|Part way up Deer Mounain, looking at Longs Peak|
So camping in Rocky Mountain National Park in fall? Yea, definitely that.
|Eric and HailNo on Fall River Road|
Friday night, we set up camp, cooked dinner, then headed further into the park to listen for elk bugling, the reason we and 7,000 other people planned this trip 5 months ago.
And we heard the bugling! It was SO cool! They were right there, off the road, and with the almost full moon shining down on the meadow, we could see them, at least sort of. We listened to the bugling, and Eric made valiant attempts to record the noise. We watched the males parade around, and even a couple of females challenging the norms with some walk arounds.
Which is when it happened. A female got close to a male, decided she was done with that, and as we watched, took off at a run.
Directly toward us. While Eric was filming. You have to listen really carefully, but around the 6 second mark, you can distinctly hear me whisper "oh crap" and then hear running.
We thought that was going to be the highlight of our weekend, our narrow escape from bolting elk.
|In the mix|
Saturday morning, we hiked Deer Mountain to some amazing views. Eric decided that the aspens along Longs Peak looked like driveways, so that's what we called them from then on. We then took a drive up Fall River Road, which we had previously driven with the Zolman's
We nearly to the top, and there's this above tree line (11,500 feet above sea level, trees don't grow) trail, and well, the urge hit me. I HAD to run it. Eric indulged me, so we got out of the car, and I gave it my best shot.
I sucked. But I did it. Mostly. As Eric said, I didn't go any faster than if I had hiked it, and it's harder to run than hike and I had to stop 4 times. But, well, it got done and I am totally counting it as my first above tree line run. Training for the Ascent has begun (kind of.)
Anyway, we made it back to the east side of the park towards the end of the afternoon, just as the elk were getting frisky. Like, frisky.
|Herding cows (don't mind the wall-eye, he was intent!)|
|Bull and his harem|
And holy moly, fight they did. These big bulls went at it for longer than Pacquiao and Mayweather did, and with more effort. They went running at each other and clashed, a battle of four-legged titans. You could hear their antler knocking into each other. They bloodied and exhausted their opponent, but did not give up easily. Finally, totally spent, for reasons we did not understand, the elder 1st bull was declared the winner, and the younger bull was ousted, and trotted away.
What. a weekend. Let's do it again, and this time, maybe you can join us?