"There is nothing so American as our national parks. The scenery and wildlife are native. The fundamental idea behind the parks is native. It is, in brief, that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us. The parks stand as the outward symbol of this great human principle." Franklin D. Roosevelt

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mammoth Elk

The elk in Mammoth continue to congregate, bugle, bawl, wander the streets and lounge in the grass across from the post office.  Visitors line the sidewalks, the patio in front of the hotel and post office and snap pictures of the bulls and cows.  Thursday night I came back from a trip from the Food Farm to find two cows and a bull outside the east side of the store.  Unable to leave from the front of the store one guest exited out the back.  I had warned her about the bull around the corner and as we came around the north side of the building we were met with the bull walking straight towards us.  She went up the steps to the loading dock while I ducked behind my car.
I eventually went to the porch in front of the store to watch the bull as he stood directly in front of a vehicle at the gas pumps.  And he stood there.  And he stood there some more.  Cars were lined up on the road to look at him while rangers kept people at a safe distance.
The bull eventually tired of holding up the gas pumping traffic and moved to road where he stood and bugled. 
But he eventually wandered off when a bison strolled his direction.  The bison crossed over to the front of the store so now the rangers had to watch guests on foot and in cars with two large animals in the area.  There was an Animal Kingdom atmosphere in Mammoth that day.

The calendar is saying autumn but the weather says summer.  The temps have been in the high 70's and low 80's and the sun keeps on shining.  The aspen have been changing to a warm yellow and it creates a beautiful backdrop for the mountains.  The elk and bighorn sheep have been in the canyon toward Gardiner though I rarely get a chance to stop and watch them.  The road tends to be clogged with photographers and I am usually on a pizza mission.

A few more people have left the store this week with more tearful goodbyes.  Our large 2011 family is now down to a handful.