We heard rumors of elk bugles around town and in the National Park. Having heard a few rouge bulls practicing in the few days before we wanted to go see what was going on around the usual stages for this annual show. We piled the kids in the car and took off for Moraine Park. There wasn’t too much action there. One smallish bull (5×5 and puny) had a harem of about 10-15 cows that he was chasing around fairly aggressively. No doubt he’ll lose his prized ladies pretty soon once one of the larger bulls takes notice of his sly little trick.
So we boogied on over to Beaver Meadows and found a decent sized bull with a respectable harem right next to the road about a half mile into the meadows. He was just standing under a large Ponderosa for the first 15 minutes with the occasional bugle, but as the sun got closer to setting behind the divide to our right, he woke up and was in full on rut mode. Bugling at any other elk, chasing off the younger fellows, and pursuing the pretty cows with every ounce of his hefty self. It was fantastic. There was a cold breeze blowing and with the sounds of elk bugling through the meadows it sure made it truly feel like autumn! The tundra is now a rusty red color as fall is winding down up there, and there are some leaves turning gold at the lower elevations!
If you’re coming out over the next month or so, you’re in for a real treat!
Enjoy the photos!
Each year, thousands come up to Estes Park to experience the largest Highlands Festival outside of the UK. It’s a fantastic event with fun for the entire family. And every year, the highlight, for many, is the parade that winds through downtown Estes along Elkhorn Ave. The streets are lined with spectators as bagpipes echo through our little mountain village. I put together a little video from the morning at the parade… enjoy!
Today a few of us went out for a little jaunt through the national park. No real destination in mind. Went up to Dream Lake, Lake Haiyaha, the east ridge of Hallett Peak, and then over to Mills Lake. A beautiful morning in the hills… Enjoy!
I was heading to Safeway for a few items and as I pulled in I noticed a large crowd gathered at the southeast end of the parking lot with cameras clicking away. Normally an elk doesn’t cause this kind of attention and especially since there was police tape and police keeping folks away. So I went to check it out and it was a huge black bear sow up in the tree! The pics aren’t great as she was tucked in there pretty tight, obviously a bit distressed about the attention she was garnering.
As the summer season rolls along we see families come and go as they are fortunate enough to spend a week or so of their year enjoying this special corner of the rockies. The mornings start off quietly with folks out enjoying a steaming cup of coffee on the front porch of their cabin looking out over the Fall River Valley. Deer Mountain stands guard high above with its imposing cliffs often causing ones imagination to run wild with thoughts of exploring the mountains flanks. And the last remnants of winters snow can still be seen along the slopes of Sundance Mountain to the west, keeping watch over the entire valley like a proud parent. Birds are busy working the feeders around the property and the chipmunks and ground squirrels are just as busy cleaning up the birds messy eating habits from the ground. It’s easy to let one cup of coffee turn in to two turn into three and before you know it the morning is escaping you! But most don’t fall into that trap every day and manage to get their gear together to hit the trails. After all, this area has some of the best hiking in the world and most are eager to take full advantage!
As I walked the property this morning, our wonderful staff hard at work making things look great for our guests, the animals scurrying about, a cool breeze coming off the divide, I couldn’t help but realize how lucky I am to call this little piece of land on the slopes of McGregor Mountain home. To see it through the seasons, day after day, to know the animals that call it home, to see the storms roll in, and then to see the skies clear… it’s a special place!
Here are a few shots from this morn… enjoy!