There is nothing I enjoy more than seeing a wild animal in its natural habitat. We are fortunate enough to live close to Rocky Mountain National Park so on the weekends, we go to the park, hike and get to see wildlife in they’re natural habitat. One weekend we saw bighorn sheep, elk, deer and numerous small creatures.
Hearing the elk bugle is also a unique experience we get to do almost every year. In discussion with my wife one day, we realized, and found it quite disturbing, that we, along with about a million other people, go to the park to hear the bull elk beg for partners. After we thought about that one for a while, we sort of lost the enthusiasm around going up there for this particular event.
Anyway…one evening, after a great breakfast cooked outdoors, we quietly sat in our chairs watching and listening to nature and wildlife around us as the light ebbed. Eerily, to our left, we hear a coyote yelping it’s unique call. To the right, we hear an answer from the hills that sounds like a pack of coyotes. A few minutes pass and then another call from the lone coyote on the left, only closer. Another answer comes from the pack. I whisper to Sara… “watch the clearing over there through the trees.” Incredibly… 200 yards away, there’s the coyote loping to meet up with the pack… no, there’s two coyotes! They pass in front of us, unaware of our presence, calling the pack and hearing the return answer. Wait, where did they go? I move slowly out of my chair to look around the grove of aspens, there they are… EXPLOSION OF NOISE behind me! Heart pounding, I whirl around and to my surprise, I see a herd of about 30 elk running away from us… they’re only 100 yards away! How did they get that close without us hearing them? I guess I don’t have a clue about how well wild animals are equipped for survival. What I do know is that I’m totally out of my league in the wild… and that’s what makes it so exciting.