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The Second Morning:
The sun is out, the skies are changing alternately from partly sunny to partly cloudy every while. It is sometimes cold and then turns to sunny warmth. My body just takes it in. We are stiff from the long hard drive. Massaging of shoulders and stretching are required.
I step outside, wandering no place in particular, for no clear reason. I’m waking up in stages. DF warms water for tea. We hear a sound, causing both of us to look up at once! It is a braying sound. It is unusual. Somewhere in a drawer in the back of my mind, I have memory of a TV documentary, decades ago, which recorded the sound of a bull elk. It has to be close. We know this terrain, we know that there is a meadow on the other side of this woods. We know how far. Sound and wind places the animal there.
I sit down to quickly slip on my five toe shoes, grab my camera and I am swiftly off to take advantage of opportunity. I haven’t seen an elk in many years; this could be a male with a herd.
I swiftly go up the road across the spring fed creek, which leads to the next meadow to the west. As I come out of the tall trees, I take care not to alert any animal which may be there. Nothing is seen. I silently creep across the grassy field.
I pause and listen, camera at ready. I creep further, until I come to a small boulder rising from the grass. I want to experience this in a primitive manner. I want to experiment with the idea that clothing may give man’s scents. I want to experience what God has given a hunter in senses. Perhaps a wild animal will not recognize a nude human, as a human being. I drop my hat to the ground, quickly slip my long sleeve t-shirt over my head and throw it on the rock. I am nude now, a hunter. I am out to capture an elk with a camera. The sun is out. I’m feeling it.
I continue to creep up a small hill and through a thin piece of woods, which is between me and the rest of the meadow.
My body reports that I am down wind. There in the trees, I smell a distinct wild animal. I ponder if it is fresh, or just left markings. I take even more caution, as I stalk. I place each footing in my five toe moccasins upon an exposed rock, so as to make no sound in the grass, or to accidentally break, or crunch a twig. At the forest’s edge, I survey the field. There is a rise to it. I still can’t see what is beyond that. Squatting down, I make my way, camera in hand.
As my vision comes over the rise, I spot six, maybe seven beast. Friggin’ cattle!
Desperately I look for the elk whose bray that we heard. Nothing but friggin’ cattle are to be seen….
Poor Excuse for a Wild Elk!