Driving along the road near the Kalix river you pass a few ‘moose warning’ signs. It has been explained to me that these are more like ‘animal crossing’ signs than specific ‘moose’ ones, and we note that if you see moose it’s hardly ever anywhere near one of these signs. However the signs do provide some local colour for tourists, and apparently have value as a souvenir. They are known to disappear.
There are a number of favourite places we stop along this road and we pass a couple of them, with a plan to get out on the ice at a wide part of the river where there’s a good view of the fjäll. On our return journey we pull in to a small parking area by a hut that’s provided for the public. It’s a place we have spent a lot of time, but today we just pulled over to check something, and were just driving off again when a car slowed down as it drove by us and a man wound his window down. I did likewise. ‘It’s a great place here to spend some time,’ he told us, helpfully. We thanked him for the information and agreed that it was, we knew. He was clearly a visitor, on his own, who’d just chanced on a good spot to see the river and wanted to share his good fortune with someone else. It gave me a nice warm feeling, that someone should be so thoughtful. He drove off ahead of us at great speed.
As we carried on down the road I spotted moose among the trees by the roadside. I never tire of watching these beautiful creatures. They stare at you with their big brown nuzzly heads before eventually turning tail to chew on a bit more birch. After we’d admired them for a while we drove on, and on the road ahead we saw the man from earlier, out of his car, taking a picture of the ‘moose warning’ sign. I understand the appeal of the prospect of a photo of the sign, but given the speed he drove off earlier I was wondering if he’d missed seeing the actual moose.
So we stopped and wound down the window. ‘Did you see the moose?’ I asked. He looked surprised. ‘Just back there, on the left’. He thanked us and immediately got in his car and drove back. Perhaps a visitor that sees a real moose won’t need a sign, or a photograph of a sign, as a souvenir. They’ll go home with a real memory, and I think he deserved that.