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Note: As part of the school curriculum, students were taken to a ski resort to try cross-country skiing. This story records Josh's experience on that fateful day.

Moose

by Josh Davis (Written May 5, 2009)

They left me behind. Well, I don't have very many friends in this class anyway, I'm thinking as I slide up the gradually rising hill. Another student's red fuzzy cap falls out of sight as he skis down the slope on the other side, about a hundred feet away from me. Oh, well, I'd just slow him down anyway. He didn't know how to ski either when we got here, but I guess that I am an exceptionally slow learner. I've been improving, though. It's been about five minutes since I've fallen down last. Of course, that's with the tracks carved into the snow; without them, I'm hopeless.

Glancing around as I finally reach the top, I don't see anybody in sight. Well, I guess that no one will see me fall when I do, I half optimistically, half pessimistically think as I look down the slope, lined with trees on both sides. It really isn't steep at all; it just stretches out a long ways. "Here I go," and I slide myself towards the decline. Remembering the technique that Coach showed us back at the lodge, I bend myself low over the skies, squinting as I start the decent. What a thrill, coasting down this hill, quite steady, but half prepared for a crash anyway.

The trees zoom by faster and faster as I'm picking up speed, the wind rushing in my ears as a roaring sea. I see a brown dog a ways off, basking in the sun that we both are enjoying. I'm thrilled, and a little surprised, as I glide smoothly and steadily down, keeping my balance the best I've ever been able to do so far. Things are going great. Life is great. Life is . . .

"Oh no," I scream in my mind, my contentment broken. To my horror, I realize that that dog, now with its side facing me, is far too big to really be a dog. That furry creature is a moose! So I panic. I don't know how to stop myself, especially since my skies are stuck in the tracks, the tracks that lead directly into the moose's abdomen. I throw myself to the ground, the only thing that I can do to avoid hitting it. "Ouch . . . ouch . . . ouch," as I tumble on the hard snow. My left foot snaps off of its ski, and after a few more rolls, I finally come to a halt, face down in the snow. I look up, dazed, to face the moose only fifty feet in front of me. Then, she charges. My right ski still firmly attached to its foot, I couldn't get up and run. I expected death, or just a life-crippling injury, but that never came. Just an arm's stretch away, she suddenly veers off into the trees on the left. My life is spared.

After a while, I recover from the shock. I hoist my attached ski out from under me, and pull myself up. "Nothing broken," I declare as I walk back to my other ski, but I sure ache though. Picking up my ski, it looks like I broke it! Part of the plastic latch that attached it to my skiing boots was missing, apparently having snapped off. I might as well now take off my other ski and just walk back to the lodge. After what seems like forever, I make it back, just in time too. My class was already loading the bus. I rush inside of the lodge, pulling off my shoes and putting my skies away, not even stopping to tell the employee that one of their skies is broken. I book it on the bus, and plop myself down. I don't dare tell anyone about my encounter; nobody else saw it, and it is too incredible for anyone to believe.

Well, at least I can remember, what would become my most enjoyable skiing trip.

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