Photographer's Note

Wapiti Woods.
.. by request for Donald ...

Road to the Fern Lake Trail - Rocky Mountain National Park.

I have posted a number of autumn images of this little dirt road that leads to the Fern Lake Trail. In winter the road is closed to automobiles. At any time it is a wonderful walk through thick aspen groves.

One of the most common animals in Rocky Mountain National Park is the North American Elk or Wapiti ... The elk were hunted to near extinction in the area then reintroduced in 1913. By the time of their reintroduction most of their natural predators had also been hunted to extinction and the elk have now almost taken over .. the population in Rocky Mountain National Park ranges from 1,000-3,000 depending on the season.

These are pretty large animals they can range up to 1100 pounds (495 kg) and five feet at the shoulder.

I have piles of wapiti images .. and although this one does not contain some big bull .. I like the way they are moving through the deep woods .. this image has been growing on me for a while .. perhaps just because this was a pretty unusual encounter.

One of the pleasures of walking this road is on occasion you end up literally wandering through one of the parks many herds of elk. On this day we had wandered through the herd on the beginning of our walk and sure enough they were there for our return.

Andrew (see my intro) was being especially loud and boisterous on our walk .. vocalizing in all sorts of ways .. I was worried he was going to scare the herd .. and sure enough that is why these folks are on the move .. what I didn't count on is what happened next .. suddenly there was a loud crashing and cracking of branches .. there was no doubt what was happening .. the big bull appeared in the brush next to us .. I was worried about what he was going to do .. but he decided to just bugle and snort at us .. to let us know it was time to be moving along .. (I'll post him in the workshop) ..

boonie, Angelillo, Donald, etiennejr, captainsgirl, evanrizo, claudio74, danos has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by John McLaird (jmcl) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2514 W: 131 N: 4070] (14535)
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