Alaska Shorts: Tree Poaching at Beer Can Lake by Mike Byers

One bitter cold night my older brother Paul
and I went to the Beer Can Lake area to get a Christmas tree. This was around
1979. There had been about three inches of snow earlier that day and I really
did not want to be out in the cold deep snow in sneakers getting a tree.
I said, “Let’s just get that one and go.”
Paul said, “Ok, but I want to see if it’s full on the
other side before I cut it down.”
I said, “I am not going around the tree in the snow to
look,” so he did.
All of the sudden, he starts to hollering and comes running
back from around the back of the tree screaming his head off.  “Run… Run… RUN!!”
Now I am not going to lie: the first thing that went through
my head was “WTF”, and instead of running I just stood perfectly
still because I figured whatever it was, it was after him, not me. Paul went by
me with the saw flaying around in his hand as he screamed.
Then I heard it coming… and it was big. The snow was
crunching and branches were breaking. Now the second thing to go through my
head was “WTF,” and I stood even stiller. The night was about to get
real interesting! Around that tree came a huge bull moose at a full trot, in
pursuit of my brother Paul.
Now I have been chased by dogs and pigs and even a bull and
once by a skunk and the skunk one ended badly of me. And in each case it was because
of my brother Paul. So I just watched as the two of them went down the road and
out of sight. Now what was going through my head was I was really glad that we
had left the truck running and I was not going to have to walk home. Well…
after about five minutes here came Paul back up the road, cussing to beat
everything and mad as a hornet. He gets up to the truck and said “Thanks a
lot man!”
“What did you want me to do?”
“Let’s get this tree and get out of here,” Paul
said. Now here is what happened…… when he went around the tree he grabbed a
branch and shook the tree to get the snow off and get a better look, and he
took a big step back so he could see the top. He stepped into the middle of a
big moose that had been lying down under a tree behind him.
The moose stood up real fast, knocking him to the ground, and
everything went south from there, him running and the moose chasing and me
trying to look invisible.
Well, we got our tree and went home.
As a side note, my wife just read this, and when I asked her
what she thought she said “Dumb and dumber, Alaskan style.”
Mike Byers is a 6th generation Alaskan was born in
Fairbank and grew up in Anchorage. 
Mike and his wife and daughter make their home in Dallas Tx. Mike still is very connected to Alaska by family and friends.

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