Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Estes Park, Colorado

I arrived in Estes Park on Sturday evening, just in time to watch the day ending over the Rockies.

I was up early the next morning to explore a bird sanctuary near the town's golf course. In fact, except for some Canada and Cackling Geese, I didn't see any birds.

However, elk were everywhere. The path through the sanctuary had several females and I and other walkers had to come within 3-4 yards of them to pass by. The elk seemed totally unconcerned and it was wonderful to be so close to them.

Across a small stream, the golf course had a mixed herd. One male looked particularly imposing.

He and other males occasionally did a bit of practice jousting.

One of the females near me decided to cross the stream to see the action up close.

After an hour of watching elk and passing by them only three yards away on the footpath, I got careless. I noticed a female grooming her calf and took a couple of photos.

Without any warning, the mother charged me. I yelled "Stop," threw up my arms and prepared to be trampled. Luckily, she stopped perhaps 4 feet from me. I swear I could feel her breath on my face. Then she turned around and went back to her calf. I kept my distance as I passed by on my way back to the car!

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