Early on Saturday, Nov. 21, my wife Susan and I headed north to the Allagash Wilderness Waterway for a quiet day of grouse hunting. Outfitted in blaze orange clothing, we arrived at Telos Lake where we parked the truck to explore old tote roads in our search for partridge.
But hunting was slow, and after finding only one bird, we decided to return to Millinocket.
Crossing the bridge over the West Branch of the Penobscot River, we turned south onto the Golden Road, where we met an approaching vehicle. As the car drew closer, it suddenly stopped, and a man jumped from the passenger’s side. He ran to the front of his car, frantically pointing up and down the road hollering, “Which way to Millinocket? Which way to Millinocket?”
Calmly, I explained that we were going that way and all he had to do was follow us. Thank goodness we came along when we did. The North Woods visitor and his wife were headed over a very rough gravel road towards Greenville — a dirt way famous for causing flat tires. While pleased we had saved them from a bad experience, little did Susan and I know the day was about to become even more interesting.
Just above the North Woods Trading Post near Millinocket Lake on the Baxter Park Road, we rounded a sharp curve only to discover a bald eagle sitting in the middle of the paved way, intently feasting on the body of a wild turkey. Reacting, I slammed on the brakes of my pickup and slowed enough to alert the bird to the approaching danger.
Shocked, the eagle spread his huge wings, and while carrying his heavy meal, the bird gained enough lift to haul the carcass above and over the hood of our truck. Once out of danger, he soared to the left and perched on a large tree next to the road. Once settled on a secure limb, he screamed in frustration at having his dinner interrupted. Just behind America’s emblem, a black raven soared, intently watching should the eagle by chance drop a chunk of meat.
Experiencing a normal day in the Maine woods, Susan and I continued home to share the story with friends and family. Oh yes, from the looks of the situation, even though Thanksgiving was at hand, I do not believe the eagle planned on sharing his holiday meal.
Tim Caverly is a retired Allagash Wilderness Waterway supervisor and has authored 10 books about Maine’s northern forest. For information about his work and to enjoy more North Woods tales, visit allagashtails.com.