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Monday, March 07, 2016
Elk on the high route
I've been running the state land on a road that more or less parallels the western boundary of the tract, but today I returned to my original routes on this land, parking near the west end of Herrin Lake and sneaking up a little trail to the ridge top. The snow is gone up there, but not the elk. I've been seeing their tracks in this area for a couple of weeks, but I hadn't seen a single elk.
Today, I was trotting along obliviously in a trackless wood, watching my footing, when I looked up and saw roughly 100 elk, including some pretty impressive bulls.
Below is just another shot from the same spot. They were pretty close, but, as I've observed before, the iPhone camera is great for many things, but not so much for this purpose.
Anyway, the really amazing thing about this (and other times when the same thing has happened), is that I was maybe 50 yards from a large herd of large animals. They moved off — they didn't run, but neither did they dally — to my left, into timber and behind a small rise also to my left. I ran as fast as I ever run on lumpy ground to the top of the hill to look into the not particularly dense woods below, and 20 seconds after making the above photos, I could not lay my eyes on a single elk! They are remarkable in their ability to move stealthily, and obviously they blend in when they're in the trees.
Anyway, I proceeded to join up with the road I usually take in this area and went on around to the high ground before dropping into what I call the logging ravine. Based on the time, I figured that was 2.5 miles out, so I turned around and went back the way I'd come. No more elk.
Beautiful morning, maybe 25 and only a few clouds hanging around the higher peaks. I paused to shoot the above puddle, but otherwise returned to the car.
5; 5; 31; 74
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