Thursday, June 11, 2009

Moments with nature: Young calf elk

Finding wildlife while out in nature helps to remind us we are out in the wilderness. Fortunately, there have been many moments I have been able to see wildlife out in their natural habitat. On trails I have stumbled upon moose in the willows, a bear heading for the hills, a baby fawn in the brush, and millions of antelope along the highways in Colorado and Wyoming. Seeing young wildlife is an amazing look into the life of the natural world around us.

Cow elk crossing the road. Photo by M. Bredehoft

There has been a lot of rain lately, which has limited time out hiking. My family and I were driving along a bumpy mountain trail, listening to bluegrass music, when a cow elk bounded across the road. My husband, being the trained observer that he is, quickly noted that there was movement in the sagebrush several yards behind the cow elk. Pretty soon the elk calf was visible. The little calf must have been born fairly recently as it was so small! (I am always amazed at how they can run so quickly after they are born.) Mamma had seen us and moved on quickly without her calf, she was agitated that the calf was not closer and made sure we were not going to bother her baby. We didn't, and pretty soon the elk calf caught up with his mamma.

Stumbling upon seldom seen moments in nature, such as viewing the cow elk and her calf, are special and remind us we are visitors in their home. Of course, these types of moments keep me coming back to the outdoors- to learn and draw closer to nature.

Young elk calf crossing the road, looking for mamma. Photo by M. Bredehoft

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