|The START of a wildlife jam|
OK, halfway through the day on our FIRST day at Yellowstone, we witnessed THREE elk jams....The first two elk jams, the elk were far down the hillside. I got a couple of glimpses at the biggest rack on an elk I have ever seen. We're talking ELK here, remember that....which isn't saying much, because I haven't seen elk before...It was VERY impressive.....
The THIRD elk jam is one Sparky and Eldo will never forget. We saw the quick exodus off the road of the cars...maybe it's a BEAR, we thought...That would be so cool! Nope, it's an elk jam...I'll bet twenty cars were already pulled off both sides of the road, so we came into it a little late....
Eldy was standing next to a couple of guys up on the hillside. I had gotten some decent photos of the elk (two bull elk with HUGE racks) down below, a female looking up and sniffing "PEOPLE", and was starting back up the hillside towards Eldy, when something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention, and it was BIG and it was coming across the street between the two rows of cars. I turn around and a BIG, honkin' female elk was trotting across the street, nostrils flaring, eyes big and wide, about 15 FEET from me and she was heading right in Eldy's direction! I was so flabbergasted, my eyeballs were popping out of my head, I started jabbing the air, pointing in her direction like crazy and do you think I could have presence of mind to catch this huge, beautiful creature with my camera? NO, OF COURSE NOT!! It looked like she was going to run over my man! All I could do was stammer, point animatedly past Eldy's head, jabbering some utter nonsense about what was coming his way, "ELDY!!!! HIBBAGIBJABALOOKOMG" I was yelling something, lord only knows what, but he didn't understand, he was still looking back down the hillside, thinking I was trying to tell him something about the elk down there. Finally, he realizes that I'm pointing like a madman in his general direction for a reason, so he turns around and this big, honking female elk changed directions from coming straight across the street BEHIND Eldy and was coming straight TOWARDS him!!!!!!! She turned at the last minute as there was a trail leading down the hillside right behind Eldy, but he thought he was going to have THE BIG ONE! I thought he and the other guy standing next to him were going to pass out! Heck, I almost passed out from how close she was....WHEW! And no photos, RATS! But it was firmly impressed in our minds what a close call that was! I think she was just really really nervous about how she was going to get around all these people to get to the rest of the "gang" down below....We kept talking how close she was, and after seeing those movies at the visitor's center about bison and elk charging tourists and butting them, Eldy was just thankful she didn't decide to get ornery with him and butt him out of the way! I told Eldy, as a way of comforting words, that "just be glad it wasn't a bull moose with a big rack!" (A very comforting thought, says an appreciative E.)
The Bear Jam---our last traffic jam for the day was awhile later.....heading back towards West Yellowstone....we see the big traffic jam, pull over, and it was the tail end of all the excitement. Apparently, a grizzly had killed an elk a day or two before, and had been working over the carcass, when people started spotting him. There were TWO rangers today watching everyone, and by the time we go there, the grizzly must have observed all the attention being lavished upon him, so he dragged the carcass back into the tree line and out of sight....darn! Missed the bear sighting today but not by much!
And on the way home......
Guess they like the path of least resistance.......
Tomorrow, we are going on a river float and down some side roads to hunt for moose! See you on the Henry's Fork Snake River...it's beautiful!
It is an amazing and crazy place. Glad it turned out well. Also glad you managed to get some good pictures in the end:)ReplyDelete
Good grief! Stay in your car. Remember you can't drive that rig if an elk or anyone else gets your man! :-)ReplyDelete
Where were all these elk? Sounds like we made a big mistake not visiting West Yellowstone. it's the only area we didn't get to.
Be safe out there and I don't only mean driving!!
We've seen our share of "wildlife jams," and we've gotten out to get our photos like everyone else. What gets me are the idiots (and there is no other word to describe them) who stop in the middle of the road and just leave their vehicles there, sometimes with the engine still running. Talk about creating a road hazard!ReplyDelete
This was great for a saturday morning laugh. Having just experienced "wildlife jams" in Jasper NP last month, I so enjoyed reading this. You described it perfectly, much better than I ever could have. Loved it.ReplyDelete