Friday, July 11, 2014

The Trip Of The Moose and The Bear

This column originally appeared in The Sun Chronicle on Friday, July 11, 2014


By Bill Gouveia


Every time I think I’m going to teach my six-year old grandson something important, I end up being the one who learns a lesson.


Each year my wife and I take our oldest grandchild Will (did I mention his name is William?) on a trip to New Hampshire.  He is the only one of our three grandkids old enough to steal away on vacation for several days, though we keep plotting to include the other two soon. 


This year marked our fifth consecutive trip with young Will to the Great North.  We always stay in a hotel that includes either a pool and/or a water park to keep him busy.  Up until this past year we also went to nearby StoryLand which excited him to no end.


On this journey we shook things up a bit.  We visited Santa’s Village instead, and we also went to a nearby alpine slide where Will experienced his first ski-lift and first viewing of Grandpa’s terrified face as we hurtled down the side of a mountain.  We went on a new mountain coaster, visited an amazing trail and waterfall, and were in the water park every day of our trip.


In addition, we did the auto road up Mt. Washington – something that scared Will almost as much as it did his grandparents.  We took pictures at the summit and both on the way up and down.  It was a very exciting time for us all.


But after all that effort, all that planning, and all that expense – this year’s trip will always be known and remembered by our grandson as “TheTrip of the Moose and the Bear.”  And that part didn’t cost us a cent.


We were coming back from our alpine slide adventure, driving along Route 16 just outside of North Conway.  Suddenly Will shouted from the back seat.


“Grandma!  Grandpa!  It’s a moose!  We have to stop!”


My wife pulled the car over to the side of the road, joined by several other motorists.  Sure enough, there was a young moose taking a drink from a large puddle along the wooded roadside.  He (or she for all I know) was taking his time, keeping a wary eye on the people now snapping pictures from a safe distance.


If it had been up to Will, we would have shaken hands with the moose.  But he settled for standing nearby and getting his picture taken with the wild animal in the background.  Will excitedly told us he had never seen a real live moose before, and it was not until the skittish creature bounded off into the woods that we could get him back in the car.


Once again in his seat, Will wanted to call his parents and tell them about his amazing experience.  But first we decided to stop at a nearby Dairy Queen and get a treat before breaking his big news.


We were in line for ice cream when a man and his young son who had been at the moose sighting walked in and recognized us.  “Did you see the bear out behind the building?” the youngster asked Will excitedly.  Unable to believe he could be this lucky, Will glanced up at me and asked if we could go outside and take a look.


Sure enough, there was a good-sized black bear attempting to climb some pallets stacked behind the Dairy Queen.  Again, Will wanted to go make friends.  Again, I explained he would have to settle for a very long-distance photo op.  Grandma came out with our ice cream, and we sat watching the bear until it got bored and ran away.


When Will called his parents, he could barely (pun intended) contain himself.  Forgotten was the water park fun, the climb up the mountain, the roller coaster, the alpine slide, and Santa’s Village.  All he could talk about was that he had seen a moose and a bear.


And that is as it should be.  He reminded us what vacations are truly all about.  And the more excited he got, the more we realized the moose and the bear were now also the highlight of the trip for us.


It’s astounding what you can learn from a six year old…


Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and longtime local official.  He can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.


Larry said...

Very cool that he was so excited! It's often the unplanned that bring the most excitement.

Dada Mike said...

It's the little things, for sure.