I’m glad that my friend Barry couldn’t go with me to Rocky Mountain National Park yesterday to see the annual elk rut. But this afternoon he didn’t have any clients for his therapy practice (http://www.bouldertherapist.com/ ). And he wanted to see and to photograph the elk rut giving me a reason to go back this afternoon.
While the weather prediction for today in the mountains had been for rain and snow, we were blessed with a mostly sunny afternoon. Another big difference from yesterday was much less traffic.
The biggest difference, however, was being with Barry. The long drive from Boulder to the park didn’t seem as long because we had so much to communicate.
We went to the same parts of the park that I went to yesterday. First, I drove to Horseshoe Park, where I got my best pictures yesterday. But there wasn’t a single elk there today.
We stopped to take a short walk to the falls on Roaring River. Here we shot each other. First Barry.
Then he shot me at the Roaring River Falls.
We drove on to Upper Beaver Meadows. Lots of elk and lots of photos. None of mine were good enough to keep. But here’s a fine photo that Barry took.
Finally, we hit pay dirt at Moraine Park. There the elk were on both sides of the road.
I thought that I was being smart to park before passing through the elk. We were easily able to walk through the area where the elk were crossing the road and volunteers were keeping the elk safe from people and visa versa.
Being almost surrounded by the elk herds was a great experience. And we shot many photos.
But after the sun went down — and it began to get rather chilly — we must have had to wait almost an hour get back to my SUV. We had to wait for one obstreperous female and her bull to cross.
Otherwise our timing was great. The light at end of day was as beautiful as the first light that I have often sought out.
The sound of the bull bugling is every bit as wonderful as seeing and photographing these majestic beasts.
Here is a link to a magical clip of elk bugling: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6204268
YouTube has a fine video with bugling (after the first couple of minutes) at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Knev7wPWC2Q
And here is a short video with bugling: http://tipt3.utoledo.edu/starters/elk/elkbugle.mov