Press "Enter" to skip to content

Two Men, Two Moose Walk Through Northeastern South Dakota

Fellow Lake Herman expatriate Elisa Sand wrote this week of two 19-year-olds passing through Aberdeen on a walk from Seattle to New York City. Evidently crossing South Dakota on Highway 12 hasn't given Cameron Coupe and Zan Roman a great impression of South Dakota:

Neither of the two had been to South Dakota, which they found to be flat with "not a lot going on." As a first for the trip, he pair were mistaken for homeless people while eating at a buffet in Aberdeen. An employee who saw them packing up the carts outside told them they had to pay first before sitting down and eating [Elisa Sand, "Teens Stop in Aberdeen on Cross-Country Walk," Aberdeen American News, 2014.07.16].

Not a lot going on? Evidently Coupe and Roman aren't paying attention. There's lots going on; they just seem to be too tired to notice and write it down.

Moose near Tolstoy, South Dakota, June 27, 2014. Photo by Gwen Hettich.
Moose near Tolstoy, South Dakota, June 27, 2014. Photo by Gwen Hettich.

For instance, they could have written about their fellow wanderers in northeastern South Dakota, the moose!

A pair of moose spotted in Potter and Faulk counties could be passing through or looking for a place to call home.

Brown County conservation officer NickCochran said a young bull and young cow have been spotted several times, but it’s not unusual for South Dakotans to see the occasional moose roaming through from northern Minnesota or North Dakota [Elisa Sand, "Moose Pair Continuing Travels in Aberdeen Area," Aberdeen American News, 2014.07.11].

Moose marching through South Dakota! Moose attack people more often than bears attack people! What do we do?

Typically, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department takes an observatory role.

“We just monitor them and let them do their thing,” he said.

As for the general public, Cochran said, people should be advised to give the moose their space. While they are curious and don’t spook as easily as a deer, a moose will charge if it feels threatened [Sand, 2014.07.11].

The moose have not reported any unpleasant assumptions or discriminatory treatment from buffet staff in Tolstoy or Cresbard. Coupe laments this weekend that he and Roman have walked more miles than raised dollars (1,500 miles, 1,400 dollars for the Seattle Children's Hospital, the ostensible motivation for their transambulation).

But you know, strangers breezing through the state telling stories about helping children and expecting people to hand them money don't have the most sustainable business model.


  1. Tim 2014.07.20

    Somebody needs to explain to those two that SD is pure republican country, all people, including children, are expected to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and support themselves. No help for the moochers from these upstanding conservatives.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.20

    But consider this, Tim: how much would it cost you to spend four months walking around outside? Whether you pay for the hike out of your own pocket or rely on contributions, at a bare minimum, you need to eat and sleep, and you need some gear. That costs money. Let's say $500 for gear at the start, then $20 a day on the road for chow, campsites, bug spray, etc. Four month trip = $2,900. Plus, you're giving up the income you could have made at work back home. If you make $10 an hour, four months of missed work is $6,400. So just to break even, you're going to need $9,300.

    If you wanted to give money to charity, might you not do better to simply skip the trip, put your camping money plus 10% of your wages in a jar, and walk that jar to the charity at the end of the summer?

    But then you wouldn't get to see moose grazing near Cresbard.

    Dang. Now I sound like a bootstrap Republican.

  3. Curt 2014.07.20

    The only surprise to me in this is that the two travelers expressed surprise in finding NE SD to be flat with not a lot going on. What did they expect?

  4. Tim 2014.07.20

    I agree Cory, all I'm saying is if they expected to cover expenses and have money to donate to their cause, they picked the wrong state to walk through. They would have been better off staying north and then worked south through MN. Those people are much more open to helping a cause. And I agree with Curt, one look at a map would have told them nothing is in NE SD.

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.07.20

    Nothing in NE SD?! No way! The Coteau du Prairie, Highway 10 through the lake country, Red Rooster Coffee in Aberdeen...

    ...and stopping for a chat with Joop Bollen about EB-5 and Northern Beef Packers would be a definite thrill.

  6. Tove 2014.07.20

    audible chortles! My husband picked up a guy between Pine Ridge and Rosebud some years back... he was French, and was walking/hitching across America, and recording his journey for a book he hoped to write when he returned to France. No money, no transport... just the shoes on his feet, and a backpack. I think he'd been walking a good long time when my husband finally picked him up, as he remarked on the incredible amount of sheer SPACE between people out here. Steve dropped him off at a rodeo (in St. Francis, I think), gave him $20 and wished him well. I'd love to read his thoughts about America!

  7. Tim 2014.07.20

    Well yeah there's that, probably not going to do much for the donation coffers though.

  8. Barry Smith 2014.07.20

    bear There was an interesting study done some time ago . ( I cant find a link to it) It found that people are more likely to share when they have less than they are when they have an abundance. Kinda counter intuitive

  9. Aachen 2014.07.20

    In Aberdeen, they'd have had much warmer welcome at the Red Rooster coho than whichever buffet was concerned about them stealing food. A shame they didn't happen on the business.

  10. Roger Cornelius 2014.07.20

    And there is always Dr. Bosworth's Help Heal Hunger facebook page. That ought to take care of it.

  11. mike from iowa 2014.07.20

    Tell them slackards to get a move on. RAGBRAI kicked off today from Rock Rapids and these two could find some good opportunities to pick off the weak and straggler bicyclists.

  12. bearcreekbat 2014.07.20

    Barry, it looks like mike from iowa nailed it. Perhaps those with less have a greater capacity for empathy for folks they see in the same circumstances.

  13. mike from iowa 2014.07.20

    My dear,sweet Mother,of blessed memory,had a plaque on the kitchen wall that said,"A crust that's shared is finer food than banquet served in solitude." I don't where it originated.

  14. Charlie 2014.07.21

    Mike - RAGBRAI started in ROCK VALLEY. Don't p*** off the Dutchmen!!

Comments are closed.