Typically, we would awake Elk from their sleep in the tall grass. They would go from a dead sleep kneeling down to a full run in a second. And then they would run for a very long period of time. They did not seem to understand that if they ran away from the road, they would get away from us faster. They choose their course, and stuck with it, and like most of their predators, they eventually outran us. Female (Cow) Elk are large, but a male (Bull) Elk is truly a sight. I noted that the tail on one of the Elk looked as big as our dog (she is a medium size dog). The rack looked to be 7-8 feet across, and about the same in height! These animals were huge. I could easily see them weighing 2000 pounds or more.
Todd was leading the way down a dirt trail. I tend to see wildlife before him, and when I do, I usually turn on my video camera (mounted on my helmet), and honk the horn to alert Todd. The order in which I do these things varies. Anyway, I see a huge rack a couple of feet off to the left of the trail. Todd is only about 50 feet away, and we are probably travelling 15 MPH. I slam on my brakes, and stall my bike, then reach for the record button. At the same time, Todd rolls right next to this monster, and wakes him up. The thing stands up, and it is huge, and Todd is right next to it. He slams on his brakes, the bike squirms and then stalls, and Todd’s feet and arms come flying off the machine. The Elk does what he does best- stands up and starts running as fast as it could. unfortunately, the video started after the thing was running, but it was really a sight. I’m not sure who was more scared, Todd, or the Elk.
In this video, one was on a crash course with Todd. If you pause right after it crosses the road, you can get a good idea of the size.
We hope to see many more of these beautiful creatures on the Continental Divide Trail.