07 September 2011
the story of the elk.
Yes, that is an elk. If you did not surmise from Monday's post, last year we went camping and hiking and swimming and shooting on labor day weekend. But the elk incident occurred whilst we were hiking...
We camped Friday to Saturday and hiked Saturday after packing up the campsite. But first we stopped by the wildlife refuge's visitor center to find out where the trail heads were. While there we checked out the little museum and watched a video which highlighted various animals within the refuge. Then we headed out. Thankfully the trail was easy (although not the one we were intending to take; the trails there were hard to follow at times because there was no clear definition through the landscape, unlike back east) and Max ended up at the lead with Chris. We were getting close to the lake at this point, and the trail ahead entered some brush/vegetation (if you have never been to Oklahoma, for the most part it is wide open space. But there are trees and other vegetation near water... but it's very short scrabbly stuff that is like a wall. So you can't see through it or really walk through it, so the vegetation we were coming to had been cleared for the trail and was almost like walking through a tunnel). The rest of us were a few paces behind Chris and Max so were not sure what was going on when Chris said VERY firmly "Max, STOP!" Immediately thoughts like "rattlesnake?!" go through my head and we catch up to where Max and Chris are stopped and we hear it; a "HUFF" sound coming from a very large animal. I seriously think a mountain lion or something is going to come at us from it's hiding place within the vegetation. Then we hear some more grunting then a loud splash. Chris is brave enough to creep forward to see what animal we stumbled upon and discovers it is a VERY LARGE ELK. Like, Max was as tall as maybe it's leg. Max had scared the poor thing so it retreated into the water, a safe distance from us. We were incredibly relieved it hadn't been a more vicious animal or that it was too scared to charge us or something. But we decided that was enough adventure for one day and headed back the way we had come. And for the rest of the day, and beyond, we love to tell Max that he scared the elk.
And here are a few more pictures from Tiffany's camera of that weekend: