What am I doing? I know one person has figured out what we have been looking for, has anybody else? Read on and you can see if you had the right idea.
I knew, though, I would be able to find them. I had heard the direction the elk had gone crashing through the aspens and pines.
We got off the 4-wheelers and started to walk in the direction the elk had gone. First, we had to cross the fifty-feet beaver dam. Luckily it was August, so the water level had dropped due to evaporation and drainage. If it hadn’t, the crossing would have been impossible due to the large amount of water: we would have had to cross elsewhere.
As we made our way across the beaver dam the only sounds we could hear were the chirping of birds and the wind blowing through the trees. The logs were close enough together to walk on or there were dry spots. If there hadn’t been, we might have fallen into the stagnant water.
Soon we crept up the embankment. I turned to the others behind me, put my finger to my lips, and softly said, “Shhh.” Although we crept up the hill as quietly as we could, there was the sound of pine needles crunching under our feet. Soon I could hear the elk stamping and calling to each other. I waved with my hand to continue. We kept walking and soon I could see them.
I motioned to everybody to get behind a large granite rock so we could se them, but they couldn’t see us. I could see the excitement in everybody’s eyes. I thought that perhaps we could get a little bit closer to see them more clearly.
As we moved closer, the elk saw us and took off again. We must have walked another 100 feet and found a perfect spot to take some pictures. Johnna, Jessica, and Jon were stunned. They just knelt and looked at the elk over the edge of a lichen-covered rock, while I took the pictures.
This time the elk didn’t know we were behind the rock. The twenty cows and calves were majestic against the white-barked aspens, dark pine trees, bright green grass, and the gray granite rock in the clearing. They just called to one another and grazed. Some of the calves were nursing and others were playing. The calves butted one another and tried to be king of a small mound. This was the largest herd of elk I had seen up close. For me it was the most riveting wildlife experience ever. I could see in Jon, Jessica and Johnna’s eyes that this was an experience that would influence their wildlife watching for the rest of their lives.
Did anybody else know this is what I was doing? There is even more to this story. You will have to wait for another day.