cause, but since he didn't have a tire pressure monitoring system, he didn't know it until it was too late. Insurance covered his loss, fortunately.

We enjoyed talking to him, he's been a full timer for eleven years!...He gave us another spot to check for moose about three miles down the road...It was the PERFECT, shallow bog, HUGE grassy area...But, NO MOOSE!  With that, on we went, we looked a little more and found another spot.....No moose, just a beautiful view...sigh!
Time to head home, Sparky! It looks like we are not going to see any today, but we'll go back again....We'll leave you with some moose facts and a few top locations to look for moose in the Maine Highlands area:

1. The flap of skin under the moose's throat is called a bell.
2. Moose have no top front teeth.
3.After the first calf, moose frequently have twins.
4. Only the males grow antlers, and they shed them in early winter and start growing them again.

Best times to see moose:
1. Early in the morning, and at dusk
2. Best time of the year is May and June.
3. Moose prefer shady, wet areas such as bogs and marshes.
4. Driving after dark is a common time to see them--be careful! The lady at the visitor center in Greenville said three moose had been killed on highway 15 this summer in the Greenville area.

Moose hangouts in the Highlands of Maine:
Note: Not being from the area, some of the places on the list might be the same names or spots repeated. These moose hunting locations are taken from more than one source of handouts the visitor center gave us and a couple of them seemed to be talking about slightly different areas.

1. the D.O.T. (Department of Transportation) heading north towards Greenville, as you drive thru Shirley, watch for it on the left, across the road--the Shirley Bog
2.Kokadjo--stay on Lily Bay Road for twenty miles, watch for moose
3. Lazy Tom Bog--continue 1.5 miles past the bridge in Kokadjo. Stay to your left, then take the intersection to the left and continue half a mile more to the bridge over Lazy Tom Stream.
4. Mount Kineo/Rockwood--Drive to the town of Rockwood, (north of Greenville), head to Mt. Kineo for hiking or exploring, watch for moose. Route 15 is Rockwood Road in this area (?)
5. 20 Mile Road
6. the Golden Road
7.  Sias (?) Hill Gate of the Golden Road
8. Lily Bay Road

And if you don't find any moose, hire an outfitter! There are more than 17 on the list we were given. We did that two years ago, went early, EARLY in the morning on a kayak adventure to see moose, and didn't see any! So no guarantees, folks, the fun is in the hunt. We really enjoyed ourselves today even if we didn't see any moose, and that's all that matters!  Bye for now.....


  1. Saw my last moose just outside of Yellowstone a couple of years ago. Haven't had any luck since.

  2. Come on up to Aroostook County.... we see moose almost every day. If you don't see one, check out my blog... frequent pictures. Better yet... come up and let me take you on a tour of Aroostook NWR!

  3. Well darn. All that driving and no moose. But you sure saw some beautiful spots.

  4. Lots of nice pictures even if there are not any moose in them.

  5. Sorry you didn't see a moose, but you got some nice photos and had fun, right?

  6. You know the primary rule of wildlife sightings, right! If you want to see moose, pretend you're looking for elk!!! You're then bound to see moose. Our best moose sighting was in Alaska, and it was pure luck -- a minute earlier or later, and we would have missed it completely. Watching that bull cross the river not far from us was an amazing sight.

  7. I think there maybe one just around the next corner !!!!! Sure hope one comes along before you leave ..... The play by play directions were great....shows what a try you two gave it..... Enjoying every entry about your adventure, such a terrific and beautiful part of our country..... Thanks for sharing.....

  8. We drove to the north and south entrances of Baxter SP today (on the good roads) and no moose to be found. You are so right, there is lots of water in Maine. The trip was worth it though; we saw some beautiful countryside. A few days ago we did see one female moose in Lily Bay who has been hanging around the park for about six weeks.

  9. Love the running water shots! It was really moving.

  10. Great pics of the rive and the rapids. Looked to be quite a few good Moose habitats, maybe they're just camera shy.