Elk at Vista Verde

by Alaya

It’s amazing how quiet this ranch gets at the end of the season. Evenings around here are always tranquil, but without guests  this place starts to feel like a ghost town. This has been especially true the past few days, as staff have scattered to their various adventures for a three-day weekend.

However, for several evenings in a row, we’ve had a distinct sound cut through the silence. Starting in the final weeks of September, each night we would hear the bugle of a elk bull calling to his herd of cows. Early in the mornings, and just after dusk the sound pierces the air: one part majestic, and three parts primal. It’s like no sound I’ve ever heard before. Even being woken by the sound in the early hours of the morning, rather than be frustrated (as is my usual reaction to an early wake-up call), I would smile to myself,  exciting to know how close they are!

One evening, Chol spotted the cows in the Winter Pasture with the horses, and later caught sight of the bull rubbing his antlers against an aspen under the light of the full moon. How’s that for romantic imagery?

Sometimes I forget that we’re tucked right up against national forest land, wilderness and wildlife all around us. When they come to visit, it is a wonderful reminder of the full majesty of this place.

For more info on elk, check out the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation: http://www.rmef.org/ElkFacts.aspx