2022—The Elk Trip

Every trip to Yellowstone National Park has its memorable moments and its memorable critters. The memorable moments can be a breathtakingly gorgeous sunrise or the thrill of listening to a pack of wolves calling across the canyon or hearing the roar of a geyser spewing into the air or any number of other unforgettable vistas or events. With the huge variety of critters that call Yellowstone home, it is surprising to me that each trip seems to have one star critter and that critter changes from trip to trip. In October, we heard and saw Wolves several times, not just fleeting views but nor were they close enough to photograph. We saw and even photographed Grizzlies a couple of times and the Bison proved to be very photogenic, too. But for me, the most memorable critters of this trip were Elk. We photographed them three out of the four days we were in the park and had long opportunities to photograph a Bull Elk on at least three different occasions. This big guy spent almost 40 minutes grazing along the side of the road with the mist from a hot springs behind him but there seemed always to be obstructions that prevented good photographs. A small boardwalk gave other visitors the sense that it was safe to get close to him when it was not and he finally was pushed across the road by people who had ventured close to him. By this time we had moved well away because it appeared he wanted to cross the road and we wanted to give him space. At first it appeared he would disappear into the forest but he stopped briefly and I was able to capture a few frames while he was in the open. I have dubbed this the “Elk Trip” because I saw and photographed more Elk during those four days than on any other trip to Yellowstone.