I was checking in to Mammoth Campground when the ranger informed me about a herd of elk moving through the campsites. Drive slowly, she advised. Remember, it’s rutting season and the elk can be aggressive.
As I approached my surprisingly secluded campsite, I found it surrounded by the entire herd.
I counted 18 elk - males, females, and a few young ones.
This Bull was lazing under a tree, not 15 feet away.
I stayed in the GDB, observing them for a couple of hours. Being surrounded these magnificent animals is an intense experience.
At one point, I was gazing at the Bull, wishing he would bugle. Then, as if on cue, he did! I was so carried away by the moment that I gasped. I swear he turned and looked right at me as if to say, Yeah ... I have that effect on the ladies.
He dozed in the shade of the tree even as birds perched on his antlers. Until then, I had never considered how very much like branches antlers are. (That Darwin guy knew his stuff).
Eventually, something caused him to stir and he charged over to a group of females right outside my door.
I should apologize for the poor quality of my photos but all were taken through my living room windows. Anyway, I would rather live the experience than document it.
And what an experience!