High Elk

Fall in Rocky Mountain National Park can only mean one thing: it is rutting time for the Elk.

The bulls begin to gather their cows to them, and as is the way of nature, the bigger and the stronger the bull is the more of a chance he has to pass his genes down to offspring. It isn’t easy being a bull elk, and the affections of cows are won through combat, which sometimes can be a lethal affair. Elk, as a species, are tough. They are hearty, built for survival, and there is not a lot a bull elk cannot accomplish, especially during fall.

This bull is high up the Rocky Mountains in Rocky Mountain National Park. I caught up with him at 11,955 feet on a crisp September morning. Down below it had rained: up here it was snow. That didn’t matter to this elk, however. He was moving his cows across the mountain tops on a journey only he knew the destination for. You and I might think this was an inhospitable environment. To him, though, this was nothing, for he knows he will soon see far more difficult days in the coming winter months. The early morning sun bathed him with warm, golden light. I paid him the respect he deserves, and wished him a good journey. He continued on, high up in the Rockies.

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