Monday, May 14, 2012

Story time

Elk rule this town. Not only are they everywhere, they don’t care if you’re there too. They’ll walk right past you or stop in the middle of the road right in front of your car. And sometimes, they’ll even swim across the Athabasca River and kick you out of your fishing spot. Last weekend, I saw a herd of elk do all of those things within a 10-minute time frame.

We were out fishing, enjoying the sunshine when we saw six elk walking toward a popular hiking trail. They were on the opposite side of the river, though, so we didn’t pay much attention to what they were up to, aside from watching them walk right past a group of raft operators who were waiting for one of their boats to arrive. One elk was literally within four feet of the people as he walked toward the bridge to cross the river.

He was coming to our side.

He nearly made it too, but before he could, a huge tour bus rolled up. For a couple of minutes, the bus and the elk had a stand off on that bridge, neither of them moving an inch.

To our relief, the bus ultimately won by slowly inching forward until the elk ran back to where he came from. That didn’t deter him, though. He and his buddies found another route across the river.
They swam, and when they arrived on our side, they literally forced us out of our fishing spot by grunting and kicking up dirt. Rather than fighting a losing battle for our territory, we slowly gathered our backpacks and fishing rods and got the hell out of Dodge.

So far, that has been my closest encounter with a herd of elk. I see them on a daily basis, often just walking around town or hanging out on the seniors’ home lawn, but generally I can maintain a comfortable distance by crossing the street. I must say, I like them much better when they're not stealing my fishing spot.

But then again, this park is as much, if not more, for them than it is for people. And it wouldn’t be quite as magical if you didn’t have those close encounters.


  1. How awesome is it to see wild life so close! My coolest encounter was when we were camping in Colorado and a baby Moose and her mother crossed right in front of us when we were leaving the campgrounds! I have a recent post about it on my blog. I just found your blog and am really happy I did! I adore your dress in your about me by the way! Have a lovely day!


  2. love these pictures! elk are like white tailed deer in Pennsylvania. they're everywhere but yet so magical when you see a group of them somewhere.