Sunday, June 13, 2010

Scenes from the Sickbed

My plan for this weekend was to try to get a seat on the Yellowstone in a Day bus tour so that I could go see Old Faithful and Yellowstone Lake for the first time, and/or hike the Beaver Ponds Trail which ends just behind my dorm. Unfortunately as I sat at work Friday afternoon I felt myself having a relapse of the cold I haven't shaken yet. I was in bed by 7 that night, didn't get up until 9 Saturday morning, and didn't leave the room until I went to dinner that evening. Fortunately I don't have to go far to enjoy nature here--it comes to me. All the photos in this post were taken through my window as I sat on my bed.

Here's one of the calves which are sprouting up all over and causing people to run for their lives.



When I headed out to lunch today, I was directed to make a wide circle around one very irritable elk who'd been chasing people all morning. The person who told me also said he'd been jumping up on cars to get away.

After lunch, I was feeling well enough to at least make it up to the top of this hill which marks the end of the Beaver Ponds Trail.



It's a nice view up there (hell, it's a nice view everywhere here) from a wide open meadow. I couldn't help wondering what would happen if there were elk or bison standing there as I crested the hill since I often see them there.

Aha, calf and cow have decided to go behind this building. This will be important later.



They weren't the only elk around; there were two much closer enjoying the grass.



My, what a tasty dandelion!



Don't make fun of my antlers--they'll get bigger!



Watching all this with me were the ground squirrels. I believe the closest burrow has five young--here are four of them with mom.



One second, they're all looking around; a second later there's a noise and they're back in the ground.



About this time, a guy left the dorm carrying an electric guitar. He saw the two elk on the lawn and moved far to the left to walk close to the next building. Little did he know who was on the other side of that building . . .

As he reached the far end, I saw him look to the left and start running with an elk hot on his trail. Interesting, I thought--will he risk his guitar to save himself? He stopped for a moment, looked back, and the elk also stopped a couple feet from him. He took off again and she pinned him to a fence. Some people started yelling which distracted the elk and he made his escape. Unfortunately, all this was at too much of an angle for me to be able to photograph it. And I can't say I picked up any tips on escaping. You never know which door to go out or who'll be waiting for you when you do, but you certainly pay more attention to what's going on around you.

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3 comments:

Woodswalker said...

What would happen if you stood your ground with an elk? Or waved your arms at it and hollered?

Hope you're feeling better soon. Looks like you've got some beautiful territory to explore.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora GT,
Here's to you feeling better soon. Good to know you have so much around you even if confined to your dorm. I miss squirrels and chipmunks as we do not have them here in NZ.
Cheers,
Robb

greentangle said...

Woodswalker, I went and asked a ranger today and she said running would be her first choice. The concern is if they'd rear up and use their front hooves on you, but on the other hand no one is going to outrun an elk. Mostly what I've seen and heard tales of is they simply trap you in a spot but then don't try to hurt you. Personally, I haven't felt the need to run yet; a couple times when one has come walking at me, I've walked away and they've followed walking without showing any great interest in actually catching me.

Robb, I'd miss the little rodents too--they're very entertaining.

As for my health, I've now added a case of conjunctivitis to the list. Doc said he called Public Health last week because he's never seen such a big breakout of it.