As mentioned in my previous post, we ran into elk last weekend. Lots of them. And when I say "ran into elk" what I really mean is I almost freaking got ran OVER by elk. Let me first give you some context into what is a very real reality when encountering animals in the wild. Big Al has an elk stampede story that's been retold over and over while sitting around the campfire. It goes something like this...
Many years ago, Big Al was hunting the mighty wapiti solo. Somehow Al was separated from his hunting pals. My guess? He was wandering around in the woods in search of a lost poop chair. Or trying to dream up alternative ways to carry an elk off the mountain. Anyway, it doesn't really matter why he was alone. He was alone.
The fierce solo hunter found himself nestled in a grove of aspen trees. While talking sweetly to the elk in the distance (*ahem* I mean snoring) suddenly the ground began to shake. Instead of the sound echoing from storm filled skies above, this rolling thunder came from the ground below. In a moment's notice, Al fumbled to his feet and was met eyeball to eyeball with a bull elk who had a slew of reinforcements charging close behind. The elk had their revenge that day. Al's bow went flying as he was promptly thrown back down to the ground as the elk herd stampeded right over top of him.
Surviving the thunder of hoofs, Al stumbled his way back to camp covered in mud. Torn shirt. Broken bow. Everyone thought he got into a fight with another hunter, and didn't believe the story... until they saw the hoof prints on his shirt.
Disclaimer: I may have embellished the story slightly or made up some parts, but there are witnesses out there somewhere that will testify that Al had hoof prints on his shirt upon arriving back to camp. So, it must be true.
So, last weekend as I was lingering behind to snap pictures of the wildflowers blanketing the mountainside, I almost had my own elk stampede experience. I rounded the corner of a small knoll trying to catch up to the guys in front of me. The usual raised hand by the party in the lead indicated to stop. I stopped. I then heard a thunder of hoofs. The crescendo was flooding towards me. For a fleeting second, the above story flashed through my brain. Was I about to be run over? So, what did I do? I braced myself and hoped for a good camera shot.
A word of advice I was given if about to be trampled by a herd of elk:
Apparently, if you stand up, you will get knocked over.
If you crouch down it is more likely that you will be hurdled. Thanks.